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What we have here is quite possibly the year's most anticipated black metal album. Seven years after disbanding, Abbath, Horgh, and Apollyon have reunited to continue where they left off with their last opus, Sons of Northern Darkness. Does it live up to the hype? Was the bar set too high with their last release, and did they reach it now with All Shall Fall?
Quite frankly, Immortal haven't surpassed themselves, nor declined. All Shall Fall continues in the exact same direction as Sons of Northern Darkness carried, but this time around, there is more focus on atmosphere rather than technicality and brutal riffage. Songs like the title track, The Rise of Darkness, and Norden on Fire grasp the listener with a thrusting intensity, before plunging them into an icy cold realm of whirling winter storms and fierce witnerdemons; an atmosphere unmatched by rival black metal bands. Immortal have crafted their signature sound into a sonicscape so profound and moving that could be an album of the same song played seven times over, yet still captivate even the most skeptical listeners.
Lyrically, it's typical Demonaz. Fairy tales of fearsome battles, wintery sorrow, grimness, and permafrost. As corny as they may be, Abbath's voice is more prominent, and dare I say... melodic, than on Sons of Northern Darkness. This may be his strongest vocal performance since At the Heart of Winter! Abbath's signature rasp never ceases to amaze.
The only complaint one may have about this brand new opus is its running time. In classic Immortal fashion, there are no more than eight tracks on the disc (only seven, actually), and spans a running time of just over forty minutes. Hopefully the box set will come with a few extra tracks of icy cold riffing and blasting to make that running time a bit longer (and extend the sub-zero atmosphere even longer).
Overall, it's a very solid album and does not disappoint, much akin to the new releases of bands such as Behemoth and Anaal Nathrakh. Big name bands still cranking out quality music. That's what this music is all about.