Review Summary: Immortal Discography Review Chapter II-By getting faster and, overall, far more proficient, Immortal create a landmark black metal masterpiece
Immortal's second release, Pure Holocaust, is widely considered to be the absolute pinnacle of their discography, with some occasionally claiming At The Heart Of Winter to be slightly better. Upon this release they took the rugged, brash sound developed on Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism, and amplified it tenfold, being considerably faster paced and a lot more complete than the previous release, with more memorable moments, and a lot more proficiency instrumentally. Released in 1993, the 8 songs on this album show exactly how much Immortal had grown as musicians in the space of one year, and is considered by many to be a landmark in the black metal scene. This contains grim tales of icy landscapes and winter, with morbid stories amidst a snowy desktop, this is a ride that will never be forgotten.
By ditching the introductory track found on the first album, Immortal are able to plunge headlong into the first song Unsilent Storms In The North Abyss. Following a remarkable instrumental sections containing some incredible drum fills, the listener is straight away treated to their first taste of Abbath's manic screaming. On this album, he is far more intelligible, sounding utterly demonic. Over the course of this one year, Abbath grew a considerable amount as a vocalist, with his vocals on here being some of the more recognizable, stand-out black metal vocalists, giving the perfect voice for the dark tales that unfold.
Whilst on the subject of Abbath, this album is his first as drummer of the band, despite the fact that Grim was credited for the drums and appears on the cover of the album, due to having been with the band during the tour in which the picture was taken for the album cover. Abbath's drumming on this album is nearly flawless, laying down some insanely fast blast beats, giving off one of the most intense sounds of its time. The production was a lot more friendly towards the drums this time, enabling all of Abbath's talent to seep through as each of the songs is driven forward. The drumming through the third track, The Sun No Longer Rises is probably the best found on here, with the instrumental introduction being marvelously performed. Abbath pummels away at his drums incessantly throughout this release, building upon the sound found on the previous release perfectly.
The guitar work is a lot more memorable this time, with some of the riffs being particularly noticeable. The riff during the first few lines of the previously mentioned The Sun No Longer Rises is a standout one, as well as some moments on the title track and Eternal Years On The Path To The Cemetery Gates. The ridiculously fast tremolo picked riffs are still as present and noticable as ever, but the riffs are a lot more well thought out this time, giving this album a real sense of accomplishment, with some riffs sticking in the listeners head following listening.
Storming Through Red Clouds And Holocaustwinds contains a rather incredible solo to open it off, being frantically played, with the bass and drums thundering away at the same time, making for one of the finest moments of the album. The stop-start in The Sun No Longer Rises was actually the perfect way to give the listener a brief seconds breather before the relentless barrage of aggression continues. Frozen By Icewinds packs one of the most memorable intro riffs in all of Immortal's discography, giving it bragging rights as one of the best songs on the album. To name all of the great moments on Pure Holocaust would mean writing a novel, but they are just three that come to mind.
Pure Holocaust was one of the few Immortal albums in which the whole album was just one long masterpiece, instead of having standout tracks like later releases such as All Shall Fall. This is one thirty-three minute dose of speed, with the drums blasting away and the guitars incessantly letting loose note after note. Demonaz and Abbath created a black metal masterpiece with this release. 4.5/5