Thursday, July 26, 2012
Immortal - Battles In The North
By 1995, Immortal had already gained a reputation for being one of the very few "brutal" Norweigan black metal bands (especially after their second album, Pure Holocaust) and for making the most ridiculous videos ever. Anyone who had seen their video for "The Call of the Wintermoon" and managed to keep a straight face deserves a prize. 1995 saw their third release "Battles in the North" and holy shit! What a fucking great album this was and is. Right from the first second, the songs just punch you in the face with a boulder of sound and intensity that just wasn't around back then. A lot of people bitched and got their panties in a bunch about this album being nothing but noise and speed for speed's sake, but it is so much more than that. Hellhammer's drumming is flawless and there is a structure and rhythm to the songs, despite the pantings of the naysayers who probably wanted keyboards and fluffy shirts. The title song is one of the highlights on this album, but the closing "Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)" is the true gem. Things get slowed down a tad, but the intensity remains. There's an acoustic interlude towards the end that lures the listener in before hitting you with one last hyperspeed jolt. By far, their best album to date. Alas, Immortal have never been able to overcome their tendency to make hilariously terrible music videos and I hope that never changes.