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    Immortal-Damned In Black (Black Metal) (2.5/5)

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    skeletorissatan

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    Immortal-Damned In Black (Black Metal) (2.5/5)

    Post by skeletorissatan on Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:28 am

    As any experimental band in the world could tell you, experimentation is only worth doing if the band doing it knows their limits. This is true of every genre, from psychadelic rock through to the darkest, coldest, most extreme genres of music. There are very few black metal bands who can claim to deviate from the written formula as much as Immortal without being heralded as a symphonic band, and with good reason. Immortal are a completely unique band, who were able to shy away from the lo-fi production, Satan obsessed lyrics and constant tremolo picking that their black metal peers Mayhem and other guilty parties were using, and create their own sound. However, even Immortal have their limits, as was proven by their album Damned In Black.

    Everything about this album is completely ridiculous, from the frequent thrash riffs spread throughout this release to the weakest black metal screams found in the genre, the over reliance on pinched harmonics on a number of songs, and even the ridiculous cover art. If this was not clearly attempting to be a black metal album, then maybe it could be taken a little more seriously, but just one listen to the first five minutes of the album will convince any self respecting listener to turn it off. This is an insult to the legacy Immortal have left behind.

    To begin with, scattered all across this album, from cover to cover, their are a number of riffs that would not be out of place on a thrash metal album, and really do not fit the constant blast beating found here. For heavens sake, the very first riff is enough evidence of this. Listen to it and imagine it being on a 1980's Slayer release, it would fit like a glove. This is not the guitars of a black metal release, no matter how experimental. When the band does set into their more "traditional" riffs is where the guitar work really succeeds, particularly in the closing track, the title track, which is definately one of the more typical black metal songs on the album. The riffs are fairly solid in their own right, they just embrace too much of a thrash sound to them, and this really should not be happening to a band as revered as Immortal in the black metal scene.

    The drumming basically dictates the tempo of the record, and does its job well on this album, being my favourite instrument on here. Horgh truly is flawless behind his kit on here, playing some super fast blast beats, but is never afraid to slow things down and play some really creative mid paced beats, that are just a testament as to how intelligent this musician truly is. The drums on this release are nothing less than flawless.

    The solos from Abbath are pretty nice, being scattered all over the shop throughout here, and always being the ridiculously fast shred solos that one would expect from one of the most well known black metal musicians of all time. These are the finest solos Immortal has ever put on a release, and really do a lot to give it some amount of credibility, being well played and slotted into the music perfectly. Vocally, Abbath is not one of the more powerful members of the black metal scene, having a completely unique, throaty voice that occasionally works but usually just sounds laughable. This is not too much of a problem, however, as this was the vocal style he took upon after the legendary Pure Holocaust.

    Wrath From Above is the thrashiest song on here, and also the best by a long way, surprisingly enough. Perhaps it is just because on this song everything does not feel too disjointed, and there are enough clever riffs and pieces of superbly creative drumming to hold everything in place, whilst Abbath shrieks his lungs out over the top. This song gives the album its much needed killer track.

    This is Immortal's worst release, but that does not make it terrible. This is a very listenable record, but has a number of flaws. The production is considerably better than much black metal, and each instrument is crystal clear, enabling the listener to hear each members clear talent, but it is plagues with weak moments, and the thrash feel to sections of the songs really does nothing to help this album. 2.5/5

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