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When I first heard of Immortal, it was an age of grief do to our heroes’ disbandment. The winds howled on lifelessly without the band running around to give them the bite they once showed off. The band I was formed to fill the gap, pleasuring our more heavy metal side without (presumably) staining the name of Immortal. Between Two Worlds was magnificent, and afterward Immortal themselves regained the strength and willpower to continue in the face of bleaker obstacles; a comeback album was in need.
Here before us, years later to see this decade pass in history, lay All Shall Fall, the album I thought I’d never hear from an Immortal I believed broke up for good. Abbath’s claims of a second Blizzard Beasts was bullshit, but what he and the gang delivered instead hardly disappoints, I assure you. While Sons Of Northern Darkness was indeed a worthy closer, it wasn’t really my favorite. All Shall Fall continues that general thrash / black sound while borrowing from I’s Between Two Worlds, mixed in with some influences from past albums such as At The Heart Of Winter.
The core of the music is undeniably Immortal; the pace, arrangements, epic feeling; it’s as if nothing really changed these past six years of waiting. Production thankfully is much like Between Two Worlds and Sons Of Northern Darkness, so the generally cold but thrashy atmosphere keeps the songs alive and pumped. Every instrument is reckless and barbaric – fearless in the face of an inevitable battle. Mixing is fantastic, with all the instruments respecting one another’s role between fast and mid-paced rhythms. Every song is hard-hitting with enough power to knock your head back, executed mercilessly by Abbath’s deafening riffs. Bass support hounds at every moment, grumbling like avalanches roaring down the slopes in an effort to bury you alive. My subs have no problem making the house rumble, and I have no problem letting Abbath and Apollyon tearing this place apart.
While less blunt with its epic sound in comparison to say Between Two Worlds, All Shall Fall still achieves this spiritually ascending tone, owing much to the honorary Bathory (that’s who I hear). The most awesome of charges hail from the latter half of the album, but it begins with “Norden On Fire” with its delicious opener; the acoustic / clean guitar mesh leading off the song marks an ode to those found on At The Heart Of Winter and even the acoustics on the debut if you want to be that picky. Abbath himself still pays tribute to Popeye, groaning loudly against the backdrops of mountain strongholds linking the horizon. They have this icy tone to them, like amidst a storm of hazing winds and rupturing, melodic leads. They’re not too croaky like on Between Two Worlds, but I wouldn’t be too off saying that he actually brought back a little of the old screaming style with him (circa Pure Holocaust / Battles In The North). Again, its not too blatant, but you’ll notice the traces when they arise - like old ghosts haunting the realm of Blashyrk.
Sustaining all hate with pure hatred of his own is Horgh, and yes, you might want to put the children in another room when hearing this man’s drumming. He’s stayed alive with Hypocrisy, but Immortal is the band where he really seals the deal in making mountains bellow. Not only do the drums sound rich and booming, but the assault comes in so many different varieties that it makes for the next catchiest piece of the album. Toms, double bass, snares, hats, and cymbals all unite to charge forward at your hearing senses, bashing them endlessly. There’s no hollow sound, no protruding crashes, no muffled double bass – the drumming here is what I’d designate mightiest part of All Shall Fall. He’ll lurch with thunderous beats but will show no mercy when the time comes to batter with endless speed – a pace that accounts for most of the album.
Seven tracks clocking at over forty minutes keep this one focused and filling, with room only for minor errors that I still find a bit of difficulty holding up to all the positives. It’s hard to conjure up these negatives while hearing this album, since the only downside I can think of includes some boring sections in the earlier songs. The band has stiff competition when going for the best album of the year, even though they’ve already made a name for themselves with their iconic legacy. They don’t need to win album of the year; all we wanted was a comeback album, and I believe the band satisfied us well enough.