AUGUST 18th 2018

Review By: Ruben Mosqueda

Our Metal Titans black metal enthusiasts will know that  ‘Northern Chaos Gods,’ IS the ninth studio album from black metal icons Immortal. If you’re reading this review you’re fully aware that; ‘Northern Chaos Gods’ is the band’s first album in nearly a decade. Their last effort being; 2009s ‘All Shall Fall,’ since that time there’s been for lack of a better word a ‘bitter’ split between band and former frontman Abbath. The departure of a key and focal member in this band would be akin to David Lee Roth leaving Van Halen or Steve Perry leaving Journey. These examples are on the ‘lighter side’ I know, but were used to depict just how dramatic of a change this is/was in the black metal world.

On ‘Northern Chaos Gods’ you will see [and hear] that Immortal now consists of Demonaz [guitar and taking on vocals] and Horgh [on drums]. Immortal have gone back to their early influences on this one, I know you hear that a lot but this isn't the band saying it, it’s a listener. Immortal have returned to the stripped down, aggro, frantic, anxiety inducing bombardment of blasts and relentless riffage that you heard on earlier records. The bass on tracks on the album are handled by [producer] Peter Tägtgren, which is no stranger to fans having worked with Immortal in the past.  This extreme chaotic wall of sound is depicted best on the tracks; “Northern Chaos Gods,” “Into Battle Ride,” and “Grim and Dark.” After listening to ⅓ of the record, I was close to having a panic attack! Never mind that my dog in the car was taking cover during our drive, running various errands as I cranked the newly obtained opus. You’ll hear hints of [1995s] ‘Battles Of The North’ and [1997s] ‘Blizzard Beasts’ which will undoubtedly please the fan base and ease the transition to life post-Abbath.

I personally don’t think that ‘Northern Chaos Gods’ will facilitate the opening of doors to a new audience, after all  if you didn’t like black metal, or cared for Immortal before ‘Northern Chaos Gods;’ it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be won over as fan. This kind of metal is an acquired taste and has its own subculture that goes along with it; if you don’t ‘get it’ I totally understand. Having said that; I commend Immortal for pressing forward and making a potent record for the first post-Abbath effort. In my opinion the shorter tracks [“Northern Chaos Gods,” “Into Battle Ride,” “Blacker Of Worlds”] are easier to digest, when you get into the stuff that clocks in at over 5 minutes or longer ["Mighty Ravendark"], that’s when I might have to take a breather. And the dog? Well, she might be a little traumatized but she’ll live.