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Immortal is my favourite Norwegian black metal band. I love just about everything the band has done. After 7 years of studio silence Immortal is back with All Shall Fall and as a fan I’m pretty fucking ecstatic.
Right from the opening notes of title song All Shall Fall you know that this is the same old Immortal but with a few new tricks thrown in. The song starts off with a riff that had me thinking of Battles in the North although with a much better production and greater emphasis on tempos. The song also has a fantastic anthemic feel and the second half of the song is awesome with a terrific build up and Horgh’s drumming taking the song forward. The Rise of Darkness could have been on either of the last two albums with its opening thrash riff but again the break and transition between riffs is awesome. The band has never sounded this smooth before and the dynamics of their song writing seem a bit more varied and developed.
Hordes of War is total Blood Fire Death worship and a return to the band’s roots while Norden on Fire sounds like it could have been on At the Heart of Winter. Arctic Swarm sounds like it could have been on Blizzard Beasts except that the songwriting and structure of these songs is quite unlike anything the band has done before. There’s a lot of care taken in the transition between riffs and the band go from all out speed to slightly slowed down, slightly melodic sections and make it sound seamless and very natural. Mount North reminds me a fair bit of Mountains of Might in terms of that icy cold atmosphere that the band is so awesome at and is another terrific song while album closer Unearthly Kingdom reprises the sounds on Sons of Northern Darkness with an epic mid paced melodic feel. This song is an awesome end to the album and probably the best song here.
Immortal definitely has a few new tricks up its sleeve with All Shall Fall. There’s a greater emphasis on classic heavy metal songwriting. Abbath’s time with I seem to have had some impact on the songs here and all of it works superbly. Abbath’s guitar playing is top notch on these seven songs and his song writing is getting better and better. Horgh’s drumming is, for want of a better word, fucking awesome. He sounds solid at all times and knows exactly when to lay on the blast beats and double bass and when to ease up on the pummeling. Also, for the first time ever with the band, the bass is actually clear and audible and along with Horgh’s drumming, Apollyon creates a solid back bone for the riffs.
At the same time, the band is not doing anything overtly new. It’s all more like a fine tuning of the machine and just slight new touches that can probably be attributed to time spent doing other things. Also, the Abyss studio production job is awesome. The band retains their unique sound and trademark guitar tones but they’re also clearer than they ever were.
Overall, this is an album that I can find no fault with. Its Immortal doing what they’ve always done but with a few new tricks. All Shall Fall is as good as anything this band has done over the years and at the same time is accessible enough to reach out to a new set of fans. All Shall Fall is another favourite this year and an album that just made me very happy.
Label: Nuclear Blast
Year of release: 2009
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