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Black Metal: An Introduction - 90%

KVIKZTIK, January 7th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1995, CD, Osmose Productions (Embossed Digipak)

Black metal is a notoriously difficult subgenre of metal to enter into. Getting past the nastier elements and the downright problematic people in the scene, it's simply an unwelcoming environment for better or for worse. As such, some of us might have difficulty helping folk with that initial step besides say, Black Metal. That said, if you want to bring someone black metal without sacrificing history, creativity, or the "blackened" sound, this is my personal recommendation.

At it's core, BITN is a nice exemplification of the Norwegian scene – A dark return to metal at it's isolated roots, combining elements of lo-fi death and thrash with the subject matter of Venom, Celtic Frost, and early Bathory records. Riffing guitars that are distorted to high hell, the drumming is furious and pounding – And then of course Abbath's vocals and Demonaz's lyrics.

Despite the Anthrax levels of goofiness Immortal is known for (esp. with the Abbath memes and bad music videos), very few bands could portray demons like them. Demonaz's writings about the belligerent, frozen hell that Blashrykh are complemented fantastically by Abbath's vocals, one of the most iconic set of pipes in black metal. For those uninitiated, Abbath's voice is guttural, nasally, and almost hisses at you as he assumes the role of a dark narrator, rendering tales of Blashrykh unto you. It's almost as if the Devil himself is hocking a venom loogey into your skull.

Perhaps the only condemnation one could given to this project is that it's 10 tracks long, and no track reaches even a five minute mark, leaving with the impression that this could be a longer project. But, as I said, this functions are a fantastic 101 class to black metal, and for that purpose the length is arguably a positive. Overall, it's brutal, belligerent, lo-fi black metal that stands the test of time. Good job, Immortal.