It’s five years already since the release of “Northern Chaos Gods.” Acclaimed by both fans and critics, Demonaz and Horgh conjured up some “Ravendark” songs (see also: https://metal-exposure.com/immortal-northern-chaos-gods/). Now Demonaz is back. And I really mean Demonaz because Horgh isn’t part of the line-up anymore (you can read the gossip tabloids if you want to know more, I am not going to delve in what happened). Aided with the mercenaries Ice Dale (guitar) and Kevin Kvåle (Gaahl’s Wyrd) on drums it really feels like Demonaz is set upon a “War Against All” since this now can be regarded purely as a solo effort.
Let me point out that the newest spawn “War Against All” can‘t reach the icy peaks of “Pure Holocaust,” “Sons of Northern Darkness” or even their previous record. It feels a bit like a light version. That doesn’t mean “War Against All” isn’t a good record. It contains more than enough quality songs and uses all the riffs and themes which makes Immortal such a household black metal name. In 2018, I was impressed how excellent and fitting the vocals of Demonaz were. It resembles Abbath’s signature croaks yet is a harsher, grim and fierce. In fact it surpasses the vocals of our favourite crab dancer. And it is more than just that this album gets some spotlight, especially because the last release of the previous band member simply isn’t my cup of black tea.
With “War Against All” the vocals sound just as ferocious as in 2018 and start with two compositions which are top notch. The title track and follow up “Thunders Of Darkness” contain some solid song writing, killer riffs and are fierce, ferocious and typical Immortal tracks.
With “Wargod” they put less pedal to the metal and remind me a lot of the classic song “Tyrants.” It gives the listener a well-deserved breather. “No Sun” mainly focuses on catchy riffs and melody and gains speed in the end of the song.
“Return to Cold” has some subtle keyboards enhancing the atmosphere but contains less grimness and lingers just a tad too much known Immortal tropes. “Norlandhir” is purely instrumental. With a duration of seven minutes this epic song takes some effort listening but eventually manages to persuade me with its simple, yet effective, riffs and melodies. This song again provides a well-deserved breather before the frost giants go berserk in the next song “Immortal” which is harsh, grim, and fast yet melodic and sums up everything I love about this band.
The album concludes with “Blashyrk My Throne,” which sees that this album has a fitting end. The intro, melodies on this track show what Demonaz is capable of. And that is: creating great epic, Bathoryesque, catchy but haunting tunes.
It is a difficult task rating this album. When I compare this album with their previous spawns I can conclude that there’s little to no change from the icy world Immortal has created throughout three decades, both with lyrics as the song-writing itself.. Although I really enjoyed this album I must admit that “Northern Chaos Gods” has the upper hand in song-writing and quality. On the other hand the 38-minutes presented on this album are over before you know it and really contain some solid songs in signature style.
Reflecting on this album I must say it isn’t the best album in the discography. But does this really matter? No, because this album is more than good enough to lead you through the gates of Blashyrk once again and give you a freezing blast of good old times. And that is worth your appraisal because after more than 30 years this genre-defining act still manages to pack a punch, albeit a bit softer than before, and makes me hungry for a live performance. The chance that this will happen is very remote but we’ll see. Perhaps the gods of Blashyrk will grand me my wish in due time. Fans can add this album to their collection easily. In the meanwhile: enjoy this album!
Rating: 7,7/ 10
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release date: 26th May 2023
- War Against All
2. Thunders Of Darkness
4. No Sun
5. Return To Cold
8. Blashyrkh My Throne