Next review: » Immortal - Damned in Black
Released: 1997, Osmose Productions
Editors Note: Metal-Rules.com was founded in 1995 as a forward thinking site. Our goal is, and always has been, to support Real Metal. The decision was made that very rarely do we ever go back and review an album from before 1995. Does the world really need another CD review of Master Of Puppets, Powerslave or Screaming For Vengeance? We don’t think so. We have always supported what is happening now.
Starting in January, 2014, as we head towards the 20th Anniversary of Metal-Rules.com, we are looking back and filling in a few gaps in the review database. We want to complete the post-1995 review catalogue of some of the bands that we have supported since 1995, when very few, if any websites were supporting real Metal. It’s fun to go back and revisit some of these albums that we did not review when they were first released. Enjoy!
I recently started to appreciate Immortal and bought a couple of older albums. I have reviewed BATTLES IN THE NORTH this month as well and in that review I expanded upon my theory and experience with Immortal. Please feel free to check out that review for more context. The short version is, I never got into Immortal until 2013.
Immortal was on a productive and creative roll with four albums on Osmose in a mere six years. The band deliver a very sparse and spartan album with only eight songs and a one minute instrumental introduction running a total of a mere 29 minutes! By a small margin the songs are the most direct and to the point in the band career, with six of the nine songs running under the three-minute mark. Compared to the follow-up AT THE HEART OF WINTER, where there were no songs under six minutes!
This time the band recruited the unknown Henrikke Helland to do the production and the album does sound better. I like how Abbath’s vocals are way higher in the mix than on previous albums. I like really Lo-Fi Black Metal as well, but this was the perfect balance between the uber-raw sound of the debut and the polished sounds of the Nuclear Blast era. The ingredient was the addition of drummer Horgh as a third member, where he still reigns to this day. In other line-up related news this was also to be the last album for Demonaz as guitarist due to an injury, so it really was a transitional album.
Very similar to the last three albums, a truly discerning fan might be able to pick out tiny incremental differences between the last few albums but BLIZZARD BEASTS is raw and hellish from start to finish with perhaps only the tiniest spaces of respite like the very brief acoustic segment in the middle of ‘Frostdemonstorm’. Otherwise it is a blitzkrieg of blast beats, tremolo from start to finish. The intro of ‘Mountains Of Might’ with an atmospheric keyboard line that could offer a subtle hint of what was to come, but after less than a minute the pace is fast. It is the longest, slowest and perhaps most complex song on an album loaded with shorter faster songs. The whole album is unforgiving Black Metal of the highest order.
BLIZZARD BEASTS rounds out four near flawless albums in a row before a significant and dramatic departure in style and sound for the band. Although this is ancient history, there may be a few stalwarts who still reject the second era of the band, but the band changed and it worked. I would hardly say the change in direction could be labeled as a sell out but Immortal certainly became more palatable for a more mainstream Metal audience. If there are still a few loyalists to the old sound, they still have BLIZZARD BEASTS.
2. Blizzard Beasts
3. Nebular Ravens Winter
4. Suns That Sank Below
6. Mountains of Might
8. Winter of the Ages
Abbath - Vocals, Bass
Demonaz - Guiitar
Horgh - Drums
Previous review: » Immortal - Battles In The North