Immortal’s career hasn't been the smoothest of rides their ninth full length comes after a protracted and tense battle with founding member Abbath, who finally left the band in 2015 before the Norwegian black metal masters could continue work on a follow up to 2009s All Shall Fall. The problems stemmed from who actually owned the rights to the Immortal name and finding no way through the legal minefield, Abbath found the best thing to do would be to quit and leave whatever had been recorded behind. It was a tumultuous time and one that left it unclear as to how Immortal would continue. Fast forward to 2018 and core members Demonaz (here contributing vocals and for the first time in twenty years, guitar after tendinitis marred his ability to play) along with longtime drummer Horgh, have provided us with Northern Chaos Gods and an immediately recognisable Immortal record.
Taking place within their own universe of Blashyrkh, the album is suitable icy in tone and delirious in its pace. Demonaz’s vocals are harsh and draped in cold, fitting the style Immortal have built up over the last twenty seven years, and you never think to yourself “man, I really miss Abbath’s voice.” Guitars sounds huge and fiery with the richness of “Where Mountains Rise” filtering through the windswept landscapes with clarity and power.
The forty minute run time ticks along quickly, leaving hardly a pause for breath with tracks that’s burst with passion at every turn. “Blacker of Worlds” is a monumental song that showcases Demonaz’s vocal skills nicely while his soaring guitar work is underpinned by striking melodies and devastating drums.
”Mighty Ravendark” pays homage to the Immortal of old with kind of a follow-up track to “Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)” from 1995s Battles in the North, giving the band an opportunity to build on their history yet push themselves firmly into the future. Northern Chaos Gods is, from the outset, definitely an Immortal record but it also sounds vital and fresh, renewed with purpose and fire, and the duo helming the voyage into the frostbitten grimness are by no means done with the project. The future for Immortal is certainly promising and with Northern Chaos Gods the band are back with a bang.
8.5 / 10
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