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Immortal - Northern Chaos Gods review



Reviewer:
8.0

233 users:
8.35
Band: Immortal
Album: Northern Chaos Gods
Release date: July 2018


01. Northern Chaos Gods
02. Into Battle Ride
03. Gates To Blashyrkh
04. Grim And Dark
05. Called To Ice
06. Where Mountains Rise
07. Blacker Of Worlds
08. Mighty Ravendark


Immortal have suffered for too long in the dreary melodrama of legal scrutiny. All Shall Fall was nine years ago already, and it was 21 years ago that Demonaz made his last appearance on an Immortal album. Abbath, amidst storms of public upset, returned to the music world in 2016 with a tumultuous dud. Northern Chaos Gods might just be the album Immortal needs at this moment.

Understandably, Northern Chaos Gods reflects Immortal's earliest work, the original albums on which Demonaz played guitar and had a heavier hand in the composition. Heavy chugging and melodic leads recall the thickset, death metal-oriented songwriting of the band's later albums, while passages like the end of "Gates Of Blashyrkh" and intro to "Blacker Of Worlds" have a vaguely epic mentality a la Bathory's quoting of Manowar, but among flurries of blastbeats, minor-key riffs distorted into chainsaw grinding, and hoarse, mid-to-upper-range rasping, there can be no mistaking the sound of a black metal titan getting back into its groove. It's wonderful to hear Demonaz back in full shredding form, his 2014 operation apparently having done the trick. He makes a respectable debut as Immortal's lead vocalist, too, wisely eschewing Abbath's ribbiting style for a more conventional snarl that, if less unique, still suits the band's sound.

In most respects, Northern Chaos Gods is a standard, albeit solid, second-wave black metal album. Immortal's grimmest and darkest compositions remain entrenched in past albums like At The Heart Of Winter, and in spite of certain gripping moments it might be many listens more before I'm prepared to single out any part of Northern Chaos Gods as a highlight within Immortal's discography. While this album likely will not impress many outsiders or even some fans who feel deserving of a masterpiece after nearly a decade, I think it means something for Immortal to come back from their turmoil with an album that showcases their inherent strength and understanding of the black metal genre. Especially after the flat production, uneven songwriting, and dispassionate performances that plagued Abbath's self-titled debut, hearing Demonaz and Horgh bounce back with a vital, competent effort like this one is a real relief; if it is indeed true that Abbath took Immortal's new songs with him when he split and this forced Demonaz and Horgh to start from scratch, I think they ultimately got the better deal, as shortsighted as that might be to say, because these songs are so much grimmer, blacker, and full of despair than those that found their way to Abbath.

Peter Tägtgren guided the production with a very even hand. Northern Chaos Gods bathes in the lawless aural frenzy that defines classic black metal, allowing the sound to match the fury of the songwriting and performances, but the album does not descend into the pure walls of noise that Battles In The North or Pure Holocaust were prone to. This album is more measured, opting for a tighter and clearer sound that produces a heavier feeling amidst the minimal control, though it stops short of the polish of Sons Of Northern Darkness and All Shall Fall. Crisp and cutting riffs in "Gates To Blashyrkh" and "Grim And Dark" get their due, but we still hear those noisy, atonal walls of distortion that really project the wintry image this style subsists on.

Northern Chaos Gods may not be the most diverse or awe-inspiring black metal album, it may not tread any new ground for Immortal, but after all this time and all these struggles I think what we needed was solid evidence that this band can still hack it as one of the kvltest, frostiest, blacker-than-the-blackest-black-times-infinity-est bands ever to descend from the mountain, and that's what we got in the form of this album.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 8


 



Written on 05.07.2018 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments

Comments: 21   Visited by: 345 users
05.07.2018 - 06:45
Opethian
This arrived at my doorstep yesterday and honestly, it's getting better with each spin. You're review was spot on, Steel! Cheers
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05.07.2018 - 10:37
Daniell
_爱情_
It's a very good album. No more, no less. Lots of people will expect a goddamn masterpiece just because it's been 9 years since the last album. They will be disappointed. Others might enjoy the album, because it's basically what's best about Immortal. Since Abbath is gone, this album has a strong Holocaust/Battles vibe, but it also bears all the trademarks of later era Immortal.

"Where Mountains Rise" has a riff that is almost 100% identical to a riff from Iron Maiden's "Where Eagles Dare". Even the drums are similar. Which goes to show how genres overlap seamlessly. "Mighty Ravendark" is basically Bathory circa "Hammerheart", which is even less surprising, and again confirms how immensely influential Bathory is.

