The Pitch: The first of the Norwegian black metal legends' albums to not feature longtime frontman Abbath. "With rabid furore, teeth-baring aggression and an eerie cold that crawls deep into the very bones of the listener after only a few unrelenting seconds, Immortal have erected a new superior kingdom of frost on top of their existing legacy." Via Nuclear Blast.
What I Like: Immortal without Abbath? What's next...Emperor without Ihsahn? Enslaved without Grutle? And yet here we are. The usual diehards are excited for the return of their black metal darlings, but everyone wants to know...can they pull it off? In this reviewer's humble opinion, yes they can. With Northern Chaos Gods they prove that Immortal has always been more about the riff than their beloved badger-faced mascot. The question still remains whether the live shows will sport the same feel, but isolating the music there is almost no difference between this and past outings (somewhat to a fault, but positives first). The guitars are as thrashy and icy as ever, still calling all the way back to the band's defining years of the 2nd wave. This album could have easily come out between At The Heart Of Winter and Damned In Black. Everything an Immortal fan needs is on display: aggressive hooks, raging blastbeats, and hoarse black metal snarls that only differ marginally from Abbath's usual croak. Most importantly, I can almost see my breath just from listening.
Critiques: Were the Immortal name not attached to it, would I even be paying attention? I'm not sure. But if I seperate my fandom from the album itself, I have to admit that this is pretty cookie-cutter stuff. With so many new bands taking black metal to exciting new places, it's hard to get overly enthused about a retread of old ideas, no matter how well done they may be.
The Verdict: Northern Chaos Gods...is an Immortal album. Unquestionably. If your primary concern is whether this crew could press forth without Abbath, the answer is resoundingly yes. The band still sports the sound and spirit that have made them a pillar of the black metal community for decades. But within the larger scope of the genre as a whole? I'm relatively unimpressed. In short: enjoyable, but unremarkable.
Flight's Fav's: Gates To Blashyrkh, Mighty Ravendark, Called To Ice
- Review by FlightOfIcarus
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