Rating:
7.5
Immortal - At The Heart Of Winter
1999


01. Withstand The Fall Of Time
02. Solarfall
03. Tragedies Blows At Horizon
04. Where Light And Dark Don't Differ
05. At The Heart Of Winter
06. Years Of Silent Sorrow


Have you ever heard of a black metal fan who doesn't like (or at least, admits to not liking) Immortal? Well, I happen to be one of those fans. I was never able to really like Immortal's mixture of thrash and black metal, which was present even on their earliest albums (although, far less than now) despite them being constantly labelled as pure black. Sure, there had always been a song or two that once entered my head, couldn't get out of there for days. But, in the overall, they are not really interesting to me. And here it is, their perhaps most highly praised release, At The Heart of Winter. I was so anxious to hear it. "Who knows, maybe it will change my opinion about them", I thought. Well, it most certainly didn't.

Not only did Immortal not get more "black" with this release, but instead, they even made it their most thrashy and technical release up to date. No filthy production, no tremolo picking, no blast beats... Yes, this is not a black metal release, this is a slightly blackened thrash album. Now, you might be thinking why the heck I am making such a big deal about the genre of the album. "If it sounds good, who the hell cares what genre it is?!", right? Perhaps so, but that is the easiest and most elaborate way for me to explain what kind of music it is. You see, I think that the very reason of Immortal being so popular is the very reason I don't like them. That strange mixture of black and thrash. Well, in this album the thrash factor is taken to a really high level. The album is mostly based around a mid tempo, with Abbath's usual vocal style somewhere on the line between shrieks and growls, and catchy, powerful guitar riffs. Or at least, that's what they should have been like.

Unfortunately, I have to say that this part of the album has been screwed. Immortal took a wrong turn somewhere, and in their attempt to make a memorable, catchy, yet heavy album, they just made one that mostly feels like a dragged, uninspired mess. I'm sorry, I know how much people like this thing, but I can't escape the feeling that the idea of how this album should have sounded like was realized in a poor way. Some songs are undeniably good. "Solarfall" is the best on the album, and if they had done the rest like they did that one, it would have been excellent. Sadly, the vast majority is just so without emotions, without feeling, so... generic. To prove my point better, let us compare my loved "Solarfall" to, say, "Years of Silent Sorrow". The beginning riff on the first of the compared is so damn catchy, so memorable, powerful, full of energy. It just makes you want to stand up, and get to jumping and head-banging. The second one is just full of riffs that will bore you. It neither has the catchiness and energy a thrash metal song should, nor the cold, evil, morbid atmosphere a black metal song should. Somewhat simplistic notes repeated over and over again that just go over your head is something unforgivable in a release by Immortal. The same goes for the vast majority of tracks, with some exceptions, of course.

This review has been hard for me. I was constantly striving to see just what is so good about this album, even from a standpoint of an Immortal fan. I failed. I might even go as far as calling it the weakest effort of the band. Even though I might not like what Immortal does, they deserve credit for successfully blending the two mentioned genres, and making a practically a new one. Not here. Were it not for Abbath's characteristic vocals, and that usual way the group tune their guitars, I would have sworn this was not their release. You might think I'm being too harsh. Well, I sure am. If this really wasn't a release of the one Immortal, the album would have been good, maybe even very good. But Immortal proved that they can and must do so much better than this.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 5
Originality: 9
Production: 8


Band profile: Immortal
Album: At The Heart Of Winter


 


written by Slayer666 | 28.09.2009


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Guest review by
wormdrink414

Rating:
9.8
I'm afraid I lack the linguistic resources to clearly explain what makes the album the work of genius that it is, so I will be brief and remain vague. Luckily there is very little that needs to be written about this album. It has been around for a decade and has developed a sufficient following to articulate its greatness. Any fan of black metal, or indeed metal in general, should find this album, buy it or steal it, and worship it.

Read more ››
published 05.10.2009 | Comments (25)



Comments page 2 of 2

‹‹ Back to the Reviews Pages: 1 [2]
Comments: 57  
Users visited: 183  
Search this topic:  


Troy Killjoy - 08.08.2011 at 03:29  
The problem with writing a review of a black metal album and calling it thrash is that you have to focus so much of your review on driving the point home that this is not a black metal album, but a thrash metal album. And then you're left with a review that doesn't tell us anything aside from:

a) you like black metal, but never really liked Immortal
b) this is not a black metal album, but a thrash metal album
c) you don't like this album
Mr. Doctor - 20.08.2011 at 15:00  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 08.08.2011 at 03:29

The problem with writing a review of a black metal album and calling it thrash is that you have to focus so much of your review on driving the point home that this is not a black metal album, but a thrash metal album. And then you're left with a review that doesn't tell us anything aside from:
a) you like black metal, but never really liked Immortal
b) this is not a black metal album, but a thrash metal album
c) you don't like this album


Exactly, that is actually my main problem with this review. It's useless due to its content. One of the most MA-style reviews we have around here which is sort of sad because I read some other reviews by him that aren't bad at all.
God Buster 鬼 - 24.04.2014 at 18:21  
What a good review !
I respect everyone including idiots !
Daniell - 25.04.2014 at 09:47  
This review is a total mess. The author seems to have no idea about what he wants to say most of the time. Opinions and tastes aside, this review is an example of how not to review music.

First this:

Quote:
Have you ever heard of a black metal fan who doesn't like (or at least, admits to not liking) Immortal? Well, I happen to be one of those fans. I was never able to really like Immortal's mixture of thrash and black metal,


And then this:

Quote:
If this really wasn't a release of the one Immortal, the album would have been good, maybe even very good. But Immortal proved that they can and must do so much better than this.


So he does not like Immmortal, but admits that this would be a good release if it was released by another band. So is it a good release or isn't it?

On top of all that, the rating is much higher than the tone of the review suggests. Total mess...
Paw!! - 15.05.2014 at 10:33  
Low taste & valid reasons.
Deadmeat - 20.05.2014 at 00:05  
I also never found the great about this album. i also cannot say that this is more black than thrash.... surelly it is unique and well produced but i cannot get the hype around it...
qlacs - 24.08.2014 at 11:33  
Spices and specks, after about 10 years first hearing this album I still think it's outstanding. The review actually hit a point, Immortal has a thrash edge that no other black metal band has, I guess this is the only reason I favor them the most

Advertise on Metal Storm
Pages: 1 [2]


Login or register to post here.



Similar topics

Forum Topic Similarity Started
Reviews Immortal - At The Heart Of Winter 8.5 05.10.2009 by thesabbathfan
Albums Immortal - At The Heart Of Winter 7.5 27.01.2011 by JÄY
News Immortal - Abbath Debuts New Project At Hole In The Sky Fest 4.5 27.08.2006 by
Reviews Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II - Dialogue With The Stars 4.5 10.10.2011 by The Galactican
Reviews Blind Guardian - Imaginations From The Other Side 4.5 19.01.2009 by Elio



Hits total: 6217 | This month: 52