As the Shadows Rise is Emperor’s second EP and shows major improvements over its predecessor. While most of the dimensions of this brief recording are the same as its processor, there are a few major and significant upgrades. It seems that Emperor finally got the bucks to purchase a professional keyboard, which dramatically improves the band's sound. The synths are a major personality throughout the recording, creating intense backdrops and dreamy counter melodies. The production is also superior. All the instruments have a bigger and fuller sound than they did on the self-titled EP.
As the Shadows Rise is a rerecording of three tracks from the Wrath of the Tyrant demo. All three tracks sound significantly better. “The Ancient Queen” sounds glorious with the synths providing all sorts of wicked and regal tones. “Witches Sabbath” sacrifices the sheer viciousness of the original recording, but compensates by producing a dynamic and layered composition that slowly builds tension as it ascends toward its maniacal conclusion. “The Lord of the Storms” is a short track that combines Ihsahn’s blackened screams with deep guttural vocals (which are certainly modified). While it’s not the most impressive song, the strange vocal performance at least provides a novel experience.
As the Shadows Rise is a worthwhile EP from Emperor. There are two really solid songs on here and though "The Lord of the Storms" a little odd, it is at least entertaining. This is far from an essential recording, but it is a chance to see some nice early Emperor compositions get the makeover they deserve.