Emperor – Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise (2001)

Candlelight Records ■ Candle064LP


 
Released October 23, 2001

Produced by Ihsahn
Mixed by Thorbjorn Akkerhaugen and The Emperors
Mastered by Tom Kvalsvoll and The Emperors


Side One: Side Two:
  1. Eruption
  2. Depraved
  3. Empty
  4. The Prophet
  1. The Tongue of Fire
  2. In the Wordless Chamber
  3. Grey
  4. He Who Sought Fire
  5. Thorns on My Grave

I’ve only touched on black metal here once before, and that was a rather curious and unique example of the genre. Diabolical Masquerade are not at the forefront of most minds when naming bands that fit the bill for the genre–more likely, you will hear Immortal, Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone–and Emperor.

I picked this album up from the sadly defunct store Musik Hut in Fayetteville, source of not only much of my metal from years past (on vinyl or otherwise) but also of my “black X” collection, and even a few other oddities indicative of how odd that store actually was. It was intended as a metal/punk/industrial store, but did carry plenty of other and “normal” stuff.

As with much of metal (other than Morbid Angel and Decapitated, and a handful of others)–such as At the Gates–even the classics (like Emperor here) were introduced to me by a single soul, to whom I tend to give credit for most of my metal awareness. He and I still talk metal now and then, of course, but also the odd other chunk of music, since neither of us is married to it in exclusivity.


When I bought this record, I don’t recall what else it was I was considering purchasing with my then-limited funds, but I recall Bob, owner of Musik Hut coming outside to inform me during deliberations that this was more likely to disappear and was, thus, the better choice at the moment. It was also a part of my occasional (weird) habit of completing my collection of an artist or band’s discography via part vinyl, part CD approach. I still have (after a few sales and purchases for expanded and fancier editions) Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk, IX Equilibrium, and In the Nightside Eclipse on CD, and still don’t have any on vinyl, nor this album on CD. It does mean that, for reasons of time and convenience, this is the album I have listened to the least–there is no song I know immediately like “The Loss and Curse of Reverence”, “An Elegy of Icaros”, or “Into the Infinity of Thoughts”. It helps nothing that Emperial Live Ceremony was recorded and released before the album, so no songs got doubled exposure, either.

It’s making this a peculiar and semi-difficult review: I have never had strong feelings about the album, nor have I had the chance to develop them. Beyond that, black metal is an extraordinarily acquired taste, or so I’m told–many have commented on the breadth of my peculiar tastes, so apparently I’m not overly qualified to comment on that aspect. Indeed, I was perfectly pleased with the first black metal I remember hearing. I’ve known many metal fans, though, who do find it impenetrable. And it’s understandable, I guess, depending on where you come at it from–earlier Emperor (e.g. Wrath of the Tyrant) would give me a headache if listened to in headphones, but that was less a result of the music and more a result of its awful production. Curiously, bad production has occasionally been a deliberate choice as well as a budgetary inevitability.

Emperor’s records from In the Nightside Eclipse on to this one (their final studio album) are nothing like that. The production tends to be quite clean for the material (it’s still metal, so it is still quite heavy on distortion), which can also be attributed to the “sub-sub-subgenre” of “symphonic black metal”, which Ihsahn slowly pushed their sound toward as time went on–or rapidly, I suppose, if one listens to Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk and specifically tracks like “Al Svartr (The Oath)” or “The Wanderer”.

“The Eruption” opens the album in a fashion not dissimilar to those tracks on previous albums, with howling winds, a whispering setting of the scene from Ihsahn (“…And after years in dark tunnels, he came to silence. There was nothing…”), and then a harpsichord (almost guaranteed synthetic) and synthesized violin set a kind of mixed quaint, gothic, and isolated tone before his guitars come in with Samoth’s to fill the sound out enormously on top of Trym’s drumming, their melody repeating that of the harpsichord’s. And then the sound turns to that of black metal: sheets of rapid guitar riffing and Trym’s signature fill-heavy and descending drums. The track makes immediately clear that this album is not going to be straightforward. Ihsahn’s growing fascination with clean vocals overlaid, as started on their previous album (IX Equilibrium) is now put to full effect–there are echoing choral voices (all his, of course!) that answer his “shrieked”¹ verses, and a rather melodic (and actually catchy!) chorus. The tempo and sound is fluid; little remains consistent throughout it, though it comes back to its own sounds repeatedly, shifting as if a set of constantly rising and lowering terrain that has an underlying but non-simple pattern to it.

