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As a huge fan of black metal, there were always two bands I considered the pinnacle of what there was in the genre, and that was Emperor and Immortal. Emperor is easily my favorite of the two, and also my favorite band period. I loved Prometheus, but I could also see how it was flawed in the way that there was some patience required, which is something that the average black metal fan doesn’t have. All shall fall, on the other hand, is definitely my preferred career-ending album so to speak. It’s just as good as anything else from their discography if not better. I really could care less that it sounds like everything post-At the heart of winter, they didn’t half-ass it, and it sounds awesome, and that’s all that really matters.
The album kicks right off from the start with the album title track. Horgh starts off pounding the double bass and Abbath plays the extremely catchy opening riff. The entire album officially starts when Horgh begins his crazy blast beats, definitely an awesome drummer who I put next to frost and hellhammer. Abbath’s awesome vocal style hasn’t worn out one bit, and the riffs are awesome. What more could you possibly want?
As I expected, the next track, the rise of darkness, is a more mid paced song that picks up speed later on to mix it up. At this point I had been sure this was my favorite immortal album period. The rest of the album maintains it’s awesomeness through Abbath’s awesome signature buzzed out guitar tone and awesome riffs, and of course, anything produced by Peter Tagtgren ends up sounding awesome. The album has a really good atmosphere and doesn’t sound so dry and clean and digital like a lot of new albums. The drums sound fucking huge, and for me, that’s a plus in any metal album.
The pacing is all over the place. Hordes of war is a lot more like a thrash metal song, and makes the German thrash label more appropriate, although I never understood that comparison, as they don’t sound anything like Sodom. After this thrash assault, Nordens on fire comes in with a clean guitar intro that instantly reminds me of Bathory’s Hammerheart. The rest of the song is blood, fire, death, worship and I love it.
Arctic Swarm is easily my favorite track on the album. Abbath’s awesome riffing is at its strongest on this track. There are no blast beats, it just rolls along and makes you feel like you’re riding alongside an enormous army of evil. There’s a nice solo at the end too. Abbath isn’t known for technically astounding leads or anything, but he gets the job done, and all you really need with music like this is a lot of tapping and whammy jerking.
The remainder of the album is very solid, and the last track Unearthly kingdom has an eerie synth intro, I could already tell this was going to be the doomiest, slowest track on the album, and I was right. A similar closing track to sons of northern darkness, although it does pick up the pace later on. The song sounds almost melancholy, as if to say this is it, this is the end of immortal.
All in all, this is definitely my favorite immortal album, and my pick for best album of 2009. It’s more of the same, but it doesn’t sound tired and lacking of inspiration. It’s really more than I could have asked for. Most bands with similar reputations have called it quits for the sake of “knowing when to quit making music” or just plain suck now. Immoral on the other hand have always delivered, and this album delivers in truckloads. Never mind that it sounds the same as their last three albums, just listen to it.