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Immortal - 'All Shall Fall'

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Immortal - All Shall Fall

Immortal - All Shall Fall

Nuclear Blast Records

The Bottom Line

Norwegian black metal legends return in top fighting form after a hiatus.
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Pros

  • Immortal has matured enough to realize that nuance and subtlety can help black metal grow.

Cons

  • They are less vicious and musically bloodthirsty than they once were.

Description

  • Released October 6, 2009 on Nuclear Blast Records.
  • This is their eighth full length studio album.
  • Due to acute tendonitis in his arm, Demonaz was forced to put down the guitar.
  • However, Demonaz has become the band’s main lyricist, he has managed the band, and he accompanies them on tour.

Guide Review - Immortal - 'All Shall Fall'

In the last decade, Immortal’s promo photography has become so over-the-top that one can’t help but laugh. Yet at the same time, in an era of irony-is-everything snobbery, it’s refreshing to find a band so lost in the world they’ve created that they are either unaware of or just don’t care about what others think. It’s this unwavering dedication that makes Immortal who they are, and with All Shall Fall, their first album back after a seven-year hiatus, they show exactly why they’re one of the most important bands in black metal history.

The time away from the band has proven beneficial. They had never painted themselves into a corner, primarily because following the blitzkrieg assault of Blizzard Beasts they began to explore various tempos and to draw heavily from traditional heavy metal (beginning with At the Heart of Winter), but All Shall Fall sounds like the band has a new lease on life.

They certainly reference the scathing, blistering cold approach of the blasting classic Blizzard Beasts with “Hordes to War,” but the album generally boasts dramatic and epic sensibilities that pay more attention to majestic, somber and otherworldly atmospherics rather than simple, misguided aggression.

This is without a doubt the best, most crisp production the band has ever been blessed with (can the word “blessed” be used in a black metal review?), thanks to Peter Tagtgren, augmenting the almost hard rock quality and comparative structures that have been introduced, presumably due to Abbath’s involvement in the stripped-down heavy metal project I.

But it’s not only happy Halloween time filled with corpse paint. Indeed, while the band has remained relevant, grown musically and expanded its fan base with the increased focus upon melodies and its old school heavy metal foundation, it’s been a two-edged sword in that Immortal has simultaneously drifted, ever so slightly, away from a purely “grim” and “frostbitten” black metal-or-nothing agenda. They’re not evil, demonic spirits, after all. It’s almost as disillusioning as if Aleister Crowley said, “This black magic stuff isn’t real. I was only kidding! Let’s have a picnic!”

This is but a minor grievance, however, considering how great All Shall Fall truly is. Black metal needed a good kick in the ass, and Immortal is ready to roll with a pair of steel-toed army boots.

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