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Emperor’s “Empty”

To celebrate The Black Laser’s new, 150% more Black Metal logo, here is a music video by my favorite traditional Black Metal band, Emperor.

To me, the preeminent band to arise from the Black Metal scene in Norway in the early 90s, Emperor was the band that added Black Metal to my metal lexicon. Where other bands were too ridiculous in their corpsepaint and theatrics to be taken seriously, Emperor always felt deadly earnest. They maintained a raw energy and low-fi aesthetic that is integral to Black Metal, but they also didn’t shy away from a little bit of production to help their records shine. It was as if they understood (correctly) that they didn’t need to sound like a murky, 12th generation tape demo to be fucking brutal. For all the silliness of Darkthrone, Gorgoroth, or Immortal, Emperor drove Black Metal throw the snow with the fires of hell fueling their rampage. You couldn’t help but take Emperor seriously.

And though there have been other Black Metal bands and Blackened-Whatever bands since Emperor—even Ihsahn’s solo work would fall into this arena—that have written better songs and put out better records, Emperor still stands as the perfect example of what Black Metal should and could be when respected enough to throw away the stupid trappings of the scene.

Enjoy and respect the Darkness.