Immortal
Northern Chaos Gods

It has been nine years since the last full length Immortal Record All Shall Fall.  Gone is the trademark, raspy grimace of Abbath whose voice had been the nebular raven cadence of the group since all the way back to the first album Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism.  Enter 2018 and Immortal’s ninth full length studio record Northern Chaos Gods.  This album takes a bit of getting used to with Demonaz taking over the vocal responsibilities.  The album opens up with the title track Northern Chaos Gods with has the up-tempo blasting thrashing aggression of Battles of the North.  Riff wise this is pretty crushing and then builds into a pre chorus section that reminds me a bit of Sons of Northern Darkness with Demonaz unique shuffling note patterns that are on display throughout.

The second track “Into Battle ride” reminds me quite a bit of “One by One’ off of Sons of Northern Darkness. Make no mistake about musically this has the elements that I think make Immortal great.  Scathingly infernal arrangements with unique epic bridge sections.  In reading through some of these song titles it feels like Immortal are trying to stick to the specific style that has made them popular for quite some time with track titles like “Gates to Blashyrkh” and “Mighty Ravendark”.  This may rub some Immortal fans the wrong way while others might not mind so much as again, musically this album checks off all of the boxes. “Gates to Blashyrkh” is more a mid tempo third track and feels like it could have come from “At the Heart of Winter” with the clean arpeggiated sections and marching drum parts.  I must also state that it’s a bit difficult to assess any particular black metal vocals after hearing the new Funeral Mist which may be the best black metal album of the year.  I Guess In one sense I am glad Demonaz is not over delivering or straining too much. I feel like if Abbath’s vocals were on this it not necessarily would have as much variation in delivery.

Bottom line so far through the first three tracks I have not lost interest.  The track pacing is on point. I could do without the spoken grim part over a clean guitar part but it is what it is. “Grim and Dark” is another track that reminds me of Sons of Northern Darkness and feels like I am driving through a snowstorm. “Called to Ice” is a bit more a thrashier up-tempo tune.  Definitely a head banger.  “Where Mountains Rise” may be the most in line with what I liked about At the Heart of Winter. The balance between gorgeous melodies and Demonaz screams makes for a unique combination that at this point in the album I am used to and don’t find myself turning the album off.  So that is a good sign. “Blacker of Worlds” is another up-tempo blast assault with marching chords driving forth like a horde of black stallions.  The track builds quite nicely towards a cool bridge section that continues to march and drive with a flurry of fluttering double kick patterns by the almighty Horgh!

Northern Chaos Gods closes with the longest track of the album “Mighty Ravendark” which clocks in at nine minutes and fifteen seconds.  Opening up with more fantastic chorus driven clean picked chord shapes the distortion then kicks in with one of the best riffs on the album at right around a minute in.  For those of you looking for a more traditional Immortal album this is as close as they have been in a while and for the most part the album does a fine job mixer older Immortal elements with the newer album ideas.  If I were to grade it I would probably give it a B +.  I would be interested to hear what readers have to say about this. To me this is one of the more intriguing records of 2018 and I would definitely recommend it if you can handle Demonaz vocals.

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Written by Nick K
July 9th, 2018

Comments

  1. Commented by: Dimaension X

    As much as I like Abbath, I think I favor Demonaz’ vocals. They don’t sound like Popeye. And the music is a definite nod back to earlier Immortal, but with some of the epic chord progressions of later Immortal, along with those clean arpeggios that help contrast between the light and dark.


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