I couldn’t quite believe my ears hearing the title track when it dropped a month or two back.
It was (and is) absolutely scintillating.
That Demonaz could return Immortal to the style of its best years, Abbath nowhere in sight, with a track played at 100mph and harder than even the new Marduk: well, it takes some doing.
So credit where its due. No matter what, he hasn’t compromised.
Except that a few scorchingly fast tracks aside, this is not an album of great songs.
In fact as far as memorable, meaningful or even good riffs go – I’m afraid to say this album’s a bit of a let down.
It’s a massive recycle job, squeezing the ‘Blashrykh’ classic till the pips squeak for every last drip of theme and riffing they can get out of it.
Which is a piss poor way to operate.
I mean, all the words always were the same on Immortal albums – raven, realm, nebula, winter, all that – but I always put it down to Abbath’s bonkers little inner world.
Stuff on here like ‘Gates To Blashrykh’ just smacks of desperation with its second rate pillaging of the original, and no, I don’t give a fuck if he wrote it in the first place.
It’s like ‘The Unforgiven II’. Who ever asked for that?
And… am I imagining it, or after ‘Gates To Blashrykh’ – in the shittily titled ‘Grim And Dark’ – do the very opening lyrics of the original ‘Blashrykh’ get spun out in their entirety?
Let’s check. ‘Far above the raven gate…’
Yes! So what’s that about?
One song after the other ripping off their own glory days?
(Well theirs and other people’s – ‘Into Battle Ride’?)
These are not knowing nods. It’s a wholesale creative deficit.
Yes, it’s initially a heady mix of ‘Battles’ and ‘Sons’ tonally, but after a few spins, the lack of genuinely decently song anywhere starts to grate a bit.
The rhythms are there, the Tatgren production is there – the warmth of which never truly suited Immortal by the way – but it’s an empty, career necessitating album that’s just weak at its core.
The songs pass by – there’s no heart in them, as insanely brilliant as it is to hear Horgh going absolutely nuclear on ‘Blacker Of Worlds’.
The riffs are utterly stock, I regret to say, and this album is a pastiche on a better and more meaningful time. Strip off Horgh’s drums and there is precisely nothing to see here.
And they know it ,because that’s exactly why it sounds like it does.
At least Marduk are still angry, still trying.
2.2 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 18/07/18