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A Deathly Birth - 65%

CrimsonFloyd, June 26th, 2012

Like many of the second wave black metal bands, Immortal began as a death metal act. The only remnant remaining from that early incarnation of Immortal is their rough and gritty self-titled demo. The demo is brief; only three songs totaling twelve minutes. Still, it is enough time to demonstrate that Immortal were actually capable of creating some pretty dark and dirty death metal.

The mix on this demo is pretty uneven. The vocals are predominating, while everything else is kind of a blur. The guitars are pretty low and sometimes it requires some straining to make out the riffs. The drums are the most difficult aspect of the music to make out. One can hear the steady blast beats of the bass drum, but the high end is almost nonexistent. Furthermore, the recording is kind of hissy, which adds to the muddled tone.

These songs aren’t very distinct and lack memorable riffs. There are numerous quick, sputtering solos, which are somewhat excessive and obligatory. However, even if the riffs aren’t stellar, they do create a monstrous and ugly atmosphere while also providing good headbanging fodder. Furthermore, Abbath's unexpected skill at producing deep, nasty death growls gives the recording plenty of force.

Still, this demo is nothing special. Other than the fact that this was recorded by Immortal, there isn’t anything that makes this demo stand out. It’s just one of the hundreds of early 90s death metal demos that were created. However, at least it is heavy and groovy enough to qualify it as a novel and worthwhile history lesson for Immortal fans.

(Originally written for