Immortal - Pure Holocaust
Osmose Productions
Black Metal
8 songs (33:47)
Release year: 1993
Immortal, Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Kyle

From the beginning, Immortal was never wrapped up in the typical Anti-Christian or Satanic Norwegian Black Metal scene. Their lyrics have always been about the wrath of nature (typically the variety featuring blisteringly cold winds), war, or a combination of the two. But how exactly does this help them stand out in the Norwegian BM crowd? To me, the fact that their songs contain no Satanic content actually makes the music all the more intense; Every other Black Metal band may rely on Anti-Christian themes to make their music as vicious as possible, but Immortal use the sheer icy tone of their lyrics to their advantage. Absolutely everything, whether it be the production, Abbath’s raspy shrieks and growls, or the claustrophobic riffs, has an unmistakable frozen quality to it that will chill you to your marrow with every single listen. This is pure, unhindered Immortal; this is Pure Holocaust.

From the very first opening riff of Unsilent Storms In The North Abyss, you know you’re in for a ride. It’s actually rather catchy (are they never?), and at the same time has an air of icy evil that will carry on throughout the entire album. There really are some classic, instantly recognizable riffs here; The first ones that come to mind are the opening charges of The Sun No Longer Rises, As The Eternity Opens, and Storming Through Red Clouds And Holocaustwinds, all of which feature simplistic chord structure yet have unconventional lead guitar riffs in the foreground. These are a bit difficult to make out sometimes when the drums and rhythm guitar are so loud in the mix, but I personally prefer it this way as it gives them a much more ominous, stranded-in-a-blizzard like feel. These moments don’t last very long, though, and before you know it they’re swept away by subzero winds and you delve into the meat of the tracks, which feature tons of effective Black Metal riffs. There’s so many of them that it’s nigh impossible to point out only a few moments; Just pick a track and enjoy the ensuing blast of frozen wind.

At first, Pure Holocaust was quite difficult for me to get into. Not because of the production (which for a Norwegian BM release at the time was perhaps a bit above par), but because the album suffered from one of my biggest musical pet peeves: Most songs start at a certain tempo, guitars plowing and blast-beats blazing, before the drummer realizes that he can’t pound alternately between bass drum and snare so fast for so long, and ultimately ends up slowing down drastically after only a few seconds. It took a while for me to overcome my frustration with this, but once I did, it made the album IMMENSELY more enjoyable to listen to. Pure Holocaust is the only album I’ve listened to where this unintentional slow-down is actually a GOOD thing; It’s akin to starting a long trudge through the arctic snow, and though you may start at a fast, determined pace, the freezing cold and relentless winds will eventually slow you down. I always keep in mind when listening to Pure Holocaust, as it does much to help the album seem more like a Black Metal masterpiece rather than a case of poor musicianship.

Except for maybe the excellent follow-up to this album, Battles In The North, Pure Holocaust is the best pre-At The Heart Of Winter Immortal album. Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism may have been their debut, but PH forever solidified the band’s status as one of the more original and promising bands of the second wave of Norwegian BM. This is where Immortal proved that they are indeed the true Blizzard Beasts, and the one and only Sons Of Northern Darkness (Read the lyrics of Storming Through Red Clouds And Holocaustwinds if you need proof). An absolute most-own for anyone who calls themselves a true Immortal fan! This is the first major step in Immortal’s career, and as Abbath proclaims in the title track: The Holocaust has just begun!

Killing Songs :
All; It is a Classic, afterall!
Kyle quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Immortal that we have reviewed:
Immortal - Northern Chaos Gods reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Immortal - Damned in Black reviewed by Jared and quoted 87 / 100
Immortal - Battles in the North reviewed by Tyler and quoted 83 / 100
Immortal - All Shall Fall reviewed by James and quoted 89 / 100
Immortal - Blizzard Beasts reviewed by Kyle and quoted 86 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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