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If there are two sure things in this world they’d be these: Slayer is my favourite thrash group and mighty Immortal my favourite black one. In my opinion they never released bad albums in their entire career. Even if they passed through different kinds of black metal, depending on the period and influences, they always found a personal way, succeeding in standing out from many other clones or clowns. The beginning was in pure old Bathory style, while in the central part of their releases there was an increase of speed and a frozen atmosphere.
Already from the excellent Blizzard Beast album there were some riffs and a song that changed the old Immortal sound. That song was the incredible, majestic “Mountains Of Might”. A song full of thrashy riffs, epic melodies and a truly cold atmosphere. Maybe, the Demonaz abandon changed a lot the Immortal music also because now Abbath had to play the guitars too, so the influences and the technique were different but anyway, the music was still fucking good.
The new effort after “Blizzard Beasts” was the great “At The Heart Of Winter” and it was one of my first black metal albums bought at the time and the very first one by Immortal. I loved the cover painting. The opener is the great “Withstand The Fall Of Time”, a mix of black/thrash riffs, epic touches and the always great voice from Abbath. The songwriting is more mature and generally the songs are long, showing a good technique and a bunch of riffs. The tempo always change from blast beats to mid paced passing through really epic fast double kicks parts.
“Solarfall” is again frozen, epic and sharp like the pure winter winds. The clean arpeggios are fucking cold. There’s only ice in their sound. I think that the most epic one here is “Tragedies Blows At The Horizon” with mid paced, long parts alternated to furious blast beats. The intro to the title track is unbelievable for grimness and obscurity. Fantastic. Generally every song is so cold and epic, changing forever the way of playing black metal for Immortal.
This album is their thrashiest one but it has also some of the greatest atmospheres they’ve ever created during their career. A more mature Immortal that conceived a truly fantastic-frozen album.