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Still grim, still frostbitten - 90%

Razakel, October 19th, 2009

It feels a bit strange actually listening to new Immortal material. After what started as a rumour years ago, Immortal finally confirmed that they would be returning with another offering of ice cold blackened metal; the Norwegian way. Subsequent to several delays, All Shall Fall has finally surfaced from the realms of Blashyrkh. What makes listening to this album even more surreal is that it doesn’t sound like Immortal ever put to rest their instruments of battle.

It’s clear that things haven’t changed from the triumphant riff of the opening title track, which sounds just like something off of 1999’s classic, At The Heart of Winter. After being winterized by the ice-cold guitar tone and Horgh’s relentless onslaught on the drum kit, Abbath lets out a nasally grunt which made my sack quiver with excitement the first time I heard it. Immortal are back. This track also contains a grim spoken section before Abbath continuously groans the title of the song. The Rise of Darkness varies in pace, but mostly delivers at a dangerously fast one, however not in comparison to Hordes of War which sounds like a Battles in the North track with clear production. Seriously, this one is vicious and will rip your face off if you’re not careful. It’s good to know that while Immortal now focus on grand songs and epic atmospheres, they still know how to shred a fast one. Norden on Fire is a personal favourite of mine. It differs from the other songs on the album but is still completely Immortal. Opening with a soft, Bathory worshipping intro, it bursts into a triumphant riff and everything comes together to make this an extremely strong epic.

While All Shall Fall contains much of the thrash influence from Sons of Northern Darkness, it’s also their most atmospherically pleasing offering since At The Heart of Winter. Some light keyboards are used sparsely throughout the album to heighten certain moments here and there, but for the most part Immortal just stick to chilling riffs and the occasional clean interlude and acoustic flavour to spice up the mix. The lengthy, ambient intro to the mighty closer, Unearthly Kingdom sets a darkly grim mood which permeates throughout the entire song. Its crushing heaviness comes from its slow, pounding pace, however the speed greatly varies throughout the song.

You’ll find as many memorable riffs as you’d expect from an Immortal album with each song having something to offer. Horgh once again gives a mightily impressive performance, further cementing his legacy as Immortal’s most competent drummer. Abbath’s vocals are the same croaky snarls as always and don’t worry, he’s still singing about the coldness that is Blashyrkh with Demonaz handling lyric duties.

Even though this album proves that Immortal are still fully capable of kicking dick, it doesn’t do as much to expand their sound as their older albums have done. The upside of that note is the fact that this album is one hundred percent vintage Immortal in all of their glory. They’ve come a long way since Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism but the vision has forever remained the same. Immortal have certainly musically evolved since the golden days of black metal, but as a band they have grown firmly from their roots. All Shall Fall is a reminder that Immortal are still a powerful force and one to be reckoned with. It’s reassuring to know that a band as legendary as Immortal are still carrying the banner so proudly. For that, they will always have my support.