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Cold, Raw and Beautiful... - 93%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, March 18th, 2008

As you know, Immortal used to play a raw form of death metal at the beginning of their career, immediately after Old Funeral disbanded. This raw death metal lasted for few years after and, with their first full length, they finally started to play a raw sort of metal, very Bathory influenced but already, finally black metal. This is the full length that opened the gates of hell to this great band and already in 1992, despite the audible influences, they were quite original too, filling the lyrics with plenty of north landscapes descriptions and the music with strange, cold melodies.

“The Call Of The Wintermoon” with the intro of whispered vocals and winds, is the very first important track by this group; a sort of a manifest of their early, primordial incarnation. The speed is at maximum through a raw form of up tempo, paying tribute, as I said, to Bathory but also to Hellhammer. The doom breaks and the cold solos are original, distorted but somehow so evocative and “Northern” in style. The Abbath's screams became immediately a trademark, especially in the following, obscure “Unholy Forces Of Evil”. A manifest of unbelievable coldness and anger.

The guitars distortion by the former Amputation guitarist, Demonaz, are something never heard before. They are fuzz, stormy in the distortion, probably brought by a high level of treble distortion in a guitar already down tuned in death metal style. Everything, drums too, sounds so primordial, ancient and covered by dust. The arpeggios on “Cryptic Winterstorms” are evocative and, united with the down tempo and apocalyptic lyrics, create a piece of burning hell.

Sometimes, anyway, the songs are not so precise and some wrong notes contribute in making this product even more enjoyable and pure in its entire black splendour. “Blacker Than Darkness” contains again screams from hell and a lethal, obscure guitar work. The tempos are a bit more “complex” and in some parts, thrasher with quite fast bass drums tempo. The final “A Perfect Vision Of The Rising Northland” is always able to give me strong emotions with the perfect mix of more apocalyptic sounds with epic ones but always obscure as hell…”This winter is forever…”.

To me, this is the very first homage to the North winter…a classic.