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Enslaved Emperor / Hordanes Land split CD album cover
4.15 | 15 ratings | 3 reviews | 40% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1993

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I Am the Black Wizards (06:25)
2. Wrath of the Tyrant (04:16)
3. Night of the Graveless Souls (03:15)
4. Cosmic Keys to My Creations and Times (06:23)

5. Slaget I Skogen Bortenfor / Prologr / Slaget (13:10)
6. Allfadr Odinn (07:51)
7. Balf÷r / Andi Fara / Epilog (09:50)

Total playing time 51:10

Line-up / Musicians

- Ihsahn / vocals, guitar, keyboards
- Samoth / guitar
- Mortiis / bass
- Faust / drums

- Earl Grutle / vocals, bass
- D. Ymet / guitar, effects, keyboards, synths
- Trym / drums, percussion

Releases information

A split CD with the Norwegian Emperor.

Emperor: Recorded under the December full moon anno 1992 at Studio S. Produced by Emperor. Music by Samoth and Ihsahn. Lyrics by Mortiis.

Enslaved: Recorded at Lydloftet, Olen, during week 40/41 1992. Engineered by K. Ulland, K.B., Bjorkhang and R. Torsen. Produced by K.U., K.B.B., R.T. and Enslaved. Music, lyrics and arrangements by Peersen.

Candlelight also released both EP's as seperate 12'' vinyl.
Some Century Media releases of this are red due to a printing error
The first 5,000 copies of the Century Media pressing came with a printing error
- a red/pink cover.
Artwork: Death on the Pale Horse by Gustave Dore (1833-1883)

Candlelight Records/CM Records
Released: October 12th, 1993

Thanks to mogorva for the addition
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Buy ENSLAVED Emperor / Hordanes Land split CD Music

ENSLAVED Emperor / Hordanes Land split CD ratings distribution

(15 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(40%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (13%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ENSLAVED Emperor / Hordanes Land split CD reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars


This debut EP by EMPEROR was originally released as a split album with Enslaved's debut EP Hordanes Land but has since been remastered and released independently and together with the demo "Wrath Of The Tyrant." On this release Ygg changed his name to the more familiar Ihsahn and Faust made his debut delivering us to evil with his impressive drumming skills. This would be the last effort for Mortiis who would jump ship only to pursue his dark ambient musical fetish.

On this debut EP by the mighty EMPEROR we hear the transition from the muddy live wire demo band to the in-transit zone between death, thrash and the second wave of black metal but starting here we get a more smoothed out madness with an atmospheric keyboard backing. The music is just as intense and brutal but the symphonic backing adds a rather calming feel that makes this seem a little less startling and less like it was recorded in the depths of hell than the previous demo. The real proof is by listening to the two tracks which appeared on the demo and were re-recorded for this EP. Those two tracks being "Wrath of the Tyrant" and "Night of the Graveless Souls." It's easy to hear how the full debut album "In The Nightshade Eclipse" picks up from here. This is a satisfying four song interlude in their discography that shouldn't be ignored.


ENSLAVED's first official release HORDANES LAND came out as an EP just a year after their 2nd demo "Yggdrasill." It was released independently at first and then a few weeks later also as a split with the first Emperor EP. I have the remastered edition that was released in 2004 with the debut album "Vikingligr Veldi." The lineup is the same with the two founders Ivar Bj°rnson on guitar, keyboards and vocals and Grutle Kjellson handling bass. Trym Torson is still on board on drums.

There has been a major leap in songwriting on this first release as the three tracks are much more varied and complex than the demos. The track "Allfß­r O­inn" which is included on this EP was the strongest and most progressive on "Yggdrasill" and the band recognized that and used it as the template for their further evolution down the path of ever more progressive black metal. Already at this stage they have a unique sound that despite keeping the basics of second wave black metal in tact, they offer a whole variety of ideas that is layered upon it.

