This Friday when Immortal’s tenth studio album War Against All is released to the masses, the first thing you might realize is its total affront of awesomeness to the senses. It’s a record that confirms Immortal is still on top. Very few bands and artists live up to their names, yet War Against All proves that Demonaz — or at least his music — is in fact immortal.
Of course, many black metal fans were crushed that internal issues led to the 2015 departure of Demonaz’s former brother-in-law Abbath, who quickly found success with his solo band. Meanwhile, Immortal went on to release the killer album Northern Chaos Gods (2018). However, the dispute that ensued between Demonaz and drummer Horgh led many metalheads to question whether they would ever hear a new Immortal record.
Now that War Against All is ready for human consumption, there are haters hoping the product that Demonaz has prepared will fail. Thus, they will be vexed to learn that the album is a magnificent triumph. Listening to War Against all makes you want to focus on the classic bands that pioneered the movement. After all, Demonaz is one of the genre’s most important voices that demonstrates time and time again that he conquers no matter what.
Whereas some early black metal figures have morphed into parodies of themselves, Demonaz’s new album delivers pure authenticity. War Against All is straight to the point. It doesn’t bow to trends. Nevertheless, it is bound to prove a crowd-pleaser. It’s an offering that truly honors Immortal’s past and continues to build upon the themes that have defined the band.
On this effort, Demonaz handled the vocals, guitars, songwriting, and lyrics. His charismatic vocal performances command your full attention. Because of Demonaz’s artistic control, War Against All feels uncompromising and, formidable as it may seem, very personal.
Demonaz clearly picked the right crew of responsible and masterful artists to assist him in completing this effort. His decisions feel very tasteful in that regard. Gaahls Wyrd’s Kevin Kvåle hits you with explosive blast beats. Virtuoso Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal, who has been Enslaved’s guitarist since 2002, lends his golden touch on bass. Listeners should know that Ice Dale and Demonaz have already had ample time to establish chemistry because Ice Dale participated in Demonaz’s solo project and played alongside Demonaz in Abbath’s solo band. (Demonaz actually gave Ice Dale his moniker; he also named Enslaved.)
The eight-song War Against All grips you from moment one with the title track. “Thunders of Darkness” follows with lightning intensity. “Nordlandihr” is a heroic instrumental that is followed by the penultimate composition, “Immortal,” and finally “Blashyrkh My Throne” — fans already know that “the profane and majestic realm” of Blashyrkh has dominated Immortal’s albums from Battles in the North (1995) onward. Artfully crafted melodies, grooves, and retro vibes mixed with the spirit of the ’90s keep you hooked.
At just over 38-minutes-long, this ambitious record flies by. Even for this high-quality Blitzkrieg, that feels a bit too short. Nevertheless, the fact that you will be left wanting more is, of course, a compliment to Immortal. After all, as we reflect, we feel compelled to emphasize that War Against All is a thoroughly professional offering in every respect. Even War Against All’s production is spot-on. It hasn’t stripped the music of any of its character. Ice Dale partially carried out recording duties, ex-Enslaved’s Herbrand Larsen is credited with recording and producing, and Enslaved’s Iver Sandøy mastered the album.
If you are feeling hesitant to give War Against All a try, we assure you that it won’t disappoint. This record delivers everything that you could possibly want from the mighty Immortal.
Immortal’s War Against All drops on May 26 via Nuclear Blast. Pre-order your copy today.
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