Immortal
War Against All


4.0
excellent

Review

by Brendan Schroer CONTRIBUTOR (255 Reviews)
May 28th, 2023 | 40 replies


Release Date: 05/26/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: As grim and frostbitten as ever.

Well, it’s happened. After the departures of Abbath in 2015 and Horgh in 2022 - both under the circumstances of heated legal battles - Immortal guitarist and co-founder Demonaz has officially become the last man standing. One quick gander at the War Against All liner notes will reveal that Demonaz has compiled a laundry list of session musicians - including Ice Dale of Enslaved fame! - and helmed this new project himself. However, if 2018’s Northern Chaos Gods had proven anything, it’s that the Immortal name could survive and stay afloat following Abbath’s exit. All of the band’s hallmarks were still there: the grim atmosphere, the piercing tremolo riffs, Horgh’s signature rapid-fire blastbeats… all the good stuff we’ve come to expect from these guys. But, with the passing of 5 years and Horgh out of the picture, how would Demonaz fare on 2023’s War Against All?

If you’re an Immortal fan, rejoice! War Against All is still Immortal doing what they do best: delivering furious riffs and blastbeats over a grim, frostbitten soundscape. With that said, the record is not just a rote rehash of what they offered on Northern Chaos Gods; a few extra touches have been added for more variety, whether it be the epic synth passage of “Return to Cold” or the all-instrumental 7-minute behemoth “Nordlandihr”. The album is also quite lean, only clocking in at 38 minutes, so the more experimental bits don’t overstay their welcome. For the most part, though, this is the same late-era Immortal that we’ve heard for a while now, a fact that’s only further highlighted with the take-no-prisoners nature of the opening title track. The frantic blastbeats, Demonaz’s intense shrieks and screeches, even a nice guitar solo at the end to cap things off… it’s all here, and shows that Demonaz still has plenty of gas left in the tank for this band.

As the snowy expedition continues, so does our frontman’s penchant for throwing in a few subtle shifts in tempo and dynamics. After the two back-to-back ragers that open War Against All, “Wargod” opts to slow things down; between the midtempo drumming, the simple chug riffs, and catchy verses, it’s almost like a black metal version of an arena rock anthem. Keep in mind that I’m not saying that as a negative, as the tune provides a much-needed change of pace after the carnage preceding it. And as it builds, the aggression and speed start to increase until we find ourselves with a more traditional Immortal number. I appreciate Demonaz’s willingness to play around with new ideas while still not letting go of the band’s tried-and-true sound; he strikes a nice balance between the two, and it makes for a fun listen front-to-back.

Still, the back half of War Against All is where much of the best material lies. I’ve already talked about the experiments found on “Return to Cold” and “Nordlandihr”, but the closer also deserves a mention. “Blashyrkh My Throne” gives the record a suitably epic finish, shifting between epic midtempo riffage and slow clean-guitar passages with excellent results. It’s not like Immortal haven’t utilized this approach before - “Beyond the North Waves” from Sons of Northern Darkness comes to mind - but “Blashyrkh…” proves that the approach can still conjure up some monolithic, even triumphant-sounding motifs. Finally, I want to give a shout out to the aforementioned Ice Dale, as his bass work really beefs up some of these tracks - just listen to the riffing on “Thunders of Darkness” to hear what I mean.

Again, however, if you’re not an Immortal fan, this won’t sway you whatsoever. War Against All is pretty much Immortal doing what they’ve done for a few decades now: combining black metal with elements of thrash, and tweaking the sound with some experimental touches here and there. But if that does sound up your alley, chances are that you’ll enjoy the hell out of this thing. It’s furious, it’s grim, it’s wintry, it’s atmospheric… what can I say? It’s black metal, and the kind that Immortal have all but perfected at this point.



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user ratings (110)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Koris
Contributing Reviewer
May 28th 2023


19588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I didn't expect to make such a long review, but the creative juices just kept flowing. And... well, here we are :]

Spec
May 28th 2023


38015 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, nicely done. Listened through the album once and it didn’t leave much of an impact on me. Post Abbath Immortal just feels wrong.

Koris
Contributing Reviewer
May 28th 2023


19588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That's fair. I was initially skeptical about post-Abbath Immortal as well, but they eventually won me over with Northern Chaos Gods

Azog
May 28th 2023


1070 Comments


"Still, the back half of War Against All is where much of the best material lies."

I think the first two songs pretty much save this album from being a chug fest.

"War Against All is pretty much Immortal doing what they’ve done for a few decades now"

Yeah, this is Immortal all right, but it's Immortal going through the motions. It all sounds a bit tired and uninspired.

In the end, though, I still like this album. It's just that, when compared to it's predecessor, it falls a bit flat. So I'm a bit disappointed, but also pleased at the same time.

wildinferno2010
May 28th 2023


1754 Comments


Good review!

Didn't listen to their last album and not super interested in giving this a second listen anytime soon, but it's cool to know that Immortal still sounds like Immortal.

pizzamachine
May 28th 2023


24386 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damnnn, this shreds! Excellent review.

Koris
Contributing Reviewer
May 28th 2023


19588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks guys! I appreciate it

DietMilk
May 28th 2023


99 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First three tracks “meh”, rest of the album? Makes me wanna cover my body in corpse paint and parachute naked out of a plane onto a frozen nordic mountain to hunt for ice trolls in order to make runes of power from their enchanted penises.

pizzamachine
May 28th 2023


24386 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

m/

Koris
Contributing Reviewer
May 28th 2023


19588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Makes me wanna cover my body in corpse paint and parachute naked out of a plane onto a frozen nordic mountain to hunt for ice trolls in order to make runes of power from their enchanted penises."



About as metal as it gets \m/

sneakers
May 29th 2023


1288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

album is decent enough, 3.3 for tbh

Koris
Contributing Reviewer
May 29th 2023


19588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fair enough :]

garas
Contributing Reviewer
May 29th 2023


7789 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Great review Brendan, I agree with everything. Excellent album.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2023


30396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

Bookmarked for the ride back home. Album shreds ice cubes.

garas
Contributing Reviewer
May 29th 2023


7789 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

> Album shreds ice cubes.

Agreed. After all, Immortal has always delivered the iciest riffs. This will be a regular jam during the summer, for sure.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2023


30396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

Fuck ice coffee, a cup of Immortal in the morning.

Azog
May 29th 2023


1070 Comments


https://i.imgur.com/nQw1ZZw.jpg

pizzamachine
May 29th 2023


24386 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Now this is a party

Cryptkeeper
May 29th 2023


2078 Comments


Goofy ahh cover art

pizzamachine
May 29th 2023


24386 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It’s cool though



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