From the opening track "Slaget..." that offers a somewhat artificial sounding choral chant we get a strange keyboard progression that is actually quite catchy and succeeds in overpowering a brutal buzzsaw wall-of-sound with the typical black metal style of shrieks and growls for vocals. The track also shows a much more epic approach in the music as it is divided into three distinct acts and just creeps over the 13 minute mark. In addition to brutal black metal parts there are slow sections that even have classical acoustic guitar sections in the mix. The other two tracks are no less brutal in their delivery, catchy in their hooks or progressive in their developments. They both are well over the 7 minute mark.

The production is still lo-fi but not as so as on the demos. I find myself listening to this EP a lot for although it lacks the complexity of 21st century releases by the band, it is a satisfying listen that is interesting for its own sake as well as putting the band's history in some sort of context. I enjoy this early period of ENSLAVED just as much as the later releases. This is a surprisingly well crafted musical experience and this is only the band's first release. It demonstrates that the band not only mastered the brutality of black metal but that they could also adapt it to include some truly interesting and diverse elements. For me this is beyond for collector's only and I highly recommend this.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Emperor / Hordanes Land' - Emperor / Enslaved (77/100)

The split between Emperor and Enslaved remains a standout from the height of the Second Wave, but it owes its full significance to the achievements both acts would reach later on. Given Norway's hotbed status for black metal throughout the 90s, it's not surprising some of the best would team up at one point or another. Both bands were young, and still in the process of finding their voice when this split came out. The rest, of course, is history. If Emperor did not innovate the symphonic black metal sound (I'd say the credit goes to Master's Hammer) they certainly perfected it on their first two albums. As for Enslaved, their career's been nothing if not consistent. Viking-lore infused black metal ultimately gave way to a rich, progressive sound. Not that you'd ever guess that from the music here. As deceptively sophisticated as the arrangements here are, the impression is moreso one of primal molten creativity and rawness in the truest of black metal customs.

Effectively a combination of Emperor's self-titled EP and Enslaved's Hordanes Land, I loved this split years ago. Today I still do, though now it strikes me more as a pair of parallel works-in-progress. Both Emperor and Enslaved would make fantastic bounds for black metal with their first two respective albums. Emperor / Hordanes Land is made a bit less interesting by the fact that the former would re-record their tracks in better shape for In the Nightside Eclipse. As for Enslaved's offering, I've come to see Hordanes Land as a much-welcomed expansion to their own debut Vikingligr Veldi. The two halves were made independently of one another, and were originally intended to be heard each on their own. Even so, with the two together, you get an impressive one-two punch. Both bands are impressive on their own; together, they complement one another, and there's more than enough of a distinction between the two to keep the music fresh.

When I call this split a "work in progress" for both bands involved, I don't think that's a bad thing at all. While it may have been less favourable to hear this rough display on a full-length, the bands here are making rough strokes already with a unique personality. Emperor's trademark speed and symphonic accoutrements are already in sight, although fans of In the Nightside Eclipse won't be surprised by anything they hear here. Although I prefer Emperor over Enslaved most days, I'd actually say the Hordanes Land offers the most promise here. The guys were in their teens and already playing with longer song structures and deeper orchestrations. The primitive mix of Viking metal with a primitive symphonic lean in the direction of their splitmates is a great combination, and I think the band pulls it off very well.

Both sides of this split were released on their own before getting paired up, and I think the halves ultimately deserve to be interpreted independently first, and as a split second. Although the In the Nightside Eclipse rerecordings make Emperor's side less essential in context, musically I'd ay the two are just as solid. It's a really interesting thing to hear two bands make their own unique statements on a single disc. If anything, Emperor / Hordanes Land goes to remind us just how individually talented that classic Norwegian hotbed really was. Since then, the two have carved out amazing legacies for themselves. As a fan of both, it's pretty cool to hear the two together when they were first starting out.

Latest members reviews

5 stars This classic split album presents the early sound of two great black metal bands - my favourite, Emperor and Enslaved. Both of them went far away from their original sound throughout the years - this is the occasion to hear how they sounded in the way they were created. The first side is the Em ... (read more)

Report this review (#202141) | Posted by Mogorva | Monday, February 9, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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