EMPEROR – “Thus Spake the Nightspirit”

Really, if primitive garage sludge is all that interests you, just spike your hair and spray-paint me an anarchy symbol. Those who complain about black metal becoming pomp and pageantry are complaining about it becoming metal and is “Nightspirit, nightspirit, embrace my soul” really that much cheesier than “We knocked on the doors of hell’s darkest chamber?” No one has yet explained to me why songs about imaginative fantasy are worse than songs about sodomizing fiteen-year-olds or smashing the state (which is an imaginative fantasy of its own, I suppose).

So the opening chords surge inwards like spear attacks. Then drums clatter and a cackle begins. Synths hover, screaming doom, as guitars dance toward and away from climaxes terrified of the evil they suggest, before exhaustion of a sort is attained and a fearful incantation is intoned. And I’m all for the straightforward and brutal as much as the next guy but, come now, after a point, straightforward and brutal and unpretentious is just, well, straightforward and brutal and unpretentious. Like life, you know. Four minutes of fantasy and terror never hurt me before and I don’t ask more from my metal.