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4.30 | 37 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2002

Filed under Black Metal


1. One by One (5:00)
2. Sons of Northern Darkness (3:05)
3. Tyrants (6:18)
4. Demonium (3:57)
5. Within the Dark Mind (7:31)
6. In My Kingdom Cold (4:46)
7. Antarctica (7:13)
8. Beyond the North Waves (8:07)

Total Time: 46:00

Bonus disc
1. Wrath from Above (6:18)
2. Damned in Black (7:40)
3. One by One (5:40)
4. Tyrants, Part 1 (2:00)
5. Tyrants, Part 2 (4:55)
6. Solarfall (6:57)
7. Beyond the North Waves (10:35)

Total Time: 44:05


- Abbath / vocals, guitar, bass (#2 - #8)
- Horgh / drums
- Iscariah / bass (#1)

About this release

Recorded and mixed at Abyss Studios, September 2001.
Produced by Peter Tagtgren.
Co-produced by Abbath and Horgh.
Engineered by Lars Szoke.
Artwork by Bjorn Stian Bjoarvik, Horgh, and Demonaz.
Cover photo by Kay Berg.

Also available as a limited edition quadfolded digipack and as strictly limited edition metal box (limited to 1000 pieces). The metal box was only available via Nuclear Blast mailorder and sold out before it was actually released.

Re-released in 2007 by Nuclear Blast as a 4x10" Leather LP Box.
Re-released in 2008 by Back On Black as 2x12" heavy vinyl in gatefold sleeve.
Re-released in November 2005 as deluxe version together with the DVD Live at the B.B. King New York.

Despite being credited as bassist on all tracks, Iscariah revealed in a 2011 interview ( that due to timing reasons in the studio Abbath recorded the bass on all tracks except One by One.

Thanks to Prog Geo, Vehemency, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Not long ago I said to a friend that I was not interested in Norwegian black metal but that I had ordered Peter Beste's coffee table book of the Norwegian black metal scene because I was interested in the photography and the culture. A month later I was trying to decide which would be good albums as starters into this notorious and dark music scene. Another friend suggested Immortal's “Sons of Northern Darkness” and I decided to take his advice and added it to my first four black metal albums.

As it has turned out, I have become interested in Immortal. Abbath is such a character, and Immortal's fantasy northern winter world is a little more comfortable to me than all the hail Satan lyrics that I imagine are lurking out there in the world of Norwegian black metal. Not that I am offended for religious reasons but rather I quickly tire of any pontificating in music lyrics, be they religious or political. When I read that many of the lyrics of Immortal's songs were inspired by the Norwegian winter scenery, the forests and the mountains, I felt I could understand that much better.

First off, I like the sound of this album. The guitar tone is not really heavy but together with the bass the two instruments weigh in together pretty heavily. The drumming is solid and the double bass is put to good use without being relied upon too much. The opening track, “One by One” is a great way to kick off the album and grab my interest as a new listener. It's a great thundering, epic-sounding track. The album continues in a similar vein with “Demonium” offering some blast beats and a speedy tempo in parts, a style I think is more like their older work based on what I have heard from “Pure Holocaust” and “Battles in the North”.

Each of the eight songs here has its own sound and style, making it easy to differentiate between tracks even after the first couple of listens. I find some extreme metal bands follow the same recipe for destruction song after song and sometimes I wonder what ever happened to making albums like “Screaming for Vengeance” or “Number of the Beast” where each song was a creation independent of other tracks and sounded that way. The songs on this album are distinct enough from one another and I am glad for that.

I will say that by the time we are half way through “Antarctica” the fascination with frost, ice, snow, coldness, and bleakness is starting to wear a little thin for me. This track and the album closer, “Beyond the North Waves” are good enough on their own but listening to the album through, I find myself approaching the “meh” stage before “Antarctica” is over. Still, a consistent album in sound and atmosphere.

Finally, I want to comment on Abbath's vocals. I was surprised at how similar they are to Quorthon's of Bathory. Then later I checked out more black metal bands and I have come to the conclusion that Quorthon inspired a whole movement of vocal style. In one part of “Demonium” when the song is charging along, Abbath vocalizes something that immediately reminded me of Popeye the Sailor. That has stuck with me now, too. And so if death metal vocals can be called Cookie Monster vocals then I think black metal vocals could be called Popeye vocals. Or perhaps they already are. Well, if anything, Immortal made me want to go out and buy another Bathory album.

Anyway, “Sons of Northern Darkness” is good enough that I want to get a couple more Immortal albums. And Abbath is such a funny character to see in interviews!
The seventh Immortal album Sons of Northern Darkness was their last to be released in their original run of activity (it wouldn't be followed up until All Shall Fall in 2009). Officially it bears the same three-piece line-up as performed on Damned in Black, however bassist Iscariah later revealed that he only actually played on the song One by One and the bass on everything else was played by Abbath.

Perhaps more so than with any consecutive two Immortal albums since Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism and Pure Holocaust, Sons of Northern Darkness really does seem to pick up where Damned in Black left off. This is black metal with very strong thrash metal elements. If this had ended up the last Immortal album though they'd have really gone out on a high as it's the closest they've ever come to matching the perfection that is their 1999 album At the Heart of Winter, to the point that despite my firm belief that At the Heart of Winter deserves the recognition as their best it's sometimes really hard to pick between the two. Damned in Black was excellent but Sons of Northern Darkness perfects what the band set out to do with that album and is excellent from the opening thrasher One by One to the lengthy closer Beyond the North Waves.

Immortal's experiment in blending their classic black metal style with thrash metal gets back on track on Sons of Northern Darkness, a confident and intriguing album which on In My Kingdom Cold presents what might be the perfect one song introduction to the frostbitten and fantasy-inspired Immortal aesthetic. Sweeping, epic and majestic (to the point where I could swear they were listening to a lot of Bal-Sagoth at some points, such as on the closing Beyond the North Waves), this is the sort of followup the classic At the Heart of Winter truly deserved. Along with Pure Holocaust and At the Heart of Winter, this is top tier Immortal.

Members reviews

Prog Geo
I have spent many hours listening to this album.It was I think the first Immortal album that I bought and listened to.I love it!I consider it a classic!A very frozen album.It has the northern pride(like all the albums of Immortal).It's fast,angry,atmospheric in some moments and iced.Abbath has done the best vocals here in my opinion.Iscariah plays well.Horgh proves for another time that is a great drummer.This album has some fantastic riffs that they will stuck in your head.

My favorite tracks are:One by one(dynamic beginning with blastbeats),Sons of northern darkness(a great black/thrash track),Demonium(maybe my favorite track from the album,mindblowing and really dark and when Abbath says "The demonium"is just splendid)and In my kingdom cold(power and pride)

A must-have for the black metallers.A must-listen for metallers.A black metal diamond!

My grade:8/10

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