Dennis : If you are reading this you will probably have heard of the troubles in recent years in the Immortal camp; soon after frontman and guitarist Abbath Doom Occulta, after internal difficulties in the band, claimed ownership of the bandname and logo behind the back of original guitarist, songwriter and lyricist (and ex-brother in law) Demonaz Doom Occulta and drummer Horgh, the latter two kicked him out of the band. Abbath soon after returned with his soloalbum 'Abbath' and Immortal on the other hand, was more or less dead.
Demonaz and Horgh were not resting on their laurels though. However, since Abbath took the compositions for the next Immortal album to use them on his solo album according to Demonaz, they had to start from scratch writing a new album. But, on July 6th, in the middle of this Summer and coincidentally also on Demonaz’s birthday, the long awaited grim and frostbitten ninth Immortal album 'Northern Chaos Gods' will be unleashed upon the world. Nine years after the release of their last album 'All Shall Fall' all eyes will be on Immortal again, not least for the absence of Abbath, who had become the face of Immortal in the last two decades. Not an easy task for Demonaz and Horgh to step out of the shadow of their former frontman, they also received a lot of criticism from a part of their fanbase. It did not hold them back however, and they now let the music do the talking.
From the first song on, the title track of the album, Immortal immediately rage with unprecedented force and a twelve second haunted scream sets the tone for the album. Holy shit, this is an entry! On 'Northern Chaos Gods, in terms of intensity the Norsemen return to the sound and aggression from the 'Pure Holocaust' and 'Battles In The North' era. Grim and frostbitten Norwegian Black Metal of the top glacier! Next up is 'Into Battle Ride', which rages like an all devastating blizzard through my speakers, full of aggression yet with a lot of melody. In 'Gates To Blashyrkh' and the closing song 'Mighty Ravendark' the typical clean guitars that we still know from the 'Battles In The North' album return to bring back a grim and dark atmosphere and with 'Where Mountains Rise' Demonaz’s predilection for Bathory shines through, which is something he also did on his solo album 'March of the Norse' from 2011. For those of you who know this album, knows that Demonaz has an excellent black metal voice. His grim and frostbitten vocals on 'Northern Chaos Gods' therefore sound so natural and are definitely an improvement compared to Abbath duck quacking.
For the recordings Demonaz and Horgh travelled to Sweden, to Peter Tägtgren’s The Abyss studio. Tägtgren also recorded the last four albums with Immortal and on 'Northern Chaos Gods' he is even playing the basslines. The production is very bombastic and the songs sound well balanced, crystal clear and incredibly full and powerful when played at loud volume. Whoever thought Immortal had no right to exist without Abbath was clearly wrong, because with 'Northern Chaos Gods' Demonaz and Horgh deliver the absolute strongest Immortal record in two decades and claim back the throne as Norwegian’s leading black metal band again.