Continuing the “spoken introductions”, “Depraved” further sets forth the “concept album” behind it all, though it makes it no more explicit. The music that follows the introduction is call-and-response shards of high-end guitar met with thundering force of drums, bass, and fuller-sounding guitars. It actually fairly well chugs for quite some time, until it locks into a melodic riff and a machine-like set of rapid drumming from Trym. A more consistent-sounding song, its only movements tend to shift the sound of that riff, or act in normal bridge fashions, linking similar passages.

The closest the album came to a single, “Empty” did have a promotional video made for it. In true Emperor fashion–hearkening back to their classic first two albums–the song simply starts. Like many of their most famous tracks, there is only an introduction of a kind–Trym does not work his way into the clattering wall of beats that the song possesses, it simply starts from the outset. Repetitions of “He is an empty shell” anchor the song next to the atonal pinched harmonic noise of its clearest lick, while short passages of keyboards give way to a more straightforward riffing movement  in a more familiar tempo–curiously, the verses, not the chorus.

“The Prophets” is another doom-y moment for the album, much like portions of “Depraved”, as it chugs forward at a steady 4/4, deep vocals mixed heavily with the guitars gutturally swarm across the track, which makes the lower-mixed-than-previous clean vocals both more apparent and more naturally blended when they answer. It’s those clean vocals that bridge the song into its halfway point, wherein the guitars are heard in isolation and suddenly speed up to a new riff, that Trym slips in under with a constant blastbeat (snare-bass-snare-bass) that is so intrinsic to much of the basic black metal sound. The thinned, high-end lead lick that is used to contrast with the rapid riffing it trades off with is also a signature sound: it is cracked and fragile, but only at a glance–it’s actually confident and empowered in a fascinating way.

In “The Tongue of Fire”, we’re again treated to the relative absence of introduction, but, as the longest track on the record, it has perhaps the most variance in sound of all, turning entirely from its heavy and charging first section to a slowed and expansive, synth-heavy middle section dominated entirely by Ihsahn’s clean voice. When he finally rises off into the distance with the phrase, “Slowly maddened/By the emptiness…” the sheets of crackling, blackened high-end guitar rain down over Trym’s tom-pounding and oddly hopeful and semi-positive synths. Guitars that reclaim the track are indicative of the melody riffed earlier, but instead cleaner and more lead-oriented, taking the instrumental portion of the song off into a complete third direction that suddenly turns into a curling, sharpened fourth portion that re-introduces the heavy sound via bass and drums, as well as Ihsahn’s voice, but declines to return to riff-styled guitars. It does also drop in that one falsetto-esque King Diamond-styled moment, which introduces yet more unique passages in the song, which declines to end cleanly, but instead to fade slowly on the imperial synths and cracked guitar leads of the central few moments.

“In the Wordless Chamber” is blastbeats and gothic synths over those speaker-filling sheets of guitar that are the absolute signature of black metal. Synthesized horns add a curious sound to the track, over Trym’s relentless beat, they almost imply a kind of charging mounted army, sending out the call to attack. For a title like “In the Wordless Chamber”, it seems odd and incorrect, but it comes to a halt and folds back on itself with a gong–the quietest moment in all the album, or at least the most serene, follows: it’s all synthetic strings and more generalized keyboard-style waves beneath that. But somewhere in them, a noticeably flat note begins to herald the return of that forward charge of horns and thundering drums.

“Grey” is a return to the distinctly complicated sounds of previous tracks that were uninterested in find a sound and sticking to it–not in the sense of the immediately previous pair, but those like “Depraved”, though it, too, has a quieter section–but one dominated by the cascades of blackened guitar, rather than the sorrowful synthetic strings that weave around behind. The nature of black metal makes it all feel like a kind of climax to the album’s concept and story, but it isn’t–if that feeling defined that moment, the entire album would be climax with only brief reprieve. It is, however, a clearly increased slope upward toward that moment.

“He Who Sought Fire” stomps heavily, but a single guitar seems to be trying to draw it back into the crashing maelstrom of more familiar black metal territory, which it is indeed successful at after mere moments; Trym is led to frantic blastbeats and then exhaustingly inescapable double-kick bass drums. Ihsahn has fully wrested the band from any grip of “standard” black metal, though, with a lead guitar that soars over the track and defies the dirtied, thinned and wall-wide sound more typical of it. Somewhat surprisingly, a bit of “wah-wah” is actually run over his guitar sound, though more for a consistent modulation of a repeated riff than anything else.

