Review by Tammy Lomax for MPM
Norwegian black metal band Immortal have had a slight challenge by ensuring they create something of value since frontman Abbath Doom Occulta vacated and found success going solo.
The pressure has been on big time for guitarist Demonaz Doom Occulta but the delivery of their new album War Against All is a vast victory, he has nailed this totally.
Produced and recorded by the team of Arve Isdal at Conclave and Earshot Studio’s in Bergen, War Against All was mastered by Iver Sandøy at Solslottet and is Immortal’s 10th studio album. Released via Nuclear Blast Records, the album’s cover artwork was done by the Swedish artist Mattias Frisk.
If you are a fan of Immortal then you will wholeheartedly treasure this release, an authentic Immortal has resurfaced and I’m optimistic it’s for the long haul.
The title track launches the album into a plummeting chaos within seconds. It is frantically fast and holds true to that original rooted Immortal sound from many moons ago, it’s nostalgia on a plate. This was the first track written and is inspired by the riffs from the 1994 album, “Battles Of The North”
“Thunders Of Darkness” is just as assaulting and the pace of the drums is hammering you continually which follows perfectly after the album opener. 2/3rds in and you’re met with a monstrous groove and the riffing is monumental. Those brutal paces slip back and forth like melted butter and you are catapulted from pillar to post, it’s wonderful.
“Wargod” steadily eases things for a moment and you can really distinguish the bass in this track. Capturing similar feelings from the 1986 album Celtic Frost, the opening riffs develop into accelerating intensity and tempo. When Demonaz moved to the mountains in 2019, he went through some old material and unused lyrics and “Wargod” was one of them.
“No Sun” holds an equal consistent pace and vibe as “Wargod” but it’s track “Nordlandihr” that stands out from the crowd.
Purely instrumental, “Nordlandihr” is a whopping 7 minutes long and really beefs the album out. The guitars weave you into emotions that feel powerful and uplifting, like you can take on the whole world regardless of your inner battles. The atmosphere in its entirety feels like that true black metal style which is rare to hear in this modern age and in all honesty, it’s a breath of fresh air. The sections gradually build as the layering of the guitars and bass is amplified, it’s massively moving.
The following track “Immortal” feels like a statement, a statement and a realisation that no matter what arises, Immortal will forever be immortal.
Track “Blashyrkh My Throne” draws the curtains and closes the album.
The music production overall feels balanced and not overly manipulated in the slightest. The sound structures have been captured to only provide and deliver that raw, loyal rooted black metal music. Nothing sounds too loud or overbearing, it’s as simple as it gets but the distribution of it all provides maximum effect.
It’s fair to say considering it’s only 8 tracks, War Against All is packed with passion, it’s not too much nor too little, just the right amount of face belting music. The guitar layering and vocals does most of the talking and I feel it is a strong contender for one of the best black metal album releases thus far for 2023.
1. War Against All
2. Thunders Of Darkness
4. No sun
5. Return To Cold
8. Blashyrkh My Throne
The new IMMORTAL album “War Against All” is out now! Listen/ order: https://immortal.bfan.link/waalp.fbi