IMMORTAL - War Against All

June 4, 2023, 4 months ago

(Nuclear Blast)

Nick Balazs

Rating: 8.5

review black death immortal

IMMORTAL - War Against All

While the sun starts taking hold of the summer months, one man charges ahead with an icy reality check in the form of Immortal. After more legal disputes following 2018’s Northern Chaos Gods, Demonaz emerged from the rubble as the solitary figure taking the frostbitten throne. 5 years later and War Against All shows this blizzard beast still rages.

Taking cues from past efforts and a beefier, yet still cold production effort – Demonaz roars forth with cackled vocals of a murderous toad; he lacks the charisma of Abbath, but his harsh characteristics mesh with the music. With Enslaved’s Ice Dale on bass and additional guitars and Gaahl’s Wyrd’s drummer Kevin Kvåle on as session musicians, War Against All mashes the bitter frost of blast-beat induced black metal and the epic blackened heavy metal of Sons Of Northern Darkness.

“Wargod” radiates the latter with that fist-pumping, sublime mid-tempo groove that is basically arena black metal. The title tracks blasts the opening of the record with Demonaz on the warpath and following cut “Thunders Of Darkness” utilizes intriguing bass lines and continues an avalanche of punishment with hammering rhythms and rapid guitars. “No Sun” crushes with ferocious, dissonant guitars – Immortal really hitting their hasty groove on this one.

Light experimentation appears in the battle and forging of “Return To Cold” with the use of light synth work for some added pizazz, but the main riff is further proof of how much you can gain with simple, but effective guitar work. Another outlier is the 7-minute instrumental “Nordlandihr” which plays on a triumphant melody on different tempos and can be summed up as blackened power metal.

After 30 years, Immortal finally has a self-titled song and it lives up to expectations packing a 4-minute punch of speed, blast-beats, and oppressive, and epic riffing. Love the grim lines and Demonaz’s raging delivery of “I am Immortal, my spirit of ice; my blood is frozen, I dwell in the cold.” Closer “Blashyrkh My Throne” is the huge almost-6 minute closer that has elements used in At The Heart Of Winter and the formula still succeeds.

There’s much to love here if you’re an Immortal fan. It’s doing what they do best, familiarity, but fresh without sounding like a caricature of past albums. The 38 minutes fly by and wouldn’t have minded it being longer. Demonaz was definitely motivated and the lone of son of northern darkness has wreaked havoc with grim, wintry black metal.

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