Immortal
At the Heart of Winter


4.5
superb

Review

by Shadows USER (89 Reviews)
January 16th, 2005 | 145 replies | 29,623 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist


7 of 10 thought this review was well written

Since Immortal's formation in 1989 they have since became one of the definitive black metal bands. After recording a few demos under the name "Amputation" the band's style drastically changed to black metal in 1991 after renaming themselves "Immortal". They released several records under the French label Osmose, including the legendary Pure Holocaust. It wasn't until Horgh took up the sticks as drummer in '96 that the band had a stable line-up, but in '97 original member Demonaz was incapacitated with acute tendonitous in his hand. Demonaz continued writing as Abbath took over guitar duty. Afterward Immortal released what is arguable their best album, At the Heart of Winter. After Demonaz's dropping from the line-up, they go back to two man set-up with Abbath cover vocals, guitars, and bass with Horgh guarding his territroy behind the set. In case you hadn't noticed, I plagurized much of my own review due to laziness and impatience.

The two-man Norwegian legan bursts out in '99 with At the Heart of Winter with the astonishing track, Withstand the Fall of Time. The intro guitar sounds great with the drums playing some very percussive beats. Once the blast beat begin the song movs forward in full force. The drumming is consistent and the guitars play a great melody. Two minutes in the bass does a slidey thing and the guitar moves to heavy power chords producing some chunkier riffs. It moves on, and in time the guitar goes to leads riffs that are truely amazing. The drums go insane for a little bit and take the original structure and amplify it by about x10. The sound is reletively linear for another two minutes until the tempo picks up. The drums go back to blast beats and finally some more vocals come in. The song fades out and does not disappoint. The incredible follower, Solarfall, could very well be one of my favorite black metal songs ever. The guitar and drums both move at high speeds while the guitar keeps an amazingly melodic sound. It gets heavier just before the vocals, while Horgh shows off his double bass skill. Later on the clean guitars echo dramatically and the drums do a low pitch roll type thing (I'm not a drummer). I love that part. Luckily they do it a couple times. As the song draws to a close, the power drumming and melodic guitars collide in an amazing instrumental.

Tragedies Blows at Horizons proced a decent comeback from the last epic. The breaks that leave the guitars doing it's own thing sound cool. The song itself is moderately paced but nothing special in the main sections. It's all drums at varying speeds until another awesome clean section. Abbath really knows his stuff. The drums only help accent it. The rest really doesn't have much variation. It's all the main riffs repeated with the sweet clean section thrown in for good measure. Maybe a little too repetitive, but they has some amazing stuff packed into that one song. To proceed is to go Where Dark and Light Don't Differ. This song combines more melodic leads with dark sounding power chords. Abbath's voice sounds altered to be more evil at first, but it works. He sounds like he's half growling and it works to make him sound other worldly. His voice echoes pretty well through most of the track. Four minutes in is a great black metal shred. Abbath tears shit up with good effects for a little bit.

Why yes, At the Heart of Winter is the title track. Some nice clean guitars open the song sounding dark and depressing. Really good stuff. This is a haunting intro that everyone has to hear right now. The synth stuff afterward sounds not quite as good but it does the trick. Once the distortion is switched on, the song has definite traces of old 80s metal. Don't worry, I'm as lost as you. Of course Abbath's voice changes all that (but the guitars disagree). It's like they stole main riff right out from under Ozzy's nose. They play some interesting variations on it followed by some of the most emotional black metal leads ever. This stuff is truly amazing. Just under six minutes in Abbath breaks into another crazy guitar shredfest. It only lasts a few seconds, but cherish that time. And finally, we have Years of Silent Sorrow. The final song comes crashing in right from the get go with the highly energized drums and some howling guitar sounds to match. Some slow and piercing guitar sounds are played quite often. Abbath goes in and out of heavy power chords ridles with pinch harmonics. Half way through more great leads are played. It compliments the vocals quite well, whic are loewr and sound like Abbath have some kind of stomach problem. All those riffs are alternated in different orders and played until the end of the song. Not too bad.

