Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk is the second studio album by Norwegian black metal band Emperor. It was released on 8 July 1997 through Candlelight Records and Century Black.
The album was recorded in the Grieg Hall in Bergen, Norway.
The opening guitar riff to "Ye Entrancemperium" is taken from an unnamed Mayhem song. As such, Mayhem guitarist Euronymous is credited in the album liner notes, even though he died three years before the album was written and recorded. A recording of this unfinished track can be found on the Mayhem bootleg Ha Elm Zalag.
In 1996, the EP Reverence, which included the track "The Loss and Curse of Reverence", was released as a teaser for the album. Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk was released on 8 July 1997 through Candlelight Records. At the time of its release, it reached number 28 on Finnish album charts.
In contrast to the band's previous album, In the Nightside Eclipse, Anthems showcases a faster, more guitar-driven performance with more minimal usage of keyboards and more clean singing and blast beat-style drumwork. The album's musical approach is explained on the back cover, with a quote that reads "Emperor performs Sophisticated Black Metal Art exclusively". As well, the album's lyrical themes began to move away from nature and Satanic elements and began to incorporate more mystical themes.
In 1998, the album was remastered and re-released with the three non-album tracks from Reverence. The band made a promotional video for "The Loss and Curse of Reverence".
According to Steve Huey from AllMusic, the album is a "magnificently-conceived and executed opus that fulfills all of Emperor's promise and ambition. The biggest difference from its predecessor [being] the crisper, clearer production, which allows details in the arrangements to emerge far more readily."
He added that there's greater use of classical flourishes, greater variety in Ihsahn's vocals, more audible guitar interplay between Ihsahn and Samoth and more complex and melodic keyboard work. "It definitely builds on the groundwork laid by extreme metal pioneers Celtic Frost and Bathory: the former with its restless experimentalism, and the latter with its determination to create something quintessentially Scandinavian."
Finally, he concluded: "Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk cemented Emperor's reputation as black metal's greatest band, and Ihsahn as its foremost musical visionary; it also firmly established black metal as an art form that wasn't going away any time soon, and opened up a wide range of creative possibilities to the more progressive, eccentric wing of the genre. In the Nightside Eclipse might epitomize black metal better than any other album, but divorced from outside context, Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk is black metal's greatest stand-alone creative achievement."Ihsahn – vocals, guitar; synthesizer, arrangement, production and mastering
Samoth – guitar, arrangement, mastering and production
Alver – bass
Trym – drums and percussion
Pytten – engineering and production
Yens – sleeve photography
Stephen O'Malley – sleeve design
David Palser – sleeve photography
Cristophe Szpajdel – sleeve illustrations and logo
N. A. P. – sleeve design