After having just discovered the band, it was a pleasant surprise to discover that Orlok was releasing an E.P. in September 2015. Black Funeral Holocaust made a very good impression on me and so there was a good deal of anticipation in hearing In Spectral Castles of Thy Horned Emperor. It did not fully turn out as expected, but is still a decent recording and is worth a listen for those into raw Finnish Black Metal.
The first thing that I noticed was the increased distortion, all around. The sound is very muffled, for the most part, making it a little difficult to decipher some of the riffs. Even more detrimental is the fact that the vocals are almost completely drowning in reverb (or some similar effect). Perhaps, Graf Werwolf was aiming to achieve a very decayed and ugly result with the music, this time around. If so, he certainly succeeded. As opposed to Black Funeral Holocaust, there is not a lot of atmosphere to this recording. There is still a detectable Mütiilation influence, mostly from the palm-muted riffs in the title track. Otherwise, it is nearly impossible to get through all of the ringing and static that clouds these two songs.
In Spectral Castles of Thy Horned Emperor is better as a collector's item for fans of Werwolf's work, I would say, and serves as more of a rehearsal-type recording. It's not bad, but it is not exactly essential. Hopefully, another full-length is forthcoming and shall return to the morbid brilliance of Orlok's debut album.