Perhaps one of the most-liked tracks on the album (at least, in my experience, which is admittedly confused), “Thorns on My Grave” is indeed a final track, but not an outro. A momentary hook is built around fingers slid rapidly up the neck of guitars, a sound that is unusual for the record and yet entirely interesting. The synths, in full “symphonic” mode, act as backing to the riffs and fill the track with drama in lead up to the pounding of the verse, which is punctuated by the repetition of that slid-finger lead. The wild spirals of high-end strings lend a chaotic, climactic note to the verses, surrounding that chorus: “For it holds every disease/Ever exposed/It holds all pain and death/It could ever unleash…” he howls wordlessly after its final repetition, and introduces the last verse, howling out the last words with unheard passion: “I am the father/I am the son/My refugee soul has escaped/This body depraved/Of final wishes I ask none/But one/Now that I am gone/Lay thorns on my grave!” and the album ends suddenly on the most emotionally extreme of notes it experiences.

Prometheus still tends to remind me of Death’s The Sound of Perseverance, in that it is a clear continuation of a band’s sound, but now almost totally divorced from its simplistic origin and wrapped in a bombastic, progressive, focused, clean, clear package. It’s not an album that you would expect, nor one that you wouldn’t. Death’s Symbolic clearly paved the way for their final album, much as there’s a clear movement toward Prometheus for Emperor, but in neither case would that final work be the expected end result–so far as I’m concerned, anyway.

Depending on your existing taste, Prometheus may actually be the first Emperor album you want to look at–if musical reaching, complexity and craft are your bread and butter, there is no better example. Those moments are spread, scattered, or at least separate on even albums like the one immediately before this. But his one is uniquely focused–Anthems has its columns that string the parts together, but Prometheus flows between its parts without need of guideposts to remind you it is a single journey.

¹This is the term I’ve always used for black metal vocals, to contrast them with the much lower-pitched sound of death metal vocals, but it’s imperfect. Ihsahn’s often sound (in later years at least–in the earlier ones, he tended to sound more like he was hissing them through a laterally pinched voice) more as though he is making sound through constant inhalation, rather than exhalation. It means they are a bit too low in pitch to fit that “shrieking” bill, but they are still much higher than death metal “growls”.

Diabolical Masquerade – Death’s Design (2001)

Avantgarde Music ■ AV 55 LP

Released August 21, 2001

Produced by Blakkheim and Dan Swanö

Edited, Assembled and Mixed by Dan Swanö, Ryan Taylor, Sean C. Bates
Mastered by Peter In De Betou



Side One: Side Two:
Movements 1-9 Movements 10-20¹

It’s difficult to pinpoint the causes behind my original exposure to this release–it stemmed, no doubt, from a combination of my college friend who introduced me to the wider worlds of metal and the metal-based message board I spent a good deal of college hanging around. Dan Swanö’s endless appearances and projects (he has 293 credits on Discogs–more than Nicky Hopkins, for the moment!) surrounded his name with an aura of awe, and the release is just peculiar enough to catch my attention readily–in both sound and construction. 

As I’ve already noted,¹ the work is split into not just 20 movements but 61 individual parts that are pressed as separate tracks. You may also notice that this is listed as an “Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”, which it most definitely isn’t. There is no movie (Swedish or otherwise–there’s a making-of documentary for one of the Final Destination movies, but that’s it) with the title Death’s Design, and this isn’t really a soundtrack, though it does sound a bit like it could be. Then again, Easy Rider taught us that most any songs could be a soundtrack. But the construction and faux-soundtrack status aren’t everything: this is also a wildly eccentric, eclectic, and vaguely erratic disc. An Estonian string quartet (though five string players are credited, so something’s not right) is involved, as are both Blakkheim’s endless instruments and Swanö’s (particularly the keyboards).

Each of the tracks has a running time of 0:06-2:18, with the great majority occupying something in the realms of 0:30-0:80, and it turns on a dime at many of those changeovers, from atmospheric strings or synthetics to driving black metal. It would be a huge waste of both my time and yours to attempt to describe the thing, as we range from Blakkheim’s shrieking black metal aggression (as in the multi-part “The Hunt”) to Swanö’s clean and tuneful soaring voice (“Spinning Back the Clocks” in the 5th Movement), from the keyboard-drenched percussion of “Conscious in No Materia” in the 2nd Movement to humming strings and tension of “Revelation of the Puzzle” in the 3rd, to the etheral mystery of “The Remains of Galactic Expulsions” in the 4th. It’s a wild mix of anything and everything–not a foreign thought to black metal, which has used keyboard texturing and expanded sonic palettes throughout a lot of its existence (except when relegated to the intentional lo-fi of groups like the purist Darkthrone, though they eventually started using synthesizers and such, too).

