Immortal - Northern Chaos Gods
Nuclear Blast
Black Metal
8 songs (42:14)
Release year: 2018
Immortal, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

After the great northern schism of 2015, when Abbath split from Horgh and Demonaz and then subsequently went solo, many wondered if the Immortal institution itself would limp on. After all, a drummer and a guitarist who couldn't play any more thanks to tendonitis aren't exactly great building blocks for a band. Yet after an operation in 2014 he recovered his skills, and together with Horgh and session bassist par excellence Peter Tagtgren, Immortal's ninth album is finally here, nearly a decade after 2009's All Shall Fall. And do they still have it? Of course they do, with a passion and musical violence not felt since the last album Demonaz played on, 1997's Blizzard Beasts. Abbath's croak is missed, but Demonaz has a manic shriek equally effective, and with his almost grinding riffs and Horgh's typically chaotic battery, the scene is set well for another hefty dose of northern darkness.

We may have forgotten thanks to time, but Immortal used to be a violent, very heavy band, and Northern Chaos Gods is a very effective reminder of this, heavier and darker than All Shall Fall, and definitely rawer. Those frost-bitten riffs have been sorely missed from Demonaz's guitar, and when placed alongside atmospheric little melodic trills (as on the epic Gates to Blashrykh) form the backbone of a formula that's not at all dated-sounding despite being essentially frozen in ice since 1997. Into Battle Ride is the closest thing to a One By One here, a simpler style making for a more instantaneous catchiness, but there's not really any attempt at a single type song, just a split between more epic and more fast, violent styles. Some even manage both, like Grim and Dark's speedy pounding building up into a glorious gallop towards the end, complete with over-the-top guitar solo. Comfort zone it may be, but Immortal sound utterly like the legend that their name once inspired, rarely as energised and full of vim; epic tracks like Where Mountains Rise and nine-minute finale Mighty Ravendark still rattle along breathlessly and full of enthusiasm.

You can tell that Demonaz relishes his time at the front of the band, as this is an intense and powerful album, almost overwhelming on initial listens and yes, sure, a little samey-sounding, but repeated listens are a good reminder that a band who have been in the game since 1991 are not only excellent at writing solid second-wave tunes, but they still have a lot to offer the genre as a whole. There's a solid vein of darkness running all the way through from early Bathory to this, from the Quorton-esque throat-scraping screech to the majestic feeling built into the music as a core ingredient, and as big names from the original nineties era like Ihsahn float away into the ether, it's great to be reminded of what the fuss about this 'black' metal is all about once again. Immortal are back; long may they remain with us.

Killing Songs :
Northern Chaos Gods, Gates to Blashrykh, Grim and Dark, Mighty Ravendark
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Immortal that we have reviewed:
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 - 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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