All the black metal faithful are rejoicing with the release of Northern Chaos Gods, the first new studio album from the legendary Immortal in nine years. By now, most have probably heard of the legal goings on between Abbath, Demonaz, and Horgh, resulting in Abbath leaving the band to pursue his own self-titled group and the others keeping the Immortal name and continuing to run with it. What surprised many is Demonaz deciding to once again sling his guitar (1997's Blizzard Beasts was the last Immortal album he played on) and step up to the microphone for the first time ever in the history of the band, and upon the very first listen of Northern Chaos Gods, you'll instantly know it was the right decision. Along with Peter Tagtgren adding bass as well as producing the album, Demonaz & Horgh have put together an Immortal album that perhaps might not sit quite as high as At the Heart of Winter, but can easily rub elbows with Blizzard Beasts, Battles in the North, and Sons of Northern Darkness.
From the opening blasts of the title track, you'll be brought back in time to Immortal's first few albums in terms of ferocity, Demonaz' icy cold, razor sharp riffing a thing of beauty slicing over all sorts of acrobatic pounding courtesy of Horgh. Gone are Abbath's toady croaks, replaced with Demonaz' higher pitched screams & rasps, a substitution that works quite well. "Into Battle Ride" pummels with a cavalcade of riffing, while both "Gates to Blashyrkh" and the lethal "Grim and Dark" are ferocious black metal fare chock full of frostbitten Norwegian imagery and riffs from Demonaz that just never let up. The guitarist is at is again on "Called to Ice", another pulverizing track that rages from start to finish, the snarling vocals surging over a boiling maelstrom of guitar thunder and manic rhythms from Horgh & Tagtgren. Things slow down a tad for the epic sounding "Where Mountains Rise", a majestic yet fist pumping anthem that is ultimately quite catchy and another real highlight here. "Blacker of Worlds" is a snarling, venomous tune, and one of the shortest tracks here, leading up to the albums lengthiest, the closer "Mighty Ravendark", and it's here where the full frontal assault of all that is great about Northern Chaos Gods bleeds through, an epic of Norwegian black metal goodness sweeping over snowcapped mountains and frozen forests...just a fabulous song that will hopefully find itself in the bands live setlist if and when they decide to go out on tour.
From the very first listen, Northern Chaos Gods was completely captivating, and it hasn't let up one bit every successive spin since then. It's easily the black metal album of the year, comeback of the year, and will certainly sit very high as an Album of the Year contender when it's all said and done.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1 - Northern Chaos Gods 4:25
2 - Into Battle Ride 3:50
3 - Gates To Blashyrkh 4:38
4 - Grim And Dark 5:27
5 - Called To Ice 5:06
6 - Where Mountains Rise 5:51
7 - Blacker Of Worlds 3:43
8 - Mighty Ravendark 9:14