Northern Chaos Gods
Nuclear Blast Records
No sir, I didn’t like it. Immortal just isn’t Immortal without Abbath in my opinion and while I gave it the old college try, I found myself growing rather bored by the whole thing. I’ve read some of the feedback and it sounds to me like some of these people have never heard a black metal album before. The disc doesn’t really offer much in the vein of diversity, preferring the same vanilla black metal approach throughout, that even though comes off as mighty and threatening as we might expect; doesn’t offer anything that I haven’t heard from this genre since the nineties. Demonaz also doesn’t do much for me, because his approach is cookie-cutter for the genre. As you may expect, the gentleman offers a threatening rasp which is a dime a dozen in black metal vocalists. Hell, I even do it with our black metal influenced sections, because it fits and I can’t sound like Abbath.
It does sound like Demonaz is having a hell of a time with the band though, and I won’t fault that. As demonic as this might sound to your average puritan, this reviewer can sense a man having a great time jamming with friends and I’m sure he’ll have a great time playing this stuff live on the stage too. I can’t do the whole “frowny face” thing while I’m listening to this one, because I can clearly see this as a literal “good fucking time” for all involved. Remove all the corpse paint and bullet belts and Immortal are just a bunch of guys playing the kind of music they fucking love to play and have for several decades now. There are some nice nodes on “Gates To Blashyrkh” however, with nice folk touches adding to the mystical nature of the piece. It’s also worth noting that Immortal are at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to song title ideas, as we actually have a cut here merely named “Grim and Dark” which I’d honestly expect for a black metal parody act. “Where Mountains Rise” sounds like Immortal as I remember them, with an almost anthemic thump that reminds me of Sons Of Northern Darkness, an album that I still prefer a great deal over this one. Not that there’s anything wrong here, Northern Chaos Gods just doesn’t break any new ground.
Obviously Demonaz had quite a bit of fun taking the reins and he does a fine job here, but I can’t really recommend this record to anyone other than those who just want to hear what Immortal sounds like without Abbath. If you have Immortal records, this disc sounds exactly like the rest of them and nothing ultimately unique is tried that separates this performance from any other. Perhaps there are a few cleaner notes here and there, but that’s about it. I think “Grim and Dark” really says it all, because that’s what this album basically is. It’s grim, it’s dark and it’s being reviewed on The Grim Tower for being grim and dark. If you like things that sound grim and dark and not out of the ordinary, then you’re going to love it – but for me, I’ve already heard this before, regurgitated a thousand times over by not only Immortal, but thousands of clones the world over. The real question is, are any of those clones actually doing it better than the genuine article? Check out the album out at the link below and see for yourself.
Oh, and by the way – the single “Mighty Ravendark” is definitely the best song here, so if you’ve heard that, then you’ve pretty much heard the best they have to offer.
(8 Tracks, 42:00)
Purchase HERE (Amazon)