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I'll be honest. This release is good, but not THAT good. Sure it is atmospheric and has lots of great screams, but the guitar is buried in a fury of fuzz, and the drums sound thin. The bass is inaudible as well, but that is not uncommon in BM. It is epic though, which gives it a higher rating.
Abbath's vocals are good on this, but a little in the background, and the drums stand too far out to me. As I said before, the guitar is just a low buzz. Demonaz does some solos here and there, which are usually fast and unstructured sounding. There are even some acoustic guitars on here, which add to the atmosphere greatly. This album has more of a pagan feel than anything to me.
IMO the best song on here is A Perfect Visions of the Rising Northland. It is very epic and has a ton of atmosphere. Abbath does a stellar vocal job on this one.
Of course the cover picture is the usual cheesy Immortal covers that we all know and love (hate?), but it is a bit more interesting on this one. Abbath flamming on the front is cool, and the ancient ruins are as well an interesting setting.
Is it just me, or does Armaggeda look totally out of place on the back cover? He seriously looks like he belongs in some hair band. But enough nitpicking. Other than all the minor flaws I have pointed out, this is actually a good debut. It has the most atmosphere of any Immortal album after it, and it should be played in the middle of a snowy night for the greatest effect.
Sometimes the music sounds a little sloppy, but overall this is a good debut release and it should be in every Immortal fans collection.