It’s blast from the past time here at Grim Reader HQ, with an album I’ve been wanting to hear ever since the lead single Northern Chaos Gods from black metal legends Immortal was unleashed on an unsuspecting metal world. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, the falling out with Abbath, the return of riffmaster Demonaz to the icy fold on guitars and vocals respectively was a slight cause for concern but also one of great excitement.
At The Heart of Winter and Sons of Northern Darkness are two of my favourite albums of all time. The guitar tone, the fury and power of the playing, the sheer bombast of the songs, flawless metal records in my opinion.
Make no mistake, Northern Chaos Gods goes straight for the throat, ripping and shredding in a flurry of scything riffs and guttural shrieks. The production from Peter Tagtgren is excellent; the guitars and hugely impressive drumming from Horgh are front and centre but the bass is still perfectly audible and the balance feels spot on. Gone is a little of the grandiose and pomp from the Abbath era (not that there was anything wrong with that). Immortal 2018 looks to turn back the clock and in doing so reminding us just how dangerous and exciting black metal can still be in 2018.
The album has a nice balance of face-shredding black metal anthems such as the title track, Into Battle Ride to the more epic sounding, brooding songs such as Where Mountains Rise and the superb album closer Mighty Ravendark. The latter, at over 9 minutes in length sits proudly alongside other great Immortal tracks like Tyrants and Withstand The Fall of Time. It really is a work of art and the perfect album closer. It might even be one of their best songs, period!
I hear a lot of people say that black metal is unlistenable noise, I always call bullshit on this. I’ll admit, it can be an acquired taste, but I love the passion and fury that goes into these albums. Northern Chaos Gods see Immortal on top of their game. The music is fast and furious and at other times melodic and moving. It is the perfect accompaniment for me as I drive up the mountain to work every day and I envisage it being among my top 3 albums at the end of the year.
Any black metal fan needs this record in their collection. Let us crash through the gates of Blashyrkh together and ride into battle. The frostbitten, black metal legend has been reborn. Hail, Immortal.