- Northern Chaos Gods
- Black metal
Immortal have been around for ages and back in the day had a lot of influence on controversial acts like Mayhem and Burzum, their peers at the time. Immortal leaned more towards musicianship over controversy and remained detached from all the craziness that went down in the scene of that era. They have had their own controversies within the band with legal issues regarding which members own the rights to the Immortal trademark. This album is the result of an obligation to Nuclear Blast to release a record and apparently “various musicians” helped in the completion of it. Despite this conflict they managed to put out another high-quality LP to add to an impressive discography.
Northern Chaos Gods rejects the slower more progressive approach that has become the standard for a lot of modern black metal. Instead Immortal have favored a straight forward noisy sound with a few quiet transitions. It’s a traditional black metal album but with high production value and some modern rhythms. The highlight is the drumming which is always audible above the soundscape of the everlasting riffs and vocals. The rest of the instruments drown themselves out a bit among the composition until key moments of the songs. They do great work with their transitions however, in which the guitars will come in strong, stomping all over the short lasting soft transitions. There’s also times where you can hear an unexpected hook or two which says to me that everything on this record is very intentional.
There’s no real variation on the formula here. It’s grim, it’s dark – it’s black metal. Innovation isn’t as much of a requirement for such a long-standing band who helped in the development of the sound. The expert delivery is enough. Just look at the discography and you can see they are well received whenever they put out an LP.
It’s theoretically heavy but the style doesn’t ‘pop’ like a lot of other releases this year. Like I said before, it’s more of a gain heavy soundscape. It has its moments where riffs kick in that are banging and make the album worth a listen. It’s still a mile heavier than the run of the mill symphonic/atmosphere black metal bands.
Overall it is a worthy release from an old hand.