|Mike McLatchey||4-October-2002||Prometheus The Discipline of Fire & Demise|
Prometheus The Discipline of Fire & Demise was Norwegian black metal group Emperor's swan song. Typical of many black metal bands that evolve away from the core of the scene, the bulk of critical response has been heavily in favor of their earliest output. And the same applies to their previous studio album Equilibirum IX, which was generally a lackluster affair that was a tribute to a group whose continual promise always fell short. So it's not exactly a surprise that, despite general critical praise for their final album, not a lot of buzz went on about this, what is artistically the finest album the band has produced. Prometheus is a truly progressive metal album, a music that naturally finds its origins in Norwegian black metal, but has evolved to an awe-inspiring level of technical prowess while still being able to compliment it with compositions full of depth. The band's previous albums all had issues on the production level, an effect that, combined with the occasionally above average songwriting, ended up creating releases that excelled in some areas and didn't on others. The production here is fantastic, handling the incredible diversity with edge. The album opens with a harpsichord/violin duet in an ornate gothic mode before tearing out of the gate into a dramatic, constantly changing sequence of riffs and blast that are accentuated by the clean vox/troll vox trade off. The intensity is raised several notches until the harpsichords come in again in one of several climaxes. The entire album is continually deep, sublime and mysterious, causing one to baffle over how much effort was put into creating such a monstrous work of intricate, symphonic black metal. This is an album that I will be listening to for years to come. The bar has been set for the 00s.
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