Immortal - Damned in Black
Osmose Productions
Black/Thrash Metal
7 songs (36'43'')
Release year: 2000
Immortal, Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Jared
Archive review

Damned in Black seems to be one of the albums from the legendary Immortal that renders itself non-existent to a lot of metal heads. Keeping in mind that many people make the jump from the classic, At the Heart of Winter to the masterful Sons of Northern Darkness without even taking into account what Damned in Black had to offer. Of course At the Heart of Winter would be an extremely difficult album to have a follow up to, but it still has that epic Immortal feel to it. The theme, as portrayed by the album cover, doesn’t really reflect the “winter black metal” approach Immortal has done in the past, but takes up a little bit more of a darker setting. With only a gap of one year between their great classic, this album feels a bit rushed but it is still a great Immortal album nonetheless.

This album is more predominately thrash than most of their other albums. It is a sound that would be fine-tuned on Sons of Northern Darkness only two years later. There’s still that amazing black metal euphoria in each song, but their ideas and style of playing on this record would definitely branch with sheer perfection on Sons of Northern Darkness. I usually call Damned in Black a prelude to greatness, but it kind of sounds silly to say that after only giving us a true classic only a year before.

As stated earlier, this album’s guitar and bass work is more thrash. At times it can sound a bit messy and overdone when Abbath dishes out a technical lead or rhythm, but it sounds great. The drumming also feels the same along the lines of how I described the guitars. It’s sporadic, chaotic, and has some pretty intense double bass moments. Of course there are blast beats, but what black metal record would be complete without those parts? Blast beating by Immortal always is a treat to listen to, but this album has plenty of softer and slower parts which bring a catchiness feeling to the music. On the track My Dimension there’s a moment where it is just an easy beat accompanied with an intrusively dark melody. Most will think the part is too boring, but I found these moments the most pleasing. I really liked the band’s ability to slow things down and still able deliver a dark atmospheric feeling. The Darkness that Embrace Me, my favorite track, has a similar moment around the two minute mark. This time it has a bit heavier sound that is simple but literally impossible for me not to make the effort to damage some of the muscles in my neck.

As much as I respect this band over the years, I’ve definitely come to respect Abbath as one of my all-time favorite musicians. I remember watching a guitar lesson by the great man himself and just marveled at watching him play some of his most famous riffs. Most of the examples he played were tracks off the grandiose At the Heart of Winter. He seems to have a lot of fun doing what he loves best, something I like to see artists express when they play and talk to fans and critics alike.

People might feel a bit disappointed with this album after coming off the energy that At the Heart of Winter gave, but I never felt such feelings towards this album. If you had the nerve to skip over this and go straight to Sons of Northern Darkness, do yourself a favor and go back and revisit Damned in Black if you haven’t already. But also take the time to feel shame with yourself for being part of the people who skipped over this fantastic record. It is a great ride from start to finish.

Killing Songs :
Wrath from Above, Against the Tide, My Dimension, The Darkness that Embrace Me
Jared quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Immortal that we have reviewed:
Immortal - Northern Chaos Gods reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 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 - Pure Holocaust reviewed by Kyle and quoted CLASSIC
Immortal - Blizzard Beasts reviewed by Kyle and quoted 86 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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