Emperor – Thus Spake The Nightspirit/Inno A Satana

Today I’m gonna dig out a single I’ve had since its release in 2009. So 13 years, if my math is right. It’s one of those “fun” but totally unnecessary things that was put out as a “limited bonus.” I was very, very excited about the albums being released and so I went whole hog and ordered the LP’s, a CD and DVD set, and also this 7-inch single.

The occasion was two live album releases from festival reunion shows of black metal stalwarts Emperor. The band split up in 2001 and reunited in – uh, 2006, which in the grand scheme of things is not a long time at all. But back then it was really exciting stuff and the hype was unreal. Even now as I’m looking over this paltry 5-year time gap for the first time I’m a bit taken aback at just how amped up I was for this. But hey, that comes with age I guess.

Anyway – the band began playing sporadic shows in 2006, and in early 2009 they announced a few LP and CD releases of two 2006 live sets – performances at the Inferno and Wacken festivals. The records were packaged separately, but a big CD and DVD bundle was released called Live Inferno. Oddly enough, the DVD had the Wacken performance on it.

Anyway, again – also as part of this series of releases, this 7-inch record was put out. Released on gold vinyl, it is a limited edition of 2,000 copies. This release didn’t spell out the specific number of the release by hand-numbering or anything, but I can rest comfortably knowing I’m one of 2,000 people who have this. (FYI, it is readily available on Discogs at the same street market value it sold for 13 years ago…)

Enough of that. I’m not really complaining but I am having a bit of fun with this. Whatever happened, I have this two-song single from the Live Inferno set. The two songs are among the most celebrated of Emperor’s work and my two personal favorites of their entire catalog, so that worked out well. Both performances are from the Inferno festival and are both included on that full live album – this isn’t unreleased content.

Thus Spake The Nightspirit

The A-side features a standout track from the band’s 1996 opus Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk. It was the album that first got me into black metal and this song is my absolute favorite of the group’s entire catalog.

I wont’ delve too much into the song itself here – simple fact is that it will be an S-Tier song someday and I’ll just save the discussion for that. For this version, it is a fantastically-captured live version that sounds absolutely great. You don’t really hear the crowd on it until the end, but that’s to be expected – even in a huge festival setting, black metal isn’t “stand up and shout” music. But the band’s sound got reeled in well that night and it’s easy to see why they chose to release it as a live set.

Inno A Satana

Not the version from the 7 inch

The B-side features a track from the band’s true debut full-length In The Nightside Eclipse. It’s the album that put the band’s name on the map just as all the murder and church-burning stuff made black metal famous (acts that some members of the band were involved in).

Inno A Satana (Hymn To Satan, if you were wondering), is one of the group’s many lush, majestic passages that offered something more to the listener than the chaotic lo-fi frenzy of most black metal of the time. Another of their greatest tracks and also a likely candidate for future evaluation as an S-Tier song.

That covers the two songs from the single. My copy did arrive from Europe with a few bends in the cover, but it’s not that big of a deal really. There is a funny story as to how many times the copies of the full live set LPs changed hands between me and a buddy of mine, but I’ll save that for another time. This single has remained in my collection the entire time and it’s a cool thing to have, even though it could be considered rather useless in some instances.

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