IMMORTAL - Northern Chaos Gods
Release date July 6/18 (Nuclear Blast)
There's no question in this metal head's mind that 2018 is quickly turning out to be the year of black metal. The list of top shelf releases from the blackened hordes is indeed impressive - Marduk, Nachash, Grave Spirit, Funeral Winds, Goatworhip, Satan My Master, Filii Nigrantium Infernalium and Nachtjagd have all stepped up with killer releases in the first 6 months of the year. Now we can add Immortal to that impressive list.
The big news, of course, is this being Immortal's first release without main man Abbath being involved. Demonaz returns to active duty (having retired from playing guitar in 1997 due to tendinitis issues) taking over the guitarist and vocal roles from Abbath. Horgh maintains the drum stool, while Peter Tagtgren supplies session bass duties here.
Gotta say that Demonaz does a great job making people forget Abbath's absence, providing great guitar work and gargle vocals not far removed from the former. Tagtgren also slides in well, providing high speed, blubbering bass that fits the band like a glove.
Upon initial listen, it's obvious that Northern Chaos Gods is something of a return to the band's heavy roots. However, upon subsequent spins, the subtle catchiness and epic-ness of their later albums also shines through. In fact, you can find elements from their debut Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism, to their At The Heart Of Winter opus, right through to their last album, All Shall Fall. All eras are represented.
The other thing that stands out is the amazing quality of material from the blasting opening title track to the epic 'Mighty Ravendark' conclusion. All tracks are worthy additions to the Immortal cannon. How they will be able to decide which tracks to include on their upcoming tour set list is beyond me. Love 'em all.
A must-have for all black metal fanatics. A triumph.