Review: Immortal “War Against All” [Nuclear Blast]

Review: Immortal “War Against All” [Nuclear Blast]

- in Reviews

Get ready for a blast of cold wind, or rather, music that feels like one, the best kind of black metal. This is the kind of brief and simple album that kicks ass.

We’re sure of that with the first and title track, which directly attacks with riffs and screams, and remains relentlessly fast through all of its 3 minutes, including its awesome solo in particular. Does the rest of the album keep the same energy? Absolutely yes. Since it’s the simple, direct, kind of black metal, it could easily become repetitive, but for the most part, it’s not. Each song introduces its own little ideas, and has some kick-ass energy.

Compare, for example, “Thunders of Darkness” and its really heavy riffs with a vaguely menacing and, well, dark undertone and snarly vocals. Or “No Sun”, which is even more sinister. Its first riff is basically the typical black metal riff you’ve already heard a million times, but its echo-like vocals are a more interesting touch. One much more creative sinister track is “Wargod”, with its slower and heavier riffs, and its vocals that sound more like raspy growls (grim vocals?) than high shrieks. I also like how its chorus is almost chanted like an invocation to a war god.

Other tracks also show some creativity and a sense of experimentation. “Return to Cold” (one of the most black metal titles ever) has a somewhat mellower riff and a sense of melody, even some pretty catchy parts, and similarly echo-y, remote vocals. “Nordlandihr” is a seven-minute long instrumental with powerful riffs, that really showcases Demonaz’s guitar work.

The last two songs, “Immortal” and “Blashyrkh My Throne” are in a different category: they’re rather heavy and energetic black metal songs, in other words the best things about Immortal’s music, and they seem to be self-referencing anthems to Immortal. “Immortal”, the song, has lyrics consisting of references to Immortal songs, or at least their favorite themes, before triumphantly claiming “I am a god of the North!”. “Blashyrkh My Throne” is a more complex and ambitious track, fast and sinister at the same time, with eerie melodies and heavy riffs, using Immortal’s favorite themes as well. Those tracks are basically Immortal’s self-referencing, self-empowerment anthems. They’re meant to prove that the band can still survive and be great after all these years, and that they are the masters of black metal. And you’ll believe them.

This is a very well-made album. It has everything that’s good about black metal, and especially about Immortal: it’s cold and eerie, has a lot of energy and creativity. It sounds fun, while managing to be dark and heavy. Most of all, because of all its interesting ideas and the contrast between the songs, or even different parts of one song, it manages to never get repetitive, and always feel fresh, rather than like one black metal album among many others. That’s what makes it such a good album.

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