Scattered Ashes: Decade of Emperial Wrath

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Of all the black metal acts that have come down the pipe from the great northern climes, Emperor is the single unit that has held steadfastly to the music's original ethos while furthering black metal's reach and depth. Emperor's sheer malevolence and aggression have been superseded only by the willingness of the bandmembers -- Ihsahn, Samoth, and Trym -- to stretch themselves to the limits by incorporating extreme feats of technical prowess, to the point where they engage in but do not succumb to prog rock. There are 27 cuts on these two discs, and the set is divided evenly. The first is a collection of covers from various tribute albums to Darkthrone, Mayhem, Mercyful Fate, and others, as well as material from the now-fabled Thorns vs. Emperor split. The remainder of the cuts on disc one are from various EPs and singles. Disc two culls cuts from their albums. While there is nothing unreleased here, these selections include the finest moments from a career that has no weak spots. There is one pseudo-rarity here, an Ulver remix of "Sworn" that was included as a bonus track on the limited edition of IX Equilibrium. While hardcore fans may have everything here already, this is an opportunity for those who have missed a few EPs and such to catch up. It also serves as a stellar introduction to the best black metal band on the planet.

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