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IMMORTAL - War Against All cover
3.89 | 11 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2023

Filed under Black Metal


1. War Against All (3:26)
2. Thunders of Darkness (3:48)
3. Wargod (4:38)
4. No Sun (4:16)
5. Return to Cold (4:31)
6. Nordlandihr (7:12)
7. Immortal (4:14)
8. Blashyrkh My Throne (5:58)

Total Time: 38:03


- Demonaz / Vocals, Guitars

Guest/session musicians:
- Ice Dale / Bass
- Kevin Kvåle / Drums

About this release

Nuclear Blast
CD, Vinyl, Box Set (CD + Vinyl), Digital
Released 26th May 2023

Thanks to Nightfly for the addition


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

The band called Immortal in the 2010s going into the 2020s isn't the same band as they existed in their 1990s heyday. Abbath, the one mainstay since their debut album Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism in 1992, has been gone since 2015 after the unthinkable happened: he and Demonaz, now the sole full band member on War Against All, the tenth album under the Immortal name, parted ways. There have been legal disputes and now the two are off doing their own things in the black metal genre, Demonaz with Immortal and Abbath under his own moniker. The last album Northern Chaos Gods still had drummer Horgh to offer a bit of continuity from All Shall Fall, their sole album of their first comeback, but this time he has also gone. As Demonaz wasn't able to actually play on any Immortal album between At the Heart of Winter and All Shall Fall due to severe tendonitis (although remained a full member of the band) we find ourselves in the unusual situation where on War Against All there is no musician actually performing in common with those who performed on some of Immortal's best known records.

This is just preamble, because so long as there is one of them performing - Abbath or Demonaz - it's a true Immortal album. And I think that Demonaz is doing pretty well in his new role as lead vocalist as well as being able to play guitar again. This isn't the kind of black metal album that's going to break the mould and neither does anyone expect it to be. Immortal was part of the original early 1990s Norwegian scene and no matter what, they've always been true to their roots.

While I miss Abbath to an extent as the voice of Immortal, I do think that between the two albums Demonax has now done under the Immortal name since they went their separate ways have one-upped Abbath's output. I don't know if there is any bad blood between these two these days about the way things went down between them, or with Horgh, but it feels like if something holds the right to a last laugh, it's Demonaz. He was always the primary writer of Immortal, especially for lyrics, and that has showed in Immortal's recent output. With that said, I'd love for these two to put aside any differences they have and restore the band to what it's supposed to be: Abbath and Demonaz, performing together in a way that hasn't been recorded on an Immortal album since Blizzard Beasts in 1997.
Kev Rowland
I don’t have the energy to try and encapsulate everything which has happened with Immortal over the years and the legal battles which have taken place, but since the departure of Abbath in 2015 Demonaz has again started playing guitar and also took on lead vocals. Drummer Horgh is no longer in the band, leaving Demonaz as the sole member (this was completed with producer/bassist/guitarist Arve Isdal (Enslaved) and guest drummer Kevin Kvåle (Gaahls Wyrd)). Immortal have long been thought of as one of the top black metal bands around, due to the importance of their first seven albums, with the last of these being 2002’s ‘Sons of Northern Darkness’. However, since then there has been a singular dearth of releases with just one album featuring Abbath, Demonaz and Horgh, and this is the second since Abbath departed and the first without Horgh since 1997’s ‘Blizzard Beasts’.

Okay, history lesson over, so what is this actually like? Well, it’s bloody good, that’s what. Demonaz stayed with the band as lyricist after he lost the ability to play guitar due to acute tendonitis back in the Nineties, but an operation in 2013 allowed him to play again, and he is obviously relishing the opportunity while he also shows he could have taken on a more leading role in the vocal department as he sounds as if he has always been doing this instead of just recently. This is a statement album if there ever was one, with Demonaz showing he is proud to be working under the name Immortal and is determined the music lives up to the legacy. This is not a cash-in, but rather a concerted powerful effort of someone who wants to restore what the band used to be about, driving the scene forward. Okay, so we could have done without the instrumental “Nordlandhir” as it is just too twee and nice when compared with the rest of the album, but Demonaz more than makes up for it with the likes of “Immortal” where he tells us he is a god of the North, “I am immortal, my spirit of ice, My blood is frozen, I dwell in the cold”. This has all the signs of a band reborn, with what is easily the best album from Immortal in many years. If you have wondered what has been happening with this once-great band then wonder no more, as they are back with a vengeance.
siLLy puPPy
While IMMORTAL seems like it lives up to its name as one of the earliest examples of second wave black metal coming out of the frigid Norwegian angsty breeding grounds, this band has been subject to what the majority suffer as the decades cede to the next. In this case founder Abbath and later arrivals Horgh and Apollyon jumping ship after “All Shall Fall.” Nobody really expected anything significant ever to come out of IMMORTAL again but then fans we’re surprised to find “Northern Chaos Gods” faithfully keeping the second wave back metal flame alive in 2018, a year when most pioneering black metal acts had drifted into myriad directions. Whittled down to a mere trio that album kicked as like a muthafucker and to my ears at least promoted IMMORTAL to ranks of keepers of the old school flame.

Well it was inevitable a following album would ensue and here in 2023 five years later WAR AGAINST ALL has emerged from the icy fjords to once again show the whippersnappers how old school black metal is done only this time minus Horgh. Welcome to the Demonaz show! Yep, the sole founding member left to steer the IMMORTAL ship has pretty much taken control of the helm and recruited the talents of seasoned bassist Ice Dale who has played with many a band including Enslaved as well as drummer Kevin Kvåle of various lesser known bands such as Gaahis Wyrd, Harm and Horizon Ablaze. Sticking to the faithful playbook of the true and tried second wave sound, WAR AGAINST ALL follows in the footsteps of its predecessor by eschewing any experimental developments or journey into the forever cross-pollinating black metal universe. No way! This album just blows out your eardrums.

Pretty much the same shtick, a second wave black metal album set to 21st century head banging features the usual tremolo picking, raspy vocals, buried bass lines and three chord bombast that was quite popular some 30 years ago. However as Darkthrone has mostly abandoned its black metal roots and while bands like Enslaved went totally progressive, the new rendition of IMMORTAL has gravitated to the instant gratification that made their earliest albums so endearing however original fans of this style are also 30 years older and presumable more refined in their musical tastes and the younger audience is all about more mind-warping sophisticated black metal that veers into the psychedelic, avant-garde and progressive worlds. Nevertheless WAR AGAINST WAR is a decent if inferior album that takes on the old school charm.

Things have slowed down a bit from “Northern Chaos Gods.” That album rubbed me the right way because of its speed fueled savagery and incessant bombast that kept my adrenaline fueled for the entire run. WAR AGAINST ALL seems to have taken its approach to going even further back into the demo stages of the second wave. The songs are simpler, less energetic and the production is also less enthralling. With all IMMORTAL has been through its amazing that any band member has kept this project for so long but i guess when your brand name has such universal recognition it’s hard to put a cash cow to rest. All in all, WAR AGAINST ALL is a decent album that features more softer moments than its predecessor. Sure there is absolutely nothing new under the sun. IMMORTAL fans will want to have this as it’s a worthy addition to the canon but ultimately it’s one of the weakest albums from the band in a long time. The immortality may be running thin.

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