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Third mediocre album in a row - 35%

Aurora Rider, May 2nd, 2019

After an awkward debut and a mediocre second album, it was time for Immortal to release their third legendary album, ''Battles In The North''. Quite a promising title although the band makes it clear from the very start that they are going to follow the same path as they did with their previous records. And, unfortunately, this full-lenghth is just as bad, if not worse.

It is obvous from as early as the beginning of the title track that the sound quality is going to be terrible once again. The musical instruments are difficult to distinguish from one another due to the insufferable background noise. In addition, mixing and mastering are worse than ever, with everything sounding out of place or too loud and too low depending on the track. Like the vocals, which even irritate the listener at times because of the unneeded intensity they cause. And, believe me, Abbath's ridiculous wannabe mean vocals is not what you want to get in your face first. Besides, it is obvious that these Norwegians find it very hard singing about anything interesting in "Battles In The North". Conversely, it seems like the guys stuck to the wintry landscapes and Blashyrkh. Like always.

But it is not only the lyrical themes that disappointed me. The bass lines and drumming are of little interest as well. There is lack of innovation and fresh ideas in ''Battles In The North''. There is really a little to nothing new to appreciate. Maybe the only good element in this record is the guitar rifts. Grim and fast, they manage to somewhat save this release since they create a dark atmosphere which is able to thrill the listener from time to time. Especially in songs like ''Cursed Realms of The Winterdemoms'' and ''Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)'' where a great job has been done with the rifts and solos. But to be honest, a few clever and catchy melodies are not enough to even help the album pass the 50% rating. Too bad.

With Immortal having no fresh ideas, the prosuction of ''Battles In The North'' being awful and Abbath keeping up on his role as a clown snowman, this record is admitedly the worst of the band's first era trilogy. Apparently, there is nothing I really enjoyed here, besides the album's historic role in the evolution of the black metal scene and a few carchy rifts. Everything else, including the lame cover artwork, is boring and uninspired.