Eventually there comes a time when the hype about a band becomes superfluous, and their status alone speaks volumes. Such is the case with Emperor, the black metal gods hailing from Telemark, Norway. Emperor has become known as one of the originators of the symphonic black metal which Norway is internationally renowned for and arguably its most unique export. Their rise to popularity outlines the very development of black metal's second wave; a period of the genre's most prolific and controversial material to date. Third album, IX Equilibrium (1999) serves as the band's single most breathtaking vision to date. Surpassing even the mighty Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk (1997) for its sheer scope of diversity, the album utilized elements from their traditional metal roots, operatic vocals and of course their trademark symphonic soundscapes.