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AT THE HEART OF WINTER
Its an interesting
moment in IMMORTALs career.
They managed to follow
up genre classic PURE HOLOCAUST with another, BATTLES IN THE NORTH. The
move to BLIZZARD BEASTS kept the IMMORTAL spirit of holocaust metal,
despite earning a lot of MORBID ANGEL comparisons from people who proved
little else aside from the fact that they've never heard MORBID ANGEL
(relying on the old all-death-metal-sounds-like-
[insert Florida band here] stand-by in place of actual experience: though
it should be iterated that BLIZZARD BEASTS was not even death metal).
Understandably perlexed by these unwarranted comparisons, IMMORTAL
wanted to make sure the follow-up to BLIZZARD BEASTS wasnt similarly
misjudged. Where to go from there, then? THE HEART OF WINTER, of
course. This is Abbaths show, due to the departure of Demonaz.
IMMORTAL stands as Horgh (drums) and Abbath (everything else). This
time you can audibly hear Horgh thanks in no small part to the Peter Tagtren
production, though this time he has less to annihilate to by way of tempo. AT THE HEART OF WINTER is a blend of DIABOLICAL FULL MOON MYSTICISM,
Blashyrk, and select moments from BLIZZARD BEASTS.
Fall Of Time" opens the latest IMMORTAL with an ambitious
exploration of winter, slow freeze and blistering fury. One of IMMORTALs
finest moments opens AT THE HEART OF WINTER with an ambitious exploration
of winter, slow freeze and blistering fury. Along with closing track "Years
Of Silent Sorrow"; the album is worth having for these songs alone.
The rest are worth their own weight, of course; this is IMMORTAL,
after all. SOLARFALL, WHERE THE DARK AND LIGHT DON'T DIFFER, and the title
track are desolate landscapes more in the vein of "Diabolical",
while "Tradgedies Blows At Horizon" allows for some blasting
moments in its sprawling eight minutes. The album finishes as a 46 minute
excursion into the atmospheric underside of IMMORTAL, the winter
reign after the holocaust blizzard. It is still very much IMMORTAL,
and presents Abbaths ever-increasing songwriting ability as each
track builds farther and farther away before wrapping back around. IMMORTAL
is still the band to throw in the face of fly-by-night fans who think
gothic equals good; winter awaits the true elite.
This review copyright 1999 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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