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After their quite horrendous sophomore album, Immortal returned with "Battles in the North" two years later. Sadly, it still suffers from the same problem as its predecessor did, albeit to a lesser amount.
"Battles in the North" is perhaps even faster than "Pure Holocaust" and while this would normally lead to even less memorability, it's not the case with this album. I didn't say that this album sticks to your mind in the least, but you possibly couldn't be any less memorable than "Pure Holocaust". Again, "Battles in the North" features only one recognizable song ("The Sun No Longer Rises" on the previous album, "Blashyrkh - Mighty Ravendark" on this album) which closes the album. All other songs are an unremarkable mess of songs without any distinctive qualities, except for a few good riffs here and there. As I said, not as bad as on "Pure Holocaust" but sadly not too far away from it either.
Signs of improvement are the drumming, which was already fairly good (when Abbath was not blasting) on "Pure Holocaust", but shows more potential here. Abbath's voice is roughly the same, even if a bit louder in the mix which fits the album better.
Other than that, the style is pretty much the same as before. At least until the last song starts; "Blashyrkh - Mighty Ravendark" is a mid-paced, epic black metal song with some great acoustics, strong atmosphere and a great synth-acoustic breakdown with quite an amazing solo/riff combination at the end. The song is completely different to the other tracks and shows the newer direction they were heading to – more epic soundscapes, better songwriting and the fulfilment of their potential.
If there were any more songs like this one included, my rating would be much higher than it actually is and I'd have more love for an album which is (sadly) in reality, a boring, monotone and unmemorable mess with a few glimmers of future quality.
If you liked "Pure Holocaust" then by all means get this, and excuse my while I listen to some real quality Immortal material like "Blizzard Beasts" and "Damned in Black".