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For me, the disappointment of 2002 was when it turned out that the Immortal concert in Hungary had been cancelled. I was young so I didn't have the opportunity to see them elsewhere, and as a fan, it was a shock to me. And what's worse, later they decided to split-up. Although, Abbath established his new band 'I' which I also like, but that's not the same. For years, I was hoping a reunion and I'm quite sure that I wasn't the only one. And 2 years ago, our prayers had been heard, the band started to work again, they reunited and played on 10 events in the same year. After that they started to write a new strong album to tell the world that Immortal hasn't died, they live and they are as heavy as in the old times. But did they succeed with 'All Shall Fall'? More or less.
If you are familiar with their work, you don't have to listen to the record to notice a huge change. Yes, it's the cover, we can find some really nice artwork here, no trve poses and grim members were featured now which could be a progression. It was also a good sign for what would I hear because they have released only one full-length without featuring the members on its cover, and that was 'At The Heart Of Winter', my all-time favorite black metal album. Beside the cover, the digipak's packaging is also great, but the original CD format also has a fine lookout. The second change is in the music. You can find less fast songs on the CD and only a few seconds of blast beats, which of course, isn't a problem, I just expected more songs written in the old style. Because of the mid-tempo songs and the style of the guitar riffs this record often reminds me to 'I', there are some tracks which could have been easily featured on 'Between Two Worlds'. And there are some elements taken from that project, for instance, when Abbath shouts “All Shall Fall” with the same technique he used in 'I'. Of course, the atmosphere of 'All Shall Fall' is more heavy but not as heavy as any other Immortal album.
So this album is kinda between the old Immortal and 'I,' or if there's anyone who doesn't familiar with that project: it's a softened old Immortal music with some Bathory influences. And when they want to set a heavier or gloomier atmosphere, they follow the path they've already set with the second part of 'Sons Of Northern Dakness' album. So what we here then are epic, grim songs with clean/effected guitar parts but often with medium pace. And with many thrash elements! I know, their riffs were always influenced by thrash but give 'Hordes of War' a listen! It's pure German thrash! Not to mention the opening riff of 'The Rise of Darkness'. And that's all what I can mention as a notable change. The typical guitar riffs, the song structures, the soundscape, so all the trademarks haven't changed a bit in the last 7 years. This makes the album a bit predictable, but if there are bands who don't have to make something unexpected to create a damn good album, then Immortal is definitely one of them. Although, it's not appropriate to say that 'All Shall Fall' is not different from the other Immortal works, because it is. It's just that there are great and perfectly written songs, but nothing outstanding, simply very good. Maybe there is one mentionable song, “The Rise of Darkness”, which is a highlight with its thrash/hard rock feeling, but this direction belongs to I.
All in all, I admit that 'All Shall Fall' is far not their best work, they can do better. But it's definitely among the 3 albums made by Immortal with the best atmosphere, and maybe that's why I got addicted to this record instantly. As I mentioned above, the presence of their trademarks is strong, fortunately, 7 years wasn't enough for them to forget how to write songs. I know that many of the oldschool fans are making complaints about this album's pace, but who cares? Maybe they will be satisfied with the next full-lengths, but for me, it has been already settled that Immortal has been returned!
( Originally written for: http://kronosmortus.hu )