Finally, an album to make up for that shitty Immortal reunion
It’s been over a year since Immortal, Norway’s frostbitten pioneers of epic black metal, released their reunion album, All Shall Fall, and you know what? It still kinda sucks.
I was as pumped as anyone when I heard Abbath was reuniting the grim trio for a series of live dates in 2006 and nearly had a stroke when they announced the recording of new material. The metal legions had good reason to be optimistic: First there was the majesty of their 2002 swansong, Sons of Northern Darkness, the album with which they gracefully expired to the sound of their long ship sinking beneath the timeless ice flows. Then there was Abbath’s deadly experimentations with his post-Immortal outfit, I.
But All Shall Fall failed to produce for me the same level ecstasy and mountain top elation, as did Sons and At the Heart of Winter. Why? Because a lot of All Shall Fall sounded like shitty versions of old songs. There is no reason to listen to “Unearthly Kingdom” or “Norden on Fire” when you have, respectively, “”Beyond the North Waves” and “At the Heart of Winter.” I’m just glad I didn’t shell out for the special edition digi-pack, complete with a (useless/illogical) double-sided poster and the, ahem, “Special black Immortal plastic bag.” It’s hard to argue that you’re not just cashing in on black metal’s popularity when your new album does absolutely nothing to advance or develop your sound. What unfinished business was there in Blashyrk? Clogged gutter?
If All Shall Fall broke your heart like it did mine, then I have someone you need to meet. Inquisition hail from Columbia, and on their latest blackened opus, Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm (whew!), they’ve cemented my belief that along with Hacavitz and The Chasm, we’re going to be hearing a lot more awesome metal from below the border in years to come.
The first thing that struck me on Ominous Doctrines… was the vocals. Mastermind Dagon’s impression of Abbath’s (Immortal) unearthly croakdom is dead on. Likewise his seemingly endless supply of riffs achieve that same balance of blasting brutality and ringing cold melody that made At the Heart of Winter so epic. Inquisition are also adept at those heaving, glacial breakdowns (the good kind) reminiscent of Immortal classics like “Solarfall.” Yeah, you can cry foul all you want, but their dedication to the sound is sincere (they’ve been kicking around since ’88) and while Immortal have been stuck in first gear since their resurrection, Inquisition aren’t afraid to push the sound into passages of cosmic dementia like on “Desolate Funeral Chant.” Until Immortal get their shit together, I’ll be turning to Inquisition for my fix of frosty epic blackness and dramatic metal poses.
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