In 1992 something extraordinary happened. In the midst of the grunge explosion, Emperor released a demo that took everyone by surprise and eventually saw the Norwegian trio become royalty within the black metal scene. The demo was “Wrath of the Tyrant”, a raw and primitive set of originals that led Emperor into being one of the originators of symphonic black metal.

«Samoth and I were playing in a band called Thou Shalt Suffer, but he wanted to do a side project that was more inspired by Hellhammer and early Bathory», Ihsahn told Kerrang in 2019 by way of explanation. «Emperor started as a sidekick thing, and we did the demo, “Wrath Of The Tyrant”. We liked the energy, and it wasn’t long until that was the main focus. That got us signed when I was 16.» Ihsahn was a guy from Telemark whose world was turned upside down after visiting Euronymous’ shop, Helvete, in Oslo (Euronymous was Mayhem’s guitarist, later stabbed to death by Burzum’s Varg Vikernes), a place Ihsahn recalls for being completely dark. With such a strong reference, it’s not surprising that these teens became fascinated with black metal music. «Everything was black. There were candles, there was black metal playing, or other dark music like Tangerine Dream. It was all focussed on getting that fix of a profound atmosphere» he adds. «After rehearsal, me and Samoth would go to dark rooms with candles and have dark music pumping. For long periods of time in my late teens, I would fall asleep and wake up to Diamanda Galas’ “Plague Mass” album. It’s mental, but it still tapped into this religious type of atmosphere. It was special, without any drugs or anything.» And that’s how it really all began for Ihsahn, Samoth and Mortiis. Then, there was a path of provocation, resistance and extreme views. Churches were being burned and people went to jail, but for Emperor there was never a question of stopping, managing to build a status that speaks volumes!

Over two decades later, Ihsahn and Samoth decided it was time to give this classic black metal release a second coming, with “Wrath of the Tyrant” getting a 2020 vinyl reissue re-mastered by Turan Audio with full guidance from the band. All vinyl artwork was also carefully restored to match the original concept. “Wrath of the Tyrant” is due out August 7, 2020 via Candlelight, and will be available in limited black, red and splatter vinyl in gatefold cover. Preorder now at Kadabra Music’s Vinyl Lounge!

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