Review Summary: Immortal Discography Review Chapter IV-Demonaz's final album shows to be a huge step down in overall quality.2 of 3 thought this review was well written
Immortal have been a remarkable consistent band over the course of their career, with even their weaker albums being above average, as Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism evidenced. However, there was one black mark on their career that they will never be able to erase, and this is their fourth full length release, Blizzard Beasts. Following two of their finest albums including the jaw dropping Pure Holocaust, Immortal released their first release that grows stale incredibly fast, which was also the final album with Demonaz on guitar, before he was forced to leave after being diagnosed with acute tendinitis, which stopped him from tremolo picking at the speed required for the band.
All of the traits established on their first three releases are at work on this album, with dark lyrics about cold winter kingdoms and insanely speedy guitar work and drumming, coupled with the screams of Abbath that still sound as though he has a blocked nose, continuing to fit the lyrical themes found on here. However, this album is lacking in any form of memorability whatsoever, be it in the speed department or in the individual songs as were found on Battles In The North. The songs themselves are bland and all blend together, being too short to incorporate any real memorability or sections that stick in the listeners head. The only song that deviates from this short and quick style is Mountains of Might which, despite its pathetic song title, manages to be the best on the album, clocking in at six minutes and thirty eight seconds, and having some clear progressive song structuring, with speeds changing occasionally and stylistically it occasionally switched into the more thrash-oriented black metal that would be experimented with more from the following album onward. Other than this song, there is no variation whatsoever, with all of the album feeling like one long tremolo picked, blast beating song, and it swiftly becomes too boring to describe.
The one good thing that can be said for this album is that Demonaz went out on a high, with his guitar work being both intense and a slight step up in quality from the past album. His riffs are a lot more technical here, but still maintain the blistering speed that the band has become known for over the many years they have been playing this style of music. In terms of his overall performance, Pure Holocaust and Battles In The North curb stomp this album, but the actual technical ability on display from Demonaz is his best performance. The soloing on here is fantastic, being incredibly quick and difficult to play, serving its purpose on this release really well, and being one thing the album deserves complimenting on. This album features a new drummer, Horgh, who is not quite as competent as Abbath had been on the past two releases, playing slightly slower, but still being good enough to carry the album forward at a ridiculous pace. Abbath takes the bass guitar duties, and handles them well, with his piercing shrieks of anguish being as great as they were on the past two releases.
The production on this album may well be the worst on any Immortal release, which is disappointing given that the sound quality on their other albums is actually a lot more tolerable than many of the black metal bands out there. Everything on this album mashes together to form one solid wall of sound in which everything is buried by everything else, with no instrument actually standing out for more than a millisecond before one of the other instruments drowns it out. Even Abbath's vocals are not as distinguishable as they were on previous albums, instead being mixed back a little. This is hands down one of the worst production jobs for one of the more well known black metal bands out there, being incredibly lo-fi and underwhelming, with the production under-paring the talent the members all clearly possess.
This album is just too short and fast for its own good, clocking in at less than twenty nine minutes and consistently using the hyper tempos, with next to no variation to be found whatsoever. This album will eventually begin to erode the listener's patience, being just so plain and painfully dull that it can not redeem itself, no matter how high the standard of musicianship on display. This is the weakest point in the Immortal discography by a long way.