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Completely forgettable - 28%

CannibalCorpse, June 2nd, 2007

Lots of things have been said about "Pure Holocaust" and almost any fan of black metal generally praises it. Some even say it's the best album that ever came out of Norway. I remember hearing one or two songs off this album a long time ago and I didn't give it any further attention (main reason being that my interest in black metal wasn't very developed yet) at the time, but the aforementioned praise was the primary reason why I decided to give "Pure Holocaust" a fair chance. That's why I was pretty exited before I hit the play button - I liked Immortal's later work quite a lot, so I expected something even greater by reading the reviews on the archives - and after I listened to the whole thing in one sitting I said to myself:

"Boy, this has got to be one of the most overrated albums I've ever heard."

Surely an exaggeration I made due to the slight shock I experienced, but it comes close. It's almost completely forgettable. I don't know, but I also have to disagree when it comes to the so-called "catchiness" of this record, being that it neither grabs you by the balls and moves you along with it, nor are there any riffs or vocal lines which one remembers even after more than just a few listens - the songs completely blend into each other and leave no impression to the listener.

Vocal-wise, this album offers nothing new to the Immortal table, so if you liked Abbath's styles on later albums, you'll most likely dig this too, but that is about the only factor that remained the same over the years. Lyric-wise, "Pure Holocaust" is no different to other early works of the band, telling words about the Nordic ice lands which are/were frozen by holocaust/cold/frostbitten/demonic/whatever kinds of winds - nothing that can be taken very seriously, but we all know that Immortal always has some kind of...humorous touch.

Something an observant reviewer before me already noticed is the lack of originality. It is not a blatant rip-off of late 80s Bathory, but Quorthon's work was definitely their source of inspiration. While I think it does share some similarities with the "modern" black metal we know today, most of this is still firmly rooted in the late 80s, but without the lack of the aforementioned memorability. "Pure Holocaust" doesn't sound fresh and new either - back then I thought it hasn't aged well, but nowadays I tend to think that I wouldn't even have considered it "innovative" if I had listened to it when it was released.

Overall, the album has very few redeeming features, such as the song "The Sun No Longer Rises" which is about the only song I tend to remember and some rather inspired drumwork appearing here and there in-between the blasting.

I have listened to this album several times, trying to find out what all the fuzz was about, but even today, I don't get it. What makes this album so special? What is YOUR reason for calling this "essential"? Seriously, I'd like to know.

This album was a huge disappointment for me, especially since I liked most of the stuff that the band did after this. Steer clear of this if you like memorable riffs, proper songwriting and originality - you won't find those things here.