Reunions have been a hot commodity in metal over the last few years, and I’m sure many of us have a wishlist of bands we hope would come back and make sweet music together again. One band in particular that you might find on many lists is influential black metal group Emperor. Judging by past responses from frontman Ihsahn, you’d think it was a fat chance before we ever got to see the group together again. Today however, the organizers of the infamous German fest Wacken Open Air wherein they announced that a newly reunited Emperor would be headlining the 2014 show.
This is fantastic news. Hopefully the group will do more dates than just Wacken. It might be a long shot, but I’m hoping for Maryland Deathfest. Ihsahn played last year, and MDF has a knack for bringing over bands for reunion shows. More likely though, you’ll be able to see Emperor hitting up select spots in the Euro festival circuit throughout 2014. Still, there’s no harm in hoping for a US date!
Even more exciting is the prospect of a new Emperor album, should it ever happen. Their swansong in 2001’s Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire and Demise is heralded as a classic — it was the first black metal album I thoroughly enjoyed at any rate — and paved the way for many melodic and symphonic black metal groups that have come out of the woodwork since. With Ihsahn’s more progressive style evolution through his solo act and the advances in studio tech since then, the album could be truly epic. The symphonic synths back then weren’t entirely convincing, or were fairly thin due to memory issues (which is why Wintersun‘s Time took so long to be completed), but now we’ve got bands doing the symphony thing on a grand scale with realistic sound. In Emperor’s hands, it could be truly amazing. In general, a new Emperor record with modern Ihsahn production and eight string guitars would be wholly welcomed by all who are sane.
Until then, Wacken Open Air Festival is July 31st – August 2nd 2014 in Wacken, Germany. Check out video of the band performing ‘With Strength I Burn’ at Wacken during their brief reunion in 2006 below.