Bloodstock 2014: Emperor

The black metal legends return to the UK

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How could Emperor's headlining set ever be any less that monumental? This may well be the last time the Norwegians ever perform in the UK, and performing In The Nightside Eclipse in its bombastic entirety ensures that the greatest black metal band of them all end their story with a suitably epic climax.

It certainly helps that Emperor sound magnificent tonight, 20 years of experience and enhanced technical ability adding yet more power to the likes of I Am The Black Wizards and an authentically moving Inno A Satana.

Ever the gentleman, Ihsahn seems genuinely touched by a crowd response that veers from euphoric to awe-struck and back again, but despite his inestimably humble charms, Emperor retain the haughty and otherworldly mystique and grandeur that has always set them apart from their blackened peers.

An encore that delves into the band’s demo days and reaches a devastating peak with a monstrous reading of Bathory’s A Fine Day To Die is merely the necrotised icing on the cake: all those present were fortunate to witness this piece of metal history, and assuming that this really is the end, Emperor’s place in the hallowed annals of heavy music legend is now beyond dispute. For once the word “epic” is 100 per cent appropriate.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.