Quality BM release featuring 2/3 of the Immortal we know and love
This 2018 Immortal is more like a legal snafu. Abbath failed to secure the trademark for the band's name. He's no longer contributing to the act, instead focusing on his other side-projects. Demonaz swooped in and cash-grabbed the name and, together with longtime drummer Horgh, made business cents out of business sense.
'Northern Chaos Gods' will fall on some deaf ears. Longtime supporters of the band and Abbath will turn their frostbitten noses up to this record. However, they are missing out on another quality black metal release featuring 2/3 of the Immortal we know and love. This album recalls classic Norwegian black metal with the typical garage screech and mid-tempo doom and gloom. The drums were recorded at the Aybss Studio (probably due to Horgh's relationship with owner Peter Tagtgren) with the rest at Konclave in Bergen. This recording and mix is a stout foundation that elevates this above the countless black metal hordes tearing up my mailbox.
The opening title track is reminiscent of the late 90s and early 00s era with the rapid fire riffs like 'Damned in Black' material. "Called to Ice" keeps the pace quick and frenzied, heightened to blast beat proportions on burner "Blacker of Worlds". The band do their best work with atmosphere and poetic drama. See "Mighty Ravendark" or "Gates to Blashyrkh", the latter having this slower passage at the midway point that rolls into a hard rock AC/DC number over double-bass. It's brilliant, but surpassed only by the Bathory worship of "Where Mountains Rise".
Polished until it is raw, Immortal keeps the name honorable and convincing. No matter what fans (collectors?) think about the fragmented trio-turned-duo, 'Northern Chaos Gods' is a worthy addition to the solid catalog.