Black metal is a curiosity in metal–as a genre, it will occasionally drift more toward early Darkthrone, or toward Immortal, but often even the biggest names will grow restless and experimental, like Emperor and Mayhem. Of course, it’s typically considered a Norwegian genre, in that it originated primarily with bands from that country, but sometimes it’s the outside iterations that feel the most freedom–Dissection managed to cram black and death metal into a single unified skin for a few excellent albums, and here Blakkheim (he of Katatonia and sometimes known by his real name, Anders Nyström) furthers that trend. In truth, you’d be hard-pressed to nail the album down to just “black metal”, as it would simply be wildly inaccurate, as it’s only that in places. Even the metallic, heavy, or aggressive parts often deviate from the sounds of black metal, whether it’s backing Swanö’s clean vocals or echoing familiar tunes in “Out from the Dark”, or chugging weirdly in “The Enemy Is the Earth”.

If nothing else, this is an album to hear just because, as it’s not like anything else you’re likely to hear–especially as it somehow maintains cohesion perfectly, through all 61 parts and innumerable genre shifts, recurring motifs, new sounds and styles. It’s actually an amusing game to play it and try to guess which part you’re on–you’ll lose track quickly, as the blends and changes are so nice and clean that it doesn’t sound at all even like the separate movements, let alone the 61 parts those are split into. And that’s a good thing, and an occasionally rare thing–tiny tracks are not unknown, nor is taping them together, and indeed rapid genre changes are also not news, but it’s rare for all of these things to be seen at once, rarer still for them all to work. Some metal bands (and some other bands, for that matter) will happily switch time signatures, but, in their excitement forget to make that change “work” for the song, and it blares out warning signs when it happens. Sometimes cobbling together a scattered set of small tracks doesn’t work (to be fair, sometimes it isn’t intended to become cohesive), or it seems like a cheap gimmick to force them in where they aren’t necessary, but, when broken down, this does feel legitimate on both counts.

I do have to note that this was a limited run of 1,000 pieces, and the doofus who solid it used to the store I bought it from apparently hung it on his or her wall, as there are pinholes in both of the top corners. Shameful! Still, it did come with the bizarre and inexplicable bonus picture disc LP I reviewed as my first entry here. I’m still not sure if that was known–even by the store. But, hey, it worked out. Mostly–both LPs  have some surface noise and light scratching. Probably better to remove two limited releases from such incautious hands!

¹The movements are split into 61 (!) separate tracks on CD, and indeed have their own grooves on the record. They are as follows:
Side One:

Side Two
 1st Movement

  1. Nerves in Rush
  2. Death Ascends – The Hunt (Part I)
  3. You Can’t Hide Forever
  4. Right on Time for Murder – The Hunt (Part II)
2nd Movement
  1. Conscious in No Materia
  2. A Different Plane
  3. Invisible to Us
  4. The One Who Hides a Face Inside
3rd Movement
  1. …And Don’t Ever Listen to What It Says
  2. Revelation of the Puzzle
  3. Human Prophecy
  4. Where the Suffering Leads
4th Movement
  1. The Remains of Galactic Expulsions
  2. With Panic in the Heart
  3. Out from the Dark
  4. Still Coming at You
  5. Out from a Deeper Dark
5th Movement

  1. Spinning Back the Clocks

    6th Movement
    1. Soaring Over Dead Rooms
    7th Movement
    1. The Enemy Is the Earth
    2. Recall
    3. All Exits Blocked
    4. The Memory Is Weak
    5. Struck at Random/Outermost Fear
    6. Sparks of Childhood Coming Back
    8th Movement
    1. Old People’s Voodoo Seance
    2. Mary-Lee Goes Crazy
    3. Something Has Arrived
    4. Possession of the Voodoo Party
    9th Movement
    1. Not of Flesh, Not of Blood
    2. Intact with a Human Psyche
    3. Keeping Faith
    10th Movement
    1. Someone Knows What Scares You
    2. A Bad Case of Nerves
    3. The Inverted Dream/No Sleep in Peace
    4. Information
    5. Setting the Course
    11th Movement
    1. Ghost Inhabitants
    2. Fleeing from Town
    3. Overlooked Parts
    12th Movement
    1. A New Spark – Victory Theme (Part I)
    2. Hope – Victory Theme (Part II)
    3. Family Portraits – Victory Theme (Part III)
    13th Movement
    1. Smokes [sic] Starts to Churn
    2. Hesitant Behaviour
    3. A Hurricane of Rotten Air
    14th Movement
    1. Mastering the Clock
    15th Movement
    1. They Come, You Go

