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IMMORTAL - Battles in the North cover
4.21 | 24 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1995

Filed under Black Metal


1. Battles in the North (4:11)
2. Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms (2:47)
3. Descent Into Eminent Silence (3:09)
4. Throned by Blackstorms (3:38)
5. Moonrise Fields of Sorrow (2:24)
6. Cursed Realms of the Winterdemons (3:59)
7. At the Stormy Gates of Mist (2:59)
8. Through the Halls of Eternity (3:35)
9. Circling Above in Time Before Time (3:56)
10. Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark) (4:34)

Total Time: 35:18


- Demonaz / Guitars
- Abbath / Vocals, Bass, Drums

About this release

Recorded and mixed in Grieghallen Studio,
September 1994
Exclusively "Battled" by Abbath and Demonaz
Engineered by Eirik (Pytten) Hundvin
Executive production: Osmose Productions '95
Front cover photo and inner cover photos by O.I.'95
The tracklisting on the original CD is incorrect. The correct listing is written

There are three different issues of this CD - original jewelcase, digipak, and a
limited edition jewelcase with slipcover and foldout poster - this version also
includes the 1991 EP as bonus tracks:
11. Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism (0:42)
12. Unholy Forces Of Evil (4:28)
13. The Cold Winds Of Funeral Frost (3:40)
Also, there are two versions of the digipack, one with an embossed logo and
title, and another one with a normal logo and title. Except for the embossed
parts, the digipacks are identical.
2005: Vinyl re-issue on Osmose (Lim 1000)
2010: Vinyl re-issue on Osmose
- black vinyl

Warning - Osmose CD presses from February 2001 up to around 2005 may contain a
copy-protection method which renders the CD completely unreadable in PCs and
certain modern Hi-Fi systems. This isn't indicated anywhere on the packaging.

"Battles in the North" was pressed on limited pic. disc in 1998

Thanks to Prog Geo, Wilytank, adg211288 for the updates


More places to buy metal & IMMORTAL music

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Specialists/collaborators reviews

On the surface the third Immortal album Battles in the North is a messy affair. Apparently when it was first released in 1995 reviewers hated the original production job so much that the band went and hastily changed it after the first pressing. Considering the rawness of Immortal's black metal music and how raw the album as it sounds on my copy (which is marked as a 1997 reissue), that original mix must have been pretty bad. Also the printing of physical copies even today as far as I know contain a mixed up track listing (mine certainly does).

Battles in the North is however the point where I think the band really made their mark. The songs on this one are more distinct from each other and to date the album still contains some of their best work such as the title track and Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark). I think that Abbath has developed a more distinctive vocal style by this point too, which helps a lot. Like the two previous albums it's not a long release, totalling at about thirty-five minutes, which proves just enough for the album to make it's point. Though Battles in the North hasn't retained as high a regard over the years as Pure Holocaust it's easily my third favourite Immortal album and represents a massive jump in quality as far as I'm concerned.

With Immortal slimmed down to its two key members, Abbath and Demonaz, the dynamic duo do an exceptional job of living up to the precedent set by Pure Holocaust. At this point, the lyrics are firmly rooted in their fantasy world of Blashyrkh, but despite their subject matter not exactly being serious business the band once again manage to create very credible black metal - fast, furious, and with the songs falling over themselves to get out. Whilst I don't think it shows a huge degree of musical development over Pure Holocaust, the pair do at least manage to avoid losing ground despite being reduced in numbers, so on the whole I think it's a decent addition to the band's discography.
Battles in the North is the third album from black metal act Immortal, released in 1995. As soon as the album kicks off you can hear that it is a fast, brutal black metal affair. From start to finish the band barely pause from the pounding riffs and blast-beating drums. The actual music and song writing in this formula is fine, but there are two faults that make Battles in the North not be the great album that it should be.

The first of these is Abbath’s vocals. He puts on a good performance through most of the album, but there are times when he just doesn’t sound very strong. For example on the opening song, the title track, he sounds great, but later on Throned by Blackstorms he sounds much weaker. Not awful you must understand, just not as good. It's this lack of consistency that lowers my overall opinion of the album.

The second fault with Battles in the North is that its production sounds terrible. I’m not talking about in the traditional raw black metal way, but in a technical way. You don’t hear it if you’re playing the album in a CD player as a whole, but try skipping into a few tracks and you’ll likely hear the final bar of the previous song, a pause, and then the song you were actually trying to play. An example of this is the second song, Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms. Of course it doesn’t affect the actual music all that much, but it makes me think that they were lazy when producing Battles in the North, and put it out before the mix was correct. My opinion of this subject is enforced by the fact that the track list is printed incorrectly both on the back of the CD and in it’s booklet. While not a fault I can blame on Immortal, it makes me wonder if the track listing that is printed is in fact how the album was meant to be, making another fault with the production, or whether just a simple printing mistake. Either way, it’s something that has never been corrected with each pressing of Battles in the North as far as I can tell (my disc is a '97 pressing). While this is certainly not a fault that I’d deduct points from the final score for, I must just say, this incorrect track listing makes for a very confusing first listen when you don’t know the songs on the album and aren’t following the lyrics.

Fortunately the quality of the writing saves the album. This style isn't exactly technical or ground breaking but it suits Immortal well, with tracks such as Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms with its short and to the point raw black metal attack and Cursed Realms of the Winterdemons with its surprisingly use of clean guitars standing out as particular highlights along with album closer and best track, Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark), which is the most versatile song on Battles in the North and it certainly is a case of leaving the best to last. It features most heavy black metal riffs, a clean interlude and even a section that features only a synthesiser and vocal. It has a guitar solo from Demonaz too. Thrilling stuff.

Overall despite the faults I found with it Battles in the North is still a pretty strong release from Immortal and is recommendable to existing fans of the band, although I would recommend just about any other Immortal album as a starting point for them.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven, scoring 8.5/10)

Members reviews

Slimmed down to a two man band, Immortal decides to record the follow-up to the great "Pure Holocaust" album. Abbath handles the drumming on this album, which makes these guys even more amazing in their instrumental skill. Two guys, one name and a new album. The equation is there, so lets see if it equals anything of value.

Before I get into the rest of this review, I must say that I have had my share of albums that have baraged me with music, but none did as much as this album. (the review begins here) The whole time, the Occulta brothers fly through songs before you know what hit you. (the album is 35 min long) Abbath's voice hasnt changed, Demonaz's guitar riffs seem to be even faster (Just listen to "Cursed Relms Of The Winterdemons"), and Abbath's drumming keeps up with Demonaz at an amazing rate, seeing that Abbath isn't a drummer at all. The production is better than "Pure Holocaust" with not as much of an echo on it, but you still get slammed by treble with very little bass in the mix. One humorous point of this album has got to be the brother's pictures on the album covers and in the album sleeves. They went to extremes to get pictures of them together, holding their demon axe guitars in freezing conditions on a frosty mountain peak. But looking around all the humorous imagery, the Occulta brothers have put together a pretty impressive display of extreme speed metal that will appeal to any Immortal fan and anyone that likes a good fast black metal album that pins you to the wall. My head still hurts from headbanging.

Ratings only

  • Nightfly
  • Psydye
  • MorniumGoatahl
  • Anster
  • Necrotica
  • TheHeavyMetalCat
  • Unitron
  • powermetal2000
  • Immortalis
  • Wilytank
  • jahkhula
  • progpostman
  • luanpedi
  • bratus
  • aecht
  • Zargus
  • Metallica999
  • Tlön
  • Bartje1979
  • NorseGangsta

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