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Cold, Bleak, Immortal. - 93%

Akerfeldt_Fanboi, July 25th, 2008

Alright, I like to start off with the minority, so I'll jump right into this with the cons.

Very few things, nothing is overtly wrong about this album in any means of the word. The only complaint I really have is...uhh, maybe a slightly better tone, or something to that extent. Though, the tone is actually remarkable for a 90-95 BM release, and retains its cold touch and grisly crunch.

Alright, onto the pros. The album is chock full of these. The riffs, Demonaz was crazy. I'll simply say he could write some creepy power chord progressions, then easily switch into his trademark melodic tremolo lines. The guitar is fairly high in the mix, which is probably what gives the album a more distinct powerful feel than the generic "Cymbals In the Front" recording style seen by many LLN bands. The dissonance some of the tracks exude (Example: 2:48 of Frozen By Icewinds) is sheer genius. The tracks are why melodic black metal (when done right, of course) is one of my favorite genres of metal.

Now, the vocals. They are much different to the debut "Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism," in fact, Abbath was doing a rather usual black emtal screech on DFM, but on this he combined his trademark frog voice and the usual screech to form a masterful voice. His vocals are astounding on the track "Sign For the Norse Hordes To Ride" and show what black metal vocalists are capable of, without having to sound like Dani Filth. In the vocal vein, the lyrics. They are, like most early Immortal, grim. Abbath was pioneering what would become so generic and overused, but even now his lyrics are so awe inspiring, to me. Bass is rarely heard on the album, to be honest.

Drums: I was turly expecting constant blasting when I picked this up all those years ago, and boy was I pleasently surprised. He blasts, yes, but he does so much more than that. He has the occaisional simple "stock pattern" and the standard death metal bass beats, but the way he works the drums in response to the guitar is what truly pulls it apart. He, along with Anders Nordin (of early Opeth fame), played the drums in a style that it made them sound almost harmonized with the guitars, adding another dimension to the already breathtaking music.

All in all, this album is instrumentally perfect (though, I dropped a few points for the lack of bass) and vocally horrifying, in a good way. The debut, Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism, was of course a landmark in black metal and showed the way for the Norwegian brand of black metal, but Pure Holocaust proves why black metal should be/is taken seriously. It's a combination of melody, melancholia, fury, and raw power, equaling a force to be reckoned with in the musical world.

The album in a whole, is a joy to listen to as well. It brings me sadness to hear it finish, only for it to be started again. The album, in lack of a better word, is a masterpiece, through and through. Praise Immortal.

Favorite Songs:

Unsilent Storms In the North Abyss
Sign For the Norse Hordes To Ride
Frozen By Icewinds
As the Eternity Opens