Norwegian black metal veterans, Immortal, have released their long awaited 9th studio album, Northern Chaos Gods. Northern Chaos Gods came out on the 6th of July via Nuclear Blast and marks the band’s first album since their well publicised split with former member, Abbath.
Northern Chaos Gods is actually the band’s first new album in 9 years, following on from 2009’s All Shall Fall. Some of that delay can be attributed to the split from Abbath (Olve Eikemo) which was officially confirmed in 2014 though problems were reported long before that. Abbath has gone on to have a very successful solo career under just Abbath. His self titled debut was released in early 2016 and you can read our thoughts on it here.
That leaves Immortal as a two piece with Demonaz (Harald Nævdal) on guitars and vocals and Horgh (Reider Horghagen) on drums with bass provided by long term friend of the band, as a session artist, Peter Tägtgren. Peter also produced, mixed and mastered Northern Chaos Gods for the band having worked with them on previous albums like All Shall Fall and Sons of Northern Darkness.
Northern Chaos Gods has 8 tracks or 42 minutes of angry metal on it. The album opens with the lead single and title track. It is a vicious opener, jam packed with guttural screams and crunching riffs. The bass and drums pound you into submission as the band let you know who they are and what to expect. Into Battle Ride comes next and is one of the best songs on the album. It is also one of the most brutal. The drums are blisteringly fast throughout and the guitars sound almost metallic as they hit you with their crunch. The verse has a bit of a punchy rhythm to it that builds before exploding into a chaotic chorus. There is so much heaviness on this album.
Tracks like Called to Ice and Blacker of Worlds are vicious in their attack, though Called to Ice drops into some seriously strong rhythm sections that will have the heads moving. Blacker of Worlds tends to go for the pounding repetitive rhythm with dark screams and visceral growls. Outside of the brutality, there are plenty of little moments of melody and atmosphere to break the album up too. Don’t get me wrong, all the songs are heavy but tracks like Grim and Dark drop a killer guitar solo and Gates to Blashyrkh has an atmospheric section with a melodic ringing guitar that transports you to a cold, bleak Northern forest.
As good as the album is so far, it all builds to the epic masterpiece that closes the album. Mighty Ravendark. Around 10 minutes in length, it is a mighty song that chucks in a little bit of everything on the album. Fierce riffs, blasting drum beats and visceral screaming make way for a couple atmospheric touches and melodic guitar lines before building for a brutal ending that leaves you craving for more.
Created as a love letter to all things black metal, from their rawest traditional past to more modern sounds, Northern Chaos Gods is a cold and calculating assault that will very quickly remind everyone who the kings of black metal are.
Northern Chaos Gods is available now on all the usual streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify. You can grab a physical copy from Nuclear Blast, here. Keep up to date with news and information on Immortal at their website, on Facebook and on Twitter.
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Northern Chaos Gods by Immortal (Nuclear Blast)
The Final Score - 9/10