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Still a snowstorm in progress... - 80%

ahmos, November 30th, 2007

Immortal is perhaps my favorite of the more pure black metal bands, and the first black metal band i got into. They just have that sense of taking themselves too seriously in the whole scene, yet are respectably, one of the very few non-satanic early Norwegian black metal bands.

Battles In The North follows in the foot-steps of the mighty Pure Holocaust, and while it does bring improvement, something is obviously missing.
The title track starts the album off wonderfully, typically intense drumming with loud guitar. What follows is Grim And Frostbitten Kingdoms, an all-time high for the album, a great track with a pretty nice solo, something seldomly heard of for Immortal.
Cursed Realms Of The Winterdemons is just the quintessential hypnotic black metal track, mostly do to the intro, which just captures your attention the moment it starts.

More often than not, the idea of Immortal still being a 2-man band at this point comes into question as well... As long as one man bands can produce kvlt albums, who says a 2-man outfit should have problems, but somehow problems arise, because a skilled drummer is not necessarily an inventive/innovative one and as such, Abbath's drumming gets a tad too repetitive for the musical direction Immortal was obviously aiming towards (the direction they had ultimately reached 4 years later).

Surely the absolute masterpiece from this album is Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark) which needs no introduction. The intense riffs, blasting drums and the harmonic interlude that follows set the standard for many acts to follow. Impossible to listen to without picturing the vast Norwegian landscapes depicted in the music video.

While definitely a huge step in the right direction, this album still marks nothing more than a mere turning point in a young band's direction, due to the relatively low number of extremely memorable tracks.

Honorable mentions: Circling Above In Time Before Time & Throned By Blackstorms.