Immortal
At the Heart of Winter


4.5
superb

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
October 23rd, 2007 | 40 replies | 11,605 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Insane guitar leads and epic song structures blend to form a Black Metal landmark.

I usually approach music with a very optimistic attitude, and I’m willing to buy an album without even hearing anything before from the band who crafted it. I’ve been occasionally disappointed by them, like Hypocrisy’s Into The Abyss, and I’ve been blow away by them, such as the absurdly good Silent Waters by Amorphis. Well folks, the legendary Black Metal act Immortal was one of those bands which fell onto my “I’ll check these bands out one day or another” list, and kind of sat there for a few months. Whenever I was at the store and had an Immortal album in my hands, such as Pure Holocaust or Sons Of Northern Darkness I seemingly always found something which caught my attention more.

However, a few weeks ago I went out to the store with a mission. One way or another, no matter what other albums ripped my attention out of the album at hand, I would buy an Immortal album. For sure. No joking around this time. So, there I was pondering over Pure Holocaust, At The Heart Of Winter, and Sons Of Northern Darkness, deciding which one to buy. I’m going to be quite frank and honest here, the only reason I chose At The Heart Of Winter was because it was the only Immortal album which didn’t have these terrible band pictures smeared all over the album covers. I mean come on, Immortal CANNOT take a picture without looking downright ridiculous. Not to worry though, because now I can honestly say that I made the correct choice, because At The Heart Of Winter was soon propelled into my top 10 Black Metal albums of all time. Indeed, everything about this album was completely unexpected, completely unexpected. I don’t know why the hell I hadn’t looked into these guys earlier, because what they create here is some of Black Metal’s finest riffing and most epic songs.

The level of songwriting ability put forth here is simply off the charts. The riff changes are almost constant, and not in a bad way. It’s like going from one insane riff to another equally insane riff. The guitars are what set this album apart from almost any other Black Metal album I have heard prior to this. The way Immortal fits in all of these sweet melodic riffs and melodies while still managing to maintain the true Norwegian Black Metal sound is simply remarkable. Other bands like Dissection did something similar, yet sometimes brought forth a Death Metal feeling to the music. Not here though, stunning guitar leads are the norm, with the amazing opener “Withstand The Fall Of Time” churning out almost 9 minutes of nearly constant walls of riffs, drums, cymbal crashes, and screeching vocals. Not even the production takes away from the intricate song structures. Production wise, this album isn’t nearly as bad as other Black Metal I’ve heard, but as always it could be better. Not to say that this would make the album as a whole sound better though, since I think the production helps capture the feeling of true Norwegian Black Metal.

The other instruments keep up the pace just as well. The drumming is top-notch stuff, with lots of cymbal crashes and an almost frantic pace. A sweet fill accompanies some of the transitions between riffs, really bringing the drums out in front for all to notice. With every song over 6 minutes, and three of them stretching past 8, it’s safe to say Immortal used every trick in the book to try and captivate the listener and keep his or her attention throughout the entire running time. Vocally, this is a serious Black Metal album, nothing resembling a Death Metal growl and no clean vocals make an appearance here. To be honest, I actually don’t mind the lack of vocal variance, because the insane guitars make up for it and more. The title track “At The Heart Of Winter” is a monster, with the growling vocals raging early and the guitars and drums shredding away behind them. Seriously, this is Black Metal at it’s finest, this is the kind of stuff that makes me proud to listen to Metal, because no other band outside of the genre can rival the raw emotion and feeling put forth here.

Songwriting talent and musical vision at it’s finest, Immortal lay down what may be the pinnacle of their career with At The Heart Of Winter. The album title says it all, giving a complete description of the cold, brutal (yet beautiful) atmosphere portrayed within the melodies and screeching vocals. I know it made a lasting impression on me, and I know I will forever be enthralled by the cold vision of Winter which Immortal released here. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy more Immortal albums, since I don't want to be left in the dark regarding this band any longer.



Recent reviews by this author
Ainulindale NevrastSargeist Feeding the Crawling Shadows
Vindensang AlphaInnsmouth Consumed By Elder Sign
Behemoth The SatanistWoods of Desolation As The Stars
user ratings (587)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
onlyhuman (5)
Immortal Discography Review Chapter V: A masterpiece that seamlessly blends both thrash and black me...

Andrew Buckley (4)
Black metal legends Immortal stopped relying purely on black metal grimness in their music, and star...

Shadows (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Yyy
October 23rd 2007



289 Comments


sucks

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 23rd 2007



15977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Indeed.

Digging: Tiamat - Wildhoney

Thor
October 23rd 2007



10158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pros: album art is awesome

Digging: Cult Leader - Nothing For Us Here

Willie
Moderator
October 23rd 2007



15774 Comments


As usual you've convinced me to either check out an album or stay away from it... this time I'm going to check it out.

Goes without saying that it was a good review too...

Digging: Teramaze - Esoteric Symbolism

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 23rd 2007



15977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was really surprised by this album, I bet you will be also.

And ya, the album are is fantastic.

masscows
October 23rd 2007



2236 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Immortal caught my attention after I heard a few songs off of Sons of Northern Darkness, but I never bothered to check out an album (same story you had, haha). I may look into this soon.

I just put an order in for Bergtatt and Imaginary Sonicscape though, and I don't plan on getting any other CD's until christmas. This will certainly be on my list.

Tyler
Emeritus
October 23rd 2007



7924 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pros: album art is awesome

seriously?

masscows
October 23rd 2007



2236 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Anything to do with winter is awesome, coke.

Thor
October 23rd 2007



10158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Um yeah I think it looks pretty cool.

I await your standard douchey reply.

Willie
Moderator
October 23rd 2007



15774 Comments


I checked out the samples on iTunes and was kind of back-and-forth about whether to get it or not... then I noticed it's only $5.94, so it's downloading now.

Edit: I definitely hear the Peter Tatgren influence in the guitar sound and overall production.This Message Edited On 10.23.07

Tyler
Emeritus
October 23rd 2007



7924 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The cover is so tacky.
Immortal is good enough, I guess, but I'm not big on the Popeye vocals.

Thor
October 23rd 2007



10158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's not Immortal has never been tacky before.

Tyler
Emeritus
October 23rd 2007



7924 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's not Immortal has never been tacky before.

They play around with their image and videos, but that doesn't mean I can't think the cover is lame.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 23rd 2007



15977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think they look pretty goofy tbqh.

Tyler
Emeritus
October 23rd 2007



7924 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

That's the best part though, they don't take their image and scene too seriouslyThis Message Edited On 10.23.07

ZapatoDiablo
October 23rd 2007



167 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Does this album have the clean breaks like Sons of Northern Darkness did?

jrowa001
October 23rd 2007



8749 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i've never listened to an Immortal album. is this a good album to start with?

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 23rd 2007



15977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Does this album have the clean breaks like Sons of Northern Darkness did?


If you mean clean as in calm, then yes.

i've never listened to an Immortal album. is this a good album to start with?


It's the first Immortal album I've ever heard, and I love it. So I'd say yes, its a good album to start with.

blackened07
October 23rd 2007



949 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Immortal is probably one of my favorite black metal bands. Good review. You should check out Pure holocaust next.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 23rd 2007



15977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm gonna buy Sons Of Northern Darkness next probably, then Pure Holocaust. Actually, I may buy both of them at once.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy