Review Summary: BLASHYRKH MIGHTY RAVENDARK4 of 9 thought this review was well written
Immortal was a prominent black metal band from Bergen, Norway. The group began in 1989 as "Amputation", a death metal band. Immortal's early full-length releases were of a traditional black metal style, but their acclaimed album "At the Heart of Winter" saw the band begin to experiment with a complex fusion of black metal and German thrash. The resultant sound was a style which characterized Immortal's later works. Immortal has been influential to many modern metal artists. Its founders, Abbath and Demonaz, have attained a legendary status in the Scandinavian heavy metal scene. Out of these many bands Immortal has arguably maintained the most occult-mysticism image and way of life traditionally credited to black metal. Their peculiar music style of black melodic metal has guaranteed them a spot on the list of the best bands in the history of the genre, and has most definetely triggered the rise of their albums sales, even though most of the albums are quite difficult to obtain. (as taken from Wikipedia)
...make sure that you read the last sentence. It's pretty hard to find these guys albums in your average CD store, and this one was literally impossible for the to find. I had to end up ordering it. I've been interested in the entire black metal genre for quite some time and I wanted to start getting some lesser known albums because I had already heard most of the essential releases by then. If you've ever heard of this band, you've probably heard of these two albums: Pure Holocaust
and Sons of Northern Darkness
. I have yet to hear the first one mentioned but I rather liked their final album. But what else does the band have to offer? Well this album was the next thing I decided to purchase. It came right after a monumental release in black metal, so the band certainly had a lot to live up to. We've seen this when many bands will triumph (like Slayer with South of Heaven) and we've also seen many bands fall flat on their faces (like Korn with Life is Peachy). Anyways, prepare for a rather cold and harsh experience. Enter...
Immortal's Battles in the North
Immortal consists of:
Abbath: Vocals, Drums, Bass
What was good about the album:
-- For fans of melodic black metal, you'll probably be into this band. Immortal doesn't show any sign of changing from their original sounds. Every song is loaded with almost thrashy guitar riffs with a very distinct production. Demonaz's guitar parts are filled with melody and are something that will end up getting stuck in your head at one point or another.
-- The band has a vast amount of riffs and guitar parts throughout. There are plenty of changes in the songs so you probably won't find yourself thinking that the song is the same thing, which is something that certain black metal bands like Darkthrone would do.
-- For fans of speed metal and thrash, you'd probably be intrigued by this album. Just about the entire time this album is simply beating you into submission with its blast beats and constant double bass drum abuse. Metal drummers out there wouldn't find anything really innovative, but it's still solid nonetheless. Abbath does a very solid job and gets a thumbs up from me.
-- The album's atmosphere and production are great for the black metal genre. The vocals are extremely harsh, grating, and filled with hate. You can't ask for more out of a black metal vocalist. The guitars seem almost distant from the recording and take a back seat in the band. They're still there, but the vocals and drums are just a lot louder. Whether you may like this or not, it's still there. As far as atmosphere goes, I can only think of one word to describe Immortal: cold. You've probably heard this if you've ever read or heard anything about the band, but it's true. Their sound takes you right to the icy winter lands of Norway.
What was bad about the album:
-- There is little to no variation in the band's style. There will be some very short clean guitar parts, but other than that it's just straightforward black metal for the entirety of the album's 35 minutes. This is always something I have a problem with in bands because I'm not a big fan of hearing the same song ten times in a row.
-- For those of you who are not used to black metal and the production style that it is known to use, you won't feel comfortable listening to this. It's not exactly welcoming for a new fan and only experienced black metal listeners would probably find this enjoyable. In short, this album isn't for everyone.
-- The album is fairly short. By the end of the band's lifetime they were making albums that were 50 minutes in length and had epic songs, so why couldn't they have done that now? I'm a big fan of giant black metal songs and this album just seems to avoid all of that. Immortal seems to go for a more "punk feel" on this album, seeing as how their longest song only lasts for an average length of 4:33.
-- This album may be too heavy for some listeners.
Through the Halls of Eternity
Grim And Frostbitten Kingdoms
Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)
-- Plenty of interesting guitar riffs
-- The guitars actually have melody
-- Solid drums, which are often very fast
-- Good black metal vocals
-- Little to no variation throughout
-- Album is rather short
-- People may not be used to the production
Final Rating: 2.5/5 - An average album. This album is only really for big Immortal and black metal fans. You'd probably be better off looking for something else.