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After 'Blizzard beasts', Immortal obviously thought we were ready for something different. Or they just got tired of doing the same stuff once more. Anyhow, the outcome is far more melodic and.. well I wouldn't say technical, but it's like they actually became better musicians. If you're worried they've gone totally soft or something.. chill out, they just play more melodic stuff, riffs in the vein of Gothenburg bands like In Flames and Dark Tranquillity.
Despite that, they're still fast and furious, but as you can imagine - not all the time as they used to be. Generally the pace here is slower but if that bothers you then stick with 'Pure holocaust' or 'Battles in the north' for gods sake! There's still lots of double kicks and speed enough to satisfy the regular black metaller. The song length is another thing they changed. Before, I think they could be proud of having one song clocking in at 4 minutes, this album consists of 46 minutes music in only 6 tracks. Production is a bit better, but if that's better from this point of view I'm not sure of. However it's the work of Peter Tägtgren so we're talking quality.
So like I said, don't worry that this is another commercial piece of crap - it isn't. Black metal have never been as good as this musically, although this is the only "newer" Immortal album you need since this gets boring in the long run. Still an awesome album though, but as usual I prefer more aggressive efforts like 'Battles in the north'. This is something that I think even non-black metal fans could appreciate.