“Northern Chaos Gods”

By Dr. Abner Mality

When an iconic member leaves a long running band, that band is tested like never before. Abbath was such an integral part of Immortal that it’s very hard to imagine the band without him (and I’m sure some will never be able to make that leap). So here is the first Immortal sans Abbath. Does Immortal still exist or will they become a shadow of themselves?

Demonaz has returned to the fold and responded to the challenge magnificently. This is no time for experimentation or changing the template. It’s time to deliver what Immortal fans expect and deserve. They get all that and more with “Northern Chaos Gods”. This brings a cold rawness back to the band that they’ve been missing for many years and yet it remains true to the huge epic sound they charted on “At The Heart of Winter” and “Son of Northern Darkness”. This rips right away with the furious frozen blast of the title track. This gets the blood pumping for all true warriors of Blashrykh.  Peter Tagtgren, who also plays bass here, has given the record a pleasing raw buzzsaw sound. The feelings are only intensified with “Into Battle Ride”, which is nothing less than a classic.

From there, Immortal traverses the glacial plains of their special variety of black metal. The short but extremely potent “Blacker of Worlds” is another standout, but in contrast with that is the nine minutes plus “Mighty Ravendark”,  an epic if I ever heard one. That song, as well as “Gates to Blashrykh” and “When Mountains Rise” begins with the quavery and lyrical tones the band peppered their last few albums with before lurching into mighty riffs. “Called To Ice” is a defining track for the band….I’ve never heard better from them!

One thing that I must point out is that Demonaz’s vocals have a “typical” black metal sound. This is one area where Abbath will always have supremacy, as his unique croaking tones will be unsurpassed. But the roars of Demonaz are no detriment here.

I am blown away by the quality of this album. Under the most difficult circumstances, Immortal has created one of their best efforts, one that will stand the tests of time. Don’t miss it!