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If Dauði Baldrs was recorded with proper instruments and facility, it would probably sound similar to Immortal Pride. This is Graveland’s fourth album. This feels much, much more like an EP though. Its length runs about fifty and half minutes but we all know the difference between a full album and an EP has sometimes less to do with the length than it does the content. Often times, the purpose of an extended play is to introduce something that is a little different or to point to a new direction in sound. The case here being that this record serves as a middle ground between Rob Darken’s older material and his more epic pagan/Viking excursions.
Immortal Pride has two terrific melodic black metal songs wrapped around by two symphonic epic pieces that are good if not entirely spectacular. Truth be told, this album lacks a bit of the vigor and vitriol of Thousand Swords. But Darken’s ambition of venomous grandeur is very apparent here. All this of course will remind you of Bathory. It’s surprising that Immortal Pride goes somewhat overlooked among the Graveland discography(though that might have much ado about the limited copies as there is no re-issue of the album that I am aware of). It’s one of the richest sounding releases that Rob Darken has put forth. Wagnerian pathos and heroic remembrance for heathen sacrifice is what the music here embodies. Long ago, those lands belonged to them and Graveland is here to commemorate that fact with sterling conviction.
I’ve always liked the drumming done on (most) Graveland records. They’re played and presented on Immortal Pride with heave and might giving it period detail. The beats rightfully dominate Sons of Fire/Servants of War. I can’t think of another black metal album where the drums so enriched the atmosphere of layered songs. I will go as so far to say that in this department, Graveland does it better than Emperor. I also notice that transitions are more fluid this way when the complexity is rolled back. I like how the guitar riffs are given more of a voice in running the song even if a couple mistakes are more exposed.
You should have no worries about the production sound this time around. Immortal Pride sounds great. The band had a few more bucks available to sink into this record. I can’t imagine it sounding any better or any worse. This album is a welcome addition to what Darken accomplished before and I consider myself one of the privileged few to own a copy of this very hard to get Graveland release. If you are looking for Immortal Pride, I suggest you grab it and keep it among your best black/Viking metal albums.