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Just what I wanted - 80%

Demiror_Moritur, July 9th, 2018

I have to start this review off by thanking the current incarnation of this band for putting this album out before even stating anything else. I have to say this is EXACTLY what I was aching to get from them after too many years of anxious expectation anticipating the next Immortal release since All Shall Fall in 2009. Not only have they returned to the very sound that catapulted the band to legendary status in their rough and cold beginnings, but they have effectively crushed any and all rumors about them not being able to pull such a stunt off without their previous notorious clown vocalist being among their ranks.

Having been able to see what direction Abbath decided to take on his solo debut, it becomes more than clear that the watered-down version of Immortal died with his timely departure, and Northern Chaos Gods is a pure, unadulterated, unfiltered, unapologetic return to form; a call to arms, which, without forgetting about the evolution the identity of the band has undergone throughout their releases and through the many years of existence, proves they can undoubtedly still be considered genuine and authentic by all real admirers of this sacred genre.

Almost every single musical element making an appearance in this album feels like it was dug straight out of the black metal playbook bands in the early Norwegian black metal scene were passing around and consequently pasted onto the album with great effectiveness and success, taking the form of an unstoppable, no-gimmick, relentless, cold, powerful record that showcases Immortal's truest non-colors after 9 years of quiet.

Without taking their venomous aggression or force to ridiculous or try-hard extents, this album sounds sober, mature, well-structured, and rich in its many shades of black. It's not shy of (very) brief calmer moments either, and these serve their purpose well by making the wrathful passages stand out in the overall layout of the album that much more. One of the most remarkable features of the record is that it doesn't really leave any real space for filler at all, something to be expected by bands which have nothing to prove, yet Immortal truly have outdone their previous self and used the little over 42 minutes of running time of Northern Chaos Gods well to bring savage black metal to the table, sounding as hungry and serious as ever.

This full-length is a good example of what black metal should sound like, and it's nice to see it released these days. As much as people might try to point out how easy it is for a band like this to reach this sound, therefore perhaps referring to this as a phoned-in effort, I believe a lot of effort and care has been put into this album, as natural and organic as it is, and it deserves to be praised for it, since this is the kind of material the heart of the genre can keep living on.

I'm honestly glad to witness how, regardless of who's behind it and how much time passes, Immortal really is as immortal as it gets.