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Immortal - At The Heart Of Winter



9 | 1114 votes |
Release date: 22 February 1999
Style: Black metal

Owners:

1342 have it
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01. Withstand The Fall Of Time
02. Solarfall
03. Tragedies Blows At Horizon
04. Where Dark And Light Don't Differ
05. At The Heart Of Winter
06. Years Of Silent Sorrow

Top 20 albums of 1999: 3
Top 200 albums of all time: 26

Additional info
Recorded in the "Abyss" studios, Sweden during november 1998.

Guest review by
Slayer666
Rating:
7.5
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.

Read more ››
published 28.09.2009 | Comments (63)

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 (27)

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Comments: 70   Visited by: 2013 users
13.08.2023 - 15:58
Rating: 10
DarkWingedSoul

The vinyl has arrived...
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26.08.2023 - 07:33
24emd
Theory Snob
Wintery black metal. In theory, I should adore this. Unfortunately, in reality, I don't at all.
----
"I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense." - Proverbs 30:2
"Music? Well, it's just entertainment, folks!" - Devin Townsend

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26.08.2023 - 08:20
Rating: 10
AndyMetalFreak
A Nice Guy
Written by 24emd on 26.08.2023 at 07:33

Wintery black metal. In theory, I should adore this. Unfortunately, in reality, I don't at all.

Such a shame, but I completely understand it's not an album for everyone. This is one of my favorite releases of all time in metal, mainly due to the strong nostalgic effect I have towards it. It's one of the very first black metal albums I was introduced to (mainly because of the interesting album cover, I admit) along with Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, and I still remember being blown away by the riffs and guitar tone for the first time, and the shivers I got from the nasty cold wintery soundscapes, and lyrics from the exceedingly harsh vocals.

I still regularly go back to this album once the cold winter arrives, it seems to fit perfectly for when I'm experiencing freezing cold miserable weather it makes me feel a whole lot better
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26.08.2023 - 08:27
24emd
Theory Snob
Written by AndyMetalFreak on 26.08.2023 at 08:20

Written by 24emd on 26.08.2023 at 07:33

Wintery black metal. In theory, I should adore this. Unfortunately, in reality, I don't at all.

Such a shame, but I completely understand it's not an album for everyone. This is one of my favorite releases of all time in metal, mainly due to the strong nostalgic effect I have towards it. It's one of the very first black metal albums I was introduced to (mainly because of the interesting album cover, I admit) along with Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, and I still remember being blown away by the riffs and guitar tone for the first time, and the shivers I got from the nasty cold wintery soundscapes, and lyrics from the exceedingly harsh vocals.

I still regularly go back to this album once the cold winter arrives, it seems to fit perfectly for when I'm experiencing freezing cold miserable weather it makes me feel a whole lot better

Fair enough. I know exactly what you mean, I have albums like that of my own. Nothing better than a nostalgic pick-me-up album

I'm not sure what wave of BM this is, but I usually don't find myself enjoying the 90's stuff, so I don't know what I was expecting

Glad it's an important album to others though.
----
"I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense." - Proverbs 30:2
"Music? Well, it's just entertainment, folks!" - Devin Townsend

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26.08.2023 - 08:40
Rating: 10
AndyMetalFreak
A Nice Guy
Written by 24emd on 26.08.2023 at 08:27

Fair enough. I know exactly what you mean, I have albums like that of my own. Nothing better than a nostalgic pick-me-up album

I'm not sure what wave of BM this is, but I usually don't find myself enjoying the 90's stuff, so I don't know what I was expecting

Glad it's an important album to others though.

It's classed as the 2nd (Norwegian) wave (just about I think?) but their style is a hell of a lot more melodic than most Norwegian black metal acts around that time, such as Darkthrone for instance, they're a very hit and miss band, and I really couldn't get into them at first but their style eventually grew on me slightly over time.
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26.08.2023 - 08:40
Rating: 5
Roman Doez
Hallucigenia
Written by 24emd on 26.08.2023 at 07:33

Wintery black metal. In theory, I should adore this. Unfortunately, in reality, I don't at all.

Nice to see I'm not alone
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26.08.2023 - 08:48
24emd
Theory Snob
Written by AndyMetalFreak on 26.08.2023 at 08:40

It's classed as the 2nd (Norwegian) wave (just about I think?) but their style is a hell of a lot more melodic than most Norwegian black metal acts around that time, such as Darkthrone for instance, they're a very hit and miss band, and I really couldn't get into them at first but their style eventually grew on me slightly over time.

Yeah I'd still rank Immortal above Darkthrone. I might look into Immortal's albums a bit more, while I didn't like their latest, there is probably something in there I might enjoy.
----
"I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense." - Proverbs 30:2
"Music? Well, it's just entertainment, folks!" - Devin Townsend

Best 2024 Albums
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26.08.2023 - 08:56
Rating: 10
AndyMetalFreak
A Nice Guy
Written by 24emd on 26.08.2023 at 08:48

Yeah I'd still rank Immortal above Darkthrone. I might look into Immortal's albums a bit more, while I didn't like their latest, there is probably something in there I might enjoy.

This, along with Sons Of Northern Darkness are my personal favorite Immortal albums, their earlier stuff like Battles Of The North and Pure Holocaust were more raw and harsher sounding.
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17.11.2023 - 20:18
Rating: 9
miekka18

Sounds like winter. Perfect black metal
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26.01.2024 - 17:03
Rating: 8
Boxcar Willy
yr a kook
Drumming is fantastic in this album. Really groovy for what it is.
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14:22 - Marcel Hubregtse
I do your mum

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