I don't know where to start with this album. The first two black metal albums I got were this and Emperor's debut. And the first time I listened to them ALL I heard was FUZZ!!! I thought "What have I wasted my money on :("...
But then I listened to it more, I mean actually sat down with no other distractions and LISTENED to the music, and I was able to hear the melodies and riffs, and one day it just clicked. This album is amazing. Possibly the best black metal album ever recorded. I read a review on Amazon.com and this guy was saying how he's been a musician for 15 years and black metal isn't even a valid form or music. I don't know what he was on, cos never mind black metal, this is just great music whatever way you look at it.
I usually like to review albums song by song, but I think it's pointless with this album, as every song is just excellent: not ONE second of filler. Seriously.
Demonaz' guitar work is amazing in every way: the blazing speed, the crushing riffage, the dark, cold melodies. I don't how to explain it... it often seems hard to pick out individual riffs, but you can still hear that the guitar playing is VERY tight and precise. There are riffs that are just plain heavy, like the first 30 seconds of "Eternal Years On The Path To The Cemetary Gates", and there are amazing epic sounding riffs like the chorus of "As The Eternity Opens". Everything about the guitar work on this CD is perfect: the riffage, the tone, the feeling.
Abbath's bass playing is solid enough, but it's the drumming that really amazes me, and sometimes I wonder if Abbath really did play drums for this album!!! The double bass is amazingly fast and solid, the accents and groove are good, and the use of crash and fills are original and often unexpected. Then there's the blast beats. This is some of the best extreme drumming you'll ever hear, and I don't know what happened, cos if you listen to Abbath's drumming on Battles In The North it's absolutely terrible.
My favourite songs are Unsilent Storms In The North Abyss, As The Eternity Opens and The Sun No Longer Rises, but I have to say that none of the songs really stand out... because not one song is below the standard of pure ***ing excellence.
The production on this album is perfect. It sounds raw and kinda muddy, with lots of treble, but each instrument can be clearly heard and the music doesn't drown in distortion and fuzz.
You also get the silly song titles: Frozen By Icewinds and Storming Through Red Clouds And Holocaust Winds. I think you either love it or hate it. And I love it. I love those cliched BM song titles and lyrics, and even if that's usually something that puts you off, don't miss out on this because the MUSIC here is unbeatable. The sheer perfection of this album always amazes me, and it just gets better the more you listen to it: I don't think there is a more consistent album out there.
Overall: Cold, dark, grim, evil and epic... Immortal should be crowned kings of BM JUST for this release alone.