Recorded live at the LA2 in London, 1999's Emperial Live Ceremony is a very cool snapshot of where black metal legends Emperor were at the time. Fresh off their release of IX Equilibrium, this show is taken from the same tour, and the set (which is short and my guess not the full concert, as the DVD is barely 45 minutes) features 3 songs from that album plus a few Emperor staples. "Curse You All Men!", "An Elegy of Icaros", and "Sworn" mix in well with classics such as "Night of the Graveless Souls", "Inno A Satana", and "Thus Spake the Nightspirit". Led by the commanding presence of Ihsahn on guitar & vocals, the band's brand of melodic & symphonic black metal comes across very well in a live context, as ample keyboard orchestrations mesh with crushing riffs, nimble harmony leads, and Trym's bombastic drums. Ihsahn and Samoth both lay down some thunderous guitar riffs on tunes like "With Strength I Burn" and "I Am the Black Wizards", yet the two show that black metal can be musical and not just brutal, as they inject plenty of melodic and complex passages in each and every song. The camera work is decent on this DVD, although perhaps focusing too much on Ihsahn at times, and the sound is crisp and clear. Watching the UK fans going nuts on each and every song is a hoot, as crowd surfers are seen flying over the barricade into the arms of security guards in the photo pit on each and every song, obviously enjoying the hell out of the show.
As a bonus, you get the videos for "Empty" and "The Loss and Curse of Reverence", plus a photo gallery and discography listing. Again, I'm not sure if the actual show on May 14th, 1999, was only 45 minutes long, but if this is not the full set I'm not sure why the whole show was not included on this DVD. That's really the only drawback here, as otherwise this is prime Emperor in fine form.
1) Curse You All Men
2) Thus Spake The Nightspirit
3) I Am The Black Wizards
4) An Elegy Of Icaros
5) With Strength I Burn
7) Night Of The Graveless Souls
8) Inno A Satana
9) Ye Entrancemperium
11) The Loss and Curse of Reverence-video