Review of Immortal’s “Northern Chaos Gods”

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Review by Zach Brehany
7/25/2018

I want to start off this review with a bit of a disclaimer:
normally, I don’t listen to black metal or any of its closest counterparts. It
is not out of hatred or dislike, but more like I am just a good bit
inexperienced. I am stating this because of the nature of this album and some
of my background in Hard Rock/ Heavy metal.

When the album begins, the instrumentation is in your face.
You start to feel a bit of an ice-cold breeze going through you, the
instruments painting images of dark, cold forests. There is a feeling of uneasy
the more you fall into this world of darkness with the voice of a demon coming
out of the instrumentation. When the album opens, those not familiar with the
genre will have to find a way to catch up with the way to understand the vocal
techniques.

Normally, I never cared for this style of performing. Unless
it is like with the song ‘Demons in You” by Tarja (featuring Alissa White-Gluzz),
I normally never can’t find myself diving into the style. Here, it is a bit of
the same, but it fits with the mood and mental images.

As the album continues, we get to the second track (Into
Battle Ride). It was around that time I started to see that the songs are
telling a story that does have a dark, rapid base driven number where you are
able to feel for the world they seem to be creating. Maybe because this
reviewer is arrogant on the genre, but this was an element I was not really
expecting. I can see the idea of a black metal opera happening, given the
structure of this album and while it is not as extreme or grand as any of the
albums by Ayreon, this album seems to have a major saving grace for me: the
instrumentation.

Like with all genres, ones that require skill, talent, and
ambition, the instrumentation is always a major make or break. In the wrong
hands, you’ll get wonderful vocals, but the instrumentation ruins it (best
example of this would be the HIM cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s (Don’t Fear the
Reaper). Here, the instrumentation starts really rough, but as the song
progress, (starting combined with Into Battle Ride and Gates to Blahshyrkh),
there starts to be a more grounded, more composed ground flooring that not only
helps the flow of the themes of the album but works well just as it is.

Once the album ends, you are left breathless, exhausted.
Listening to this album is like watching a gorgeous, beautiful yet brutal
Viking epic without subtitles. As I am typing this, I am left trying to decide
if I would recommend this album or not. Given my limited credentials, I don’t
think my opinion totally matters. But from someone who isn’t well versed in
this genre, all I can report from my experience is what I have written. Do with
it as you see fit.

Overall Rating: 3.75/5

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