A black metal landmark. This is arguably Immortal's best release to date. It's quite the epic album, and comes packed to the gills with memorable riffs and melodic sections. The diehard black metaler may want this, but this might be too harsh for the more commercial listener. But I'm sure there are plenty of people around here who could appreciate it.

Pros:
- True black metal and very unique
- Great musicianship
- Endless amounts of riffs and solos throughout

Cons:
- Songs get extremely boring after a while
- Production could be better

Recommended tracks:
Withstand the Fall of Time
Solarfall
At the Heart of Winter



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Dark Hero
November 19th 2004



160 Comments


Wow, you have been writing reviews up the wall lately, and all of them are great, including this one:thumb:I havn't heard much of Immortal so I will be checking them out.

Shadows
Moderator
November 19th 2004



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks. :thumb: I have a lot of CDs that haven't been done so I've been pushing to do more.

If you're getting into Immortal I would suggest Sons of Northern Darkness. Which, by the way, I just wrote the review for along with this. If you have any sense of decency you'll post in it.

BoboTheRagingHobo
November 19th 2004



48 Comments


Yet again, another great album by the mighty Immortal, definetly one of my favorite black metal bands ever. Good review too, and it deserves the 4.9/5.

Shadows
Moderator
November 19th 2004



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

bump

Come on, post. This album pwns.

surfkauai
November 19th 2004



30 Comments


This is the only black metal band that i like (unless you consider Arcturus black metal). Good Review

Bartender
Emeritus
November 20th 2004



826 Comments


Absolutely excellent album. Can't really over-emphasise how much I like it. I prefer it to every other black metal album I've heard so far because it's based on riffs, and very good riffs at that. It's like air guitar black metal, and may well be a contender with Incorrigible Bigotry for album most stuffed full of incredible riffing.

Not to mention, it's the only Immortal album not to have the band themselves on the front cover. And the artwork is awesome, too.

RiceMonster
November 20th 2004



62 Comments


Wow, I've just got into Immortal today and they are already one of my favourite bands. I think I'll pick up one of their albums very soon.

Shadows
Moderator
November 20th 2004



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hahahah...I never thought about the album cover and how it's the only one without the band on it. It's probably just as well since Immortal is a band that constantly goes way overboard on the corpse paint/outfit stuff (check out the shin guards on the Sons of Northern Darkness cover).

manuscriptreplica
November 20th 2004



431 Comments


This album is nothing special to me, the songs are all too long

Good review

Shadows
Moderator
November 20th 2004



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That was the only drawback that I saw - a lot of the music got repetitive after the first five minutes.

manuscriptreplica
November 21st 2004



431 Comments


That's why I feel Darkthrone are so effective at BM, their songs are pretty much all 4-5 minutes

bassaholica2004
November 21st 2004



40 Comments


I haven't heard this album, but if it beats Battles in the North, it must be pretty damn good. I definetely gotta check this out. Good review man.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
November 21st 2004



2125 Comments


[QUOTE=Death to Pop-Punk]Immortal is a band that constantly goes way overboard on the corpse paint/outfit stuff (check out the shin guards on the Sons of Northern Darkness cover).[/QUOTE]

Is this the two man band where one of the guys looks like he's a fat pro wrestler?

manuscriptreplica
November 21st 2004



431 Comments


Yep, you'd love the booklet, it's got about 7 kvlt pics of the band

Per Ardua Ad Astra
November 21st 2004



106 Comments


Good review, Great CD.

Shadows
Moderator
November 21st 2004



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yes, this is arguably their best (I think I've already mentioned). They have really good music and are also good for a laugh now and then making for a very effective band.

circleofdeadchildren
September 10th 2005



119 Comments


I Love this cd.

Aakon_Keetreh
October 17th 2005



448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this cd i must say its pure awsome....but i personally think its not as good as SoNd

Arrakakaka
November 5th 2005



685 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I crack up every time I hear Abbath's voice. He sounds like a bullfrog.

Shadows
Moderator
November 5th 2005



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not on Diabolical Full Moon Mysticism!



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