This year has been quite good when it comes to black metal: Kaoteon, Gaerea, Funeral Mist, and now Immortal.
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Now loving:
Tribulation - The Lament
Tribulation - Nightbound
Tribulation - Subterranea
Tribulation - The World
Tribulation - Here Be Dragons
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05.07.2018 - 14:22
Mercurial
Thank God for Daniell always telling us exactly how everyone is going to enjoy / receive albums right after they get reviewed / newsed
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05.07.2018 - 14:58
s_t_s
Stil dubious about the band. All Shall Fall is their only release I own and while I don't listen to it very often I stil enjoy the atmosphere. Not sure if this is Black Metal though. I shall try to give this album a try but the first tracks didn't catch me in, they're not bad, just don't appeal to me. End of useless comment.
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05.07.2018 - 15:17
Lanthros
I havent heard the whole album yet. But what i have heard was just plain bland. It could have come from ANY black metal band in the early 90s. Seriously it was just plain cookie cutter shit. What i used to love about immortal was the fact that they sounded nothing like any other black metal band. Now? Just plain bland.

And for the record, abbaths album was stupid as fuck. So no. Not about the split.
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05.07.2018 - 15:30
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by Mercurial on 05.07.2018 at 14:22

Thank God for Daniell always telling us exactly how everyone is going to enjoy / receive albums right after they get reviewed / newsed

You get it, man!
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Now loving:
Tribulation - The Lament
Tribulation - Nightbound
Tribulation - Subterranea
Tribulation - The World
Tribulation - Here Be Dragons
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05.07.2018 - 15:33
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by Lanthros on 05.07.2018 at 15:17

I havent heard the whole album yet. But what i have heard was just plain bland. It could have come from ANY black metal band in the early 90s.

It's not Immortal's fault that you heard hundreds of bands since Immortal's heyday in the 90's.
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Now loving:
Tribulation - The Lament
Tribulation - Nightbound
Tribulation - Subterranea
Tribulation - The World
Tribulation - Here Be Dragons
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05.07.2018 - 16:16
Mercurial
Written by Daniell on 05.07.2018 at 15:33

It's not Immortal's fault that you heard hundreds of bands since Immortal's heyday in the 90's.

Are you seriously blaming a listener for having too much experience in a field, above the idea of a band potentially being derivative? That's some next level white-knighting.
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05.07.2018 - 16:24
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by Mercurial on 05.07.2018 at 16:16

Written by Daniell on 05.07.2018 at 15:33

It's not Immortal's fault that you heard hundreds of bands since Immortal's heyday in the 90's.

Are you seriously blaming a listener for having too much experience in a field, above the idea of a band potentially being derivative? That's some next level white-knighting.

Not blaming you, not at all. Immortal are what they've always been. Why should they re-invent themselves?
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Now loving:
Tribulation - The Lament
Tribulation - Nightbound
Tribulation - Subterranea
Tribulation - The World
Tribulation - Here Be Dragons
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05.07.2018 - 16:28
Mercurial
Written by Daniell on 05.07.2018 at 16:24

Not blaming you, not at all. Immortal are what they've always been. Why should they re-invent themselves?

Didn't say they should. Why should someone get called out for listening to too much music and having an opinion based on that fact? "It's not x-band's fault that you find them derivative, it's your fault for listening to too much music." You're practically absolving bands from potential criticism. It's absurd.

Making the same music you always did does not make a band exempt from criticism either.
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05.07.2018 - 16:33
Bad English
Masterchief
One wise man lives in MS; I hope its eb enough to nominate this, because others are against this, just saying.
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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05.07.2018 - 16:37
Mercurial
Written by Bad English on 05.07.2018 at 16:33

One wise man lives in MS; I hope its eb enough to nominate this, because others are against this, just saying.

The awards are always about highlighting lesser artists to the MS public. Big name bands resting on their laurels will always win but it's the innovative stuff by younger artists that are the stars of the awards.
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05.07.2018 - 17:11
Lanthros
Written by Daniell on 05.07.2018 at 15:33

Written by Lanthros on 05.07.2018 at 15:17

I havent heard the whole album yet. But what i have heard was just plain bland. It could have come from ANY black metal band in the early 90s.

It's not Immortal's fault that you heard hundreds of bands since Immortal's heyday in the 90's.

Point of fact, i listened to them in the 90s too. Even then they stood out from the crowd. They do NOT stand out now. Also my comparison is based on bands from that time period. This album could have come from any of them. Could be dark throne, could be mayhem, could be dark funeral. The point is that they apparently threw away the sound that made them immortal in the first place. For all the statements of "immortal are back to their roots", no. No they arent. They are just reveling in cliche and stereotype now. So yes i CAN blame them for that.

