Rare for me to give a perfect score to albums from the more extreme end of the Metal spectrum. I enjoy Death, Black and Thrash and all the admixtures in between, but they rarely have that extra something an album needs to get full marks. This album is an exception, as it is so full of fury and majesty I can't imagine what else you could want out of an album.
Do I have to describe the sound of this legendary band? If you don't know EMPEROR, then just imagine how cool DIMMU BORGIR would be if they weren't gay: blistering riffs, sweeping orchestral keyboards and the scorched-earth shriek of mastermind Ihsahn. This is a furious Metal assault that never lets up for a moment and I have never really heard another album that can match this one for sheer relentless ferocity. After the instrumental, atmospheric "Alsvartr" lulls you into a false sense of security, the Euronymous-penned riff from "Ye Entrancemperium" rams into your skull like a crossbow bolt and from there on there is no stopping this Black Metal dreadnaught. At the time of its release some people doubted these guys could pull it off, as they had been delayed by some of the band members getting their asses thrown in jail. But now "Anthems..." stands as one of Black Metal's defining moments and an essential album for Metalheads period. I don't care what genre you want to put this in (as BM purists will bitch about genre divisions endlessly) it rules. The musical equivalent of a hurricane of evil.
EMPEROR may have gone out with a whimper and none of their subsequent works can equal this. But the album remains an inarguable and lasting achievement and a landmark in Metal, Black or otherwise. (Online October 29, 2003)