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The best - 99%

Accaris, October 27th, 2003

Immortal's masterpiece for sure. Pure Holocaust is an album that manages to create the same grim, foreboding, yet epic atmosphere as other bands of the time (Burzum, Darkthrone,) while remaining a blistering and purely metal release. The entire album is marked by chiseled and pummeling riffs that seem to swirl like the biting blizzards of the north. There is no doubt that Immortal's best songwriting can be found on this album. The compositions here are amazing! A relentless torrent of blasting doublebass, while detrimental to rhythm for many other bands, provides the perfect background for the blazing, complex riffs and changes that fill this album. Abbath's abrupt, grim, troll croak is fully developed here; it sharpens the songs like a frozen blade, adding the perfect edge.

The production here is distant but not muddled or too detached. It could be compared somewhat to the production on Burzum's first album; not lifeless by any means, but not wholy organic. Everything is mixed well.

Every piece is a monument to coldness, battle, and ancient strength. The lyrics reflect transcending to darkness, embracing coldness and desolation to become truly demonized. Holocaust is also a theme: merciless warfare and the destruction of all enemies.

There are no filler songs on Pure Holocaust. There are however several exceptional highlights. The opening track, "Unsilent Storms In The North Abyss," is one of the most powerful openers on any black metal album. The riffs are moving and epic, almost oppressive; the ominous and devilish atmosphere on this song is hard to beat. Another favorite is "As The Eternity Opens." The slowest song on Pure Holocaust (though not slow by any means,) this song has some of the most epic riffs ever written by Immortal. The way the song travels and flows fits incredibly well with the theme; a journey into a dark, immortal eternity. The absolute most epic moment in Immortal's discography can be found in this song at 4:40 when the choir kicks in. Beautiful, simply beautiful. The final song on the disc, the title track, is the most militaristic and driving piece on the album. The "Star Wars"-esque verse riffs form the soundtrack to demonic and barbaric warfare, an ancient pagan battle against the light. This song is a preview of the fast and warlike songs that fill "Battles In The North."

No black metaller's education of the genre can be complete without appreciating Pure Holocaust. This album is a landmark. There are no glaringly negative comments that I can make about it. Luckily, the disc is still somewhat easy to find. I give it an almost perfect score. Buy or die? Most definitely.