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This is probably one of the last Immortal albums I got to know back in the days, so I always tend to think about it as something new in their discography. The reason for this is also that it is very refreshing musically. Before 1993 Immortal were already very orthodox in what they were doing, they were already well known not only because they were friends of Euro and Varg, but also because their vision of music was totally original and there were no bands like them. And with this album they reached for absolute purity of their form. I may not exaggerate when I say that Immortal together with Kampfar introduced forests and winter into Norwegian black metal and influenced the genre so that it is what it is now. There are those who worship them for it, there are those who don't. Personally - I think the nature topics, counterbalancing theistic religions by worshipping the immortal and indelible forces of nature and, in a way, pagan self-centeredness fits black metal very well and it is also one of the many reasons I praise TNBM above all other genres. Those, whose definition of True Norwegian Black Metal is a bit more wide than an average Scandinavian caveman halfwit purists', would probably agree with me. I mean, who are we or anybody else to deprive Immortal their everlasting place among the black metal legends? Cause their lyrics are not satanic or anti-christian? Well, if Abbath doesn't sing the standard 'hail Satan' stuff doesn't mean the lyrics aren't anti-religious and that he himself is a fucking christian. I prefer Immortal to many, many shitty-but-satanic bands I listened to over years. Because Immortal were and are true and orthodox in what they do, and their music, the sounds they create and record, is 100% pure Norwegian black metal sound.
This is also the case concerning 'Pure Holocaust', their epic masterpiece from the memorable anno 1993. Riffing is totally Immortal style but simply better than on their other albums, even the newer ones! They could have recorded 'Pure Holocaust' YEARS after 'Blizzard Beasts', cause this album is simply further in their evolution than 'Blizzard Beasts' and 'Battles in the North'! I have no idea why after recording stuff like 'Pure Holocaust' they returned to the raw sound from the 1990-1991 period. I am myself pretty astounded, cause I always thought they started playing a lot earlier and that 'Pure...' is like fourth or fifth album, but it is their second! It is unbelievable to think how their albums are mixed across their discography.
Atmospherically 'Pure...' places itself between the heavy or even thrashy riffing we know from 'Damned in Black', 'Heart of Winter' and 'Sons of Northern Darkness' era and the chaotic 'Blizzard Beasts' and 'Battles in the North' era. This rite the passage unfortunately didn't end with the 'Pure...' sound as their one and only path from now on, but it changed one more time to the Immortal we know now from their last recordings. The question whether the listener would like this one depends on which period in the band's history you like most. Or maybe not. Cause how can you dislike this album?
Summing up, the sound is unique and totally 'Norwegian', if you know what I mean. Songs are not complex but they are very well arranged, riffing doesn't sound like another riff-to-riff patchwork, the song are very fluent and every accord is a logical continuation of the previous one. Every song just flows freely and the album ends in no time. The sound engineer must have understood Abbath & Co. pretty well, cause this album is also the “coldest” in their discography. Guitars together with the drums form a unbreakable wall of sound that reminds a furious winter storm with wind blowing your squinted eyes into your skull and snow somehow finding its way into your underpants and freezing your balls off. If you are devoted to the TNBM sound I can assure you that you'll put this CD in your discman many times before you die in the cold claws of the winter demons Abbath summons by the means of his battle cries we are so lucky to be given the chance to listen to.
A must-have album!