Also, the amount of music ive listened to actually gives me a better foundation for criticism.
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05.07.2018 - 17:30
Bad English
Masterchief
Written by Mercurial on 05.07.2018 at 16:37

Written by Bad English on 05.07.2018 at 16:33

One wise man lives in MS; I hope its eb enough to nominate this, because others are against this, just saying.

The awards are always about highlighting lesser artists to the MS public. Big name bands resting on their laurels will always win but it's the innovative stuff by younger artists that are the stars of the awards.


that's why sometimes quality is ingonred, and its all about some people ego, BIG EGO.
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
Loading...
05.07.2018 - 17:37
Mercurial
Written by Bad English on 05.07.2018 at 17:30


that's why sometimes quality is ingonred, and its all about some people ego, BIG EGO.

I'd say it's more about taste, which has nothing to do with ego. Insisiting a band be nominated in the awards is kinda egocentric though because it implies you think your taste is more valid than others
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06.07.2018 - 09:09
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
Wow, one blaming a listener's habit over defending an overrated band is beyond the sane person.
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06.07.2018 - 11:31
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by Lanthros on 05.07.2018 at 17:11

Point of fact, i listened to them in the 90s too. Even then they stood out from the crowd. They do NOT stand out now. Also my comparison is based on bands from that time period. This album could have come from any of them. Could be dark throne, could be mayhem, could be dark funeral.


Yes, because the crowd is infinitely larger. And they play what they used to play. I don't think this album could bemistaken for Darkthrone or Mayhem, or Dark Funeral. It has signature Immortal sound. If you expected them to break new ground, I can see why you are disappointed. I didn't so I'm not.

Written by Lanthros on 05.07.2018 at 17:11

The point is that they apparently threw away the sound that made them immortal in the first place. For all the statements of "immortal are back to their roots", no. No they arent. They are just reveling in cliche and stereotype now. So yes i CAN blame them for that.


I agree, they are not back to their roots. But I think that they never abandoned those roots.
And yes, if you think otherwise, you can blame them for that. It's your right as a fan.

Written by Lanthros on 05.07.2018 at 17:11

Also, the amount of music ive listened to actually gives me a better foundation for criticism.

Of course it does, I never claimed otherwise.

What I'm trying to say is that this album isn't that different from their previous stuff. It fits well somewhere between Battles, Holocaust, Beasts and Heart of Winter. And it's quite good - I've had it on repeat for a few days now. Some of the songs are truly excellent, especially "Blacker of Worlds".
----
Now loving:
Tribulation - The Lament
Tribulation - Nightbound
Tribulation - Subterranea
Tribulation - The World
Tribulation - Here Be Dragons
Loading...
06.07.2018 - 14:48
ManiacBlasphemer
Black Knight
To listen this band since the 90s and still remain clueless is something I for one would not boast about, but be ashamed. If back to the roots means copy/pasting their old material, then I prefer the music on this album. Those albums were unique, something that cannot be repeated or reinvented.

How the hell you can claim this album is nothing alike their old material is beyond me. From the very first riff of the first song they released from this album one can recognize the Immortal sound and style. The only thing that differs from the old material is the voice, Demonaz trying to imitate Abbath yet he makes a better impersonation of Nattefrost.

Immortal has always been cliche LoL. From the first album. Heck, from the very first fucking demo! They have always remained within the cliches of the genre, unlike many of the old school black metal bands who diversified over time. They are the AC/DC of black metal.

"Also, the amount of music ive listened to actually gives me a better foundation for criticism."

This one is so cheesy, it gives me goosebumps. A feeble authority claim based upon a highly doubtful and hard to prove musical knowledge and experience. Assuming you have the experience, it is just appalling how little you learned from it.
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07.07.2018 - 13:55
Mercurial
Written by ManiacBlasphemer on 06.07.2018 at 14:48

To listen this band since the 90s and still remain clueless is something I for one would not boast about, but be ashamed.

How the hell you can claim this album is nothing alike their old material is beyond me.

Assuming you have the experience, it is just appalling how little you learned from it.

Feigned internet indignation over people not comparing bands quite right is pretty cringe too
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17.07.2018 - 11:10
nikarg
Old Nick
The album is very good, better than what I expected to be honest. However, I am probably one of the few that enjoyed Abbath's debut as much, if not a bit more even.

As for the MSA nominations, this has been an outstanding year for black metal so far and competition is going to be very strong.
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21.07.2018 - 14:25
ANGEL REAPER
Yeah this album sounds like Demonaz, i mean its return to the old Immortal which is nice i think. Its nothing special but far better than All Shall Fall though , yes it falls short of Sons Of Northern Darkness.

But then again SOND was Abbath's child and early Immortal was Demonaz.

So , yeah kinda good record overall.
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