Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2021
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

The preliminary chill before the next fimbulvetr. - 85%

hells_unicorn, June 26th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2018, 7" vinyl, Nuclear Blast (Limited edition, 3 colors)

There was a mighty fissure that rocked the mighty realm of Blashyrkh and divided his forces some three years prior, the end result being what some would presume to be the death of one of black metal's formative bands. Nevertheless, following Abbath's sudden exodus from the fold in 2015 to pursue his own wars upon the northern front, Demonaz assured the followers of the way of the dark raven that Blashyrkh's home realm was not fully vacated and that further pushes towards world dominance were in the works. Though it be more than two years to the day since Abbath released his own brand of wintry battle hymns, the original scribe of the mighty ravendark has unleashed the first frosty breeze from a soon arriving storm of ice dubbed Northern Chaos Gods, throwing caution into the same wind by unleashing the album's very title song at the front line of the coming onslaught.

In a rather surprising turn of events, Demonaz has opted to wind back the clock about two decades and has opted to retread the frosty tundras of Battles In The North and Blizzard Beasts, a different path from Abbath's more post-At The Heart Of Winter sound (though he did cover a standout song from Blizzard Beasts himself). The old wintry rawness and chaotic thunder is back, as long time drummer Horgh rivals Hellhammer with a sea of relentless blast beats and cymbal crashes that resembles the lower fidelity chills of the mid-1990s, and is likewise reflected in the balance of thrashing riffs and droning bass work. For the most part it proves to be an impact-based wall of sound that establishes that black metal aesthetic of blazing speeds where fast all but seems to become slow, barring a more mid-paced middle section that is a tad more rhythmically precise, but still cloaked in frequent machine-gun bursts from the drums.

Truth be told, the body of this song is fairly straightforward and almost seems to hearken back to the Pure Holocaust days where Immortal's songwriting was a bit more primitive and closer to the classic Darkthrone and Mayhem sound. Though clearly channeling the throaty mutterings of Abbath, Demonaz's vocals are a tad higher pitched and come a bit closer to a standard 2nd wave sepulchral cry rather than a deeper, almost death metal aesthetic. All the same, the place where things really come together is the guitar solo section, where Demonaz somehow manages to dust 20 years plus worth of cobwebs off his fingers and rips out a chaotic stream of notes comparable to his technical zenith circa 1997, all but channeling that same blurring, Trey Azagthoth brand of shredding with maybe a slight bit more of a melodic underpinning for the ears to grasp hold of and avoids pure atonality.

Though ultimately more of a middle of the road thrasher than an outright epic conquest of the shorter order that was standard on Blizzard Beasts classics like "Nebular Ravens Winter" and "Battlefields", this is definitely a promising direction that will hopefully be replicated and expanded upon when the full package is unleashed next month. It's a definitely boon for fans of the old Nordic 2nd wave guard who may have been missing the days where Immortal was cranking out classics every year or two during their original run from 1991 to 2003, and arguably one of the most impressive "coming out of retirement" moments for a metal musician in recent memory. The jury is out as to whether Demonaz will top Abbath when the former's full brigade of orthodox Blashyrkh soldiers sound their horns of war, but this is a pretty clear indication that the coming civil war will be as close to equally matched as they come.