    16th Movement 

    1. Haarad El Chamon
    2. The Egyptian Resort
    3. The Pyramid
    4. Frenzy Moods and Other Oddities
    17th Movement
    1. Still Part of the Design – The Hunt (Part III)
    2. Definite Departure
    18th Movement
    1. Returning to Haraad El Chamon
    2. Life Eater
    3. The Pulze
    4. The Defiled Feeds
    19th Movement
    1. The River in Space
    2. A Soulflight Back to Life
    20th Movement
    1. Instant Rebirth – Alternate Ending


    Day Two: Aborym – Kali Yuga Bizarre


    Scarlet Records ■ SC005-1

    Release April 1, 1999

    Produced by Christian Ice and Malfeitor Fabban

    Engineered by Christian Ice



    Side One: Side Two:
    1. Wehrmacht Kali Ma
    2. Horrenda Peccata Christi
    3. Hellraiser
    4. Roma Divina Urbs
    1. Darka Mysteria
    2. Tantra Bizarre
    3. Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
    4. Metal Striken Terror Action
    5. The First Four Trumpets
    6. Tantra Bizarre [C30 Version] – Exclusive to vinyl
    I originally debated inclusion of this record in my collection for a few reasons. Some may be surprised to see a photo of a non-standard record in my collection that they have not seen before, but this is for the same essential reasons. Some years ago, I purchased a used copy of Diabolical Masquerade’s Death’s Design (more on that in a few months, I suppose!) and brought it back to my then-dorm room only to find that, crammed inside, was this picture disc, for no apparent reason. I’d never heard of Aborym, and had no earthly idea what this was, but figured it couldn’t hurt to have. The first time I played it, I realized it was absolutely trashed with surface noise–crackles, pops, and constant noise coated an already noisy band. It didn’t make for easy listening–not in the sense that I was put off, but that it was literally difficult to hear the music itself. I stuck it in a simple plastic sleeve and left it at that, often forgetting I even owned it. Sadly enough, it’s one of 1,000 in existence and remains in pretty terrible condition, as I can’t exactly repair a bunch of scratches and dings that were in it long before I ever had it. I am left wondering (not for the first time) why someone would buy a limited record that had no idea how to care for a record, yet would take it out and fiddle with it enough to do this to it. Especially in an age where records are nowhere near the dominant format. Still, onward and upward!

    Aborym are an Italian (in origin, at least) black metal band who have achieved some measure of fame over the course of their decade of life by playing a variant on black metal that is distinctly different from other bands, as well as occasionally taking on members of founding black metal bands either as guests or standing members. The center of the project is Malfeitor Fabban, though, who formed and has remained in the band since its inception.

    Now, I suppose before I go any further, as brief an explanation of black metal as I can manage is in order for those who are not familiar. Black metal is a variant of heavy metal, at least a few generations descended, that originates in late 80s and early 90s Norway. There’s a whole slew of history to the scene there (including a string of murders and arson, which you can read about almost anywhere, and I’m simply not in the mood to repeat for the umpteenth time, as it does not directly address the music of a band hundreds of miles away and a decade later), but suffice it to say, it comes in name from the release of British thrash metal band Venom’s Black Metal. It’s difficult to describe without hearing, and usually my phrasing to neophytes–if other websites and books are any indication–would be some humourously half-hyperbolic description of ear-splitting devil music. Alternatively, a really pretentious description of how much it is high art. Instead, let me make my best attempt to tell you what it actually sounds like.

    Black metal is typified by the early 1990’s releases of Mayhem, Emperor, Darkthrone, Enslaved, Satyricon, Immortal and others in Norway, though Mayhem existed in a few incarnations for a few years prior, releasing more death metal-esque material in those days. The backbone is usually extremely proficient and speedy drumming, typified by an emphasis on what is called a “blast beat,” being a rapid alternation of snare drum and bass drum in most cases, but generally consisting of very intense and quick, albeit simple, drum patterns. Over this, guitars are typically played at similar speeds, with chords strummed rapidly enough to come off as sheets of noise in their riff form, heavily distorted, often changing notes far less often than the chords themselves are strummed. The bass guitar, typically, is nearly unnoticeable in the morass of sound. Backing with electronic organ or sampled choral notes is very common as an accent to what comes to be a “wall of sound” in a far more oppressive way than Phil Spector ever used. Lyrically, you can bet anti-religious (typically anti-Christian) sentiment forms the core of the message, though it can vary and emphasize more “cold” or “dark” elements intended to convey a certain type of masculinity.

    Let me just qualify all this with a few things: I’m not a musician myself, though I have some familiarity with the very basics of instruments enough to recognize elements, but can easily be mistaken about a variety of these things. Similarly, as with all genres, there is inevitable variation, from beginning to end of a genre’s life, and few genres truly die.


    Aborym, however, build from this base of oppressive, rapid, blistering sheets and work in a peculiar variety of electronic and industrial sounds–occasionally even approaching sound collage in intercessory portions. “Wehrmacht Kali Ma” opens with the expected sounds of black metal, though with a variety of vocals from then-vocalist Yorga SM (aka “The Venerable Yorga”), some of which are unusually deep for black metal, which often has a high-pitched sort of “shrieking yell” buried in the mix for its vocals. “Horrenda Peccata Christi” begins to hint at changes to come, with filtered and modified vocals, but still relatively normal black metal instrumentation and songwriting. The next track is actually a cover of industrial band Coil’s original theme for Clive Barker’s film Hellraiser (the band’s score was rejected by the studio and replaced with Christopher Young’s rather haunting one, but stands on its own as a quality set of music), which is a rather spare, somber, if appropriately dark, band for a black metal band to include a cover of. It doesn’t come off as out of place, but it is a peculiar track to be sure, for such a release, moving at the much slower tempo of the original track. “Tantra Bizarre” and “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” only make it that much stranger: the former begins with instrumentation reminiscent of the  Middle East and eventually turns to a dance beat, and roboticized voices, while the latter opens with an actual choral rendition of the hymn in question before being overtaken by a rant in Italian over it.

    No doubt to some people, this album is an insult and wrong–but there’s a slavish devotion in some parts of the black metal circle to “true” black metal that borders on (and sometimes crosses into) self-parody, with a refusal to experiment or stretch beyond the expected for fear of reprisal–either from self or audience. Despite that, the album succeeds quite well for what it does, bringing an industrial and drum machine-oriented element into black metal both jarringly for its surprise, but comfortably for its placement and usage. It’s a strange, strange thing that it works, but it actually does. Perhaps it’s the inclusion of Mayhem alumnus Attila Csihar on guest vocals (he later apparently joined the band, albeit briefly, as primary vocalist) that lends it credence enough to stand as black metal despite the oft-considered repellent inclusion of these unusual elements. Ex-Emperor drummer (due to a murder conviction) Bård “Faust” Eithun is given a “hail,” and later joined the band, too.

    NOTE: I apologize for the delay on this one. There is a very large measure of confusion over tracklisting here, which I cannot confirm explicitly in terms of song titles. I don’t know Italian, so matching lyrics to songs (as I had to do with Provocation) is a less-than-simple task. Still, I know the sounds well enough that I can do some–but when it’s shrieked or growled, it becomes entirely more difficult. The image above is the first side I played on my turntable–which, it turns out, is Side B. To add more confusion, while the disc is limited, it appears there may have been variances in pressing, which confuse which tracks begin Side B, as it appears I have six, while the Discogs page for the release shows 5 tracks on the actual photo, as well as listing a 5/5 split. In the end, I have successfully matched the track titles I’ve mentioned, but can’t swear to much more. A lot of research and muddling with digital copies only confused things further (a quick spin around YouTube’s inevitable track uploads finds things like two different songs labeled “Darka Mysteria” that are both from the album but are definitely different songs), and I finally threw my hands up. Be warned if you do decide to download–I can’t swear your track titles will be correct.

    If you want to pick up a copy, there are a few CD editions (with different art) as well as some copies of the picture disc still floating around (often for a good $40US or more):

    And at Amazon: Version 1 and Version 2


    • Next Up: AC/DC – Highway to Hell