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Review: Immortal - Sons Of Northern Darkness
Sons Of Northern Darkness

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2002
Duration: 50:08
Tracks: 8
Genre: Black Metal


Review online: February 27, 2002
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.5/5 (90%) (54 Votes)

This is Immortal's first album with Nuclear Blast, after about 10 years with Osmose Productions. One major advantage of this change of label is that unlike Osmose, Nuclear Blast do not copy-protect their CDs and therefore I am able to listen to this great album on my PC at work (hint, hint Osmose...) Yes, I just said great album. While some had feared that Immortal's change of label would mean a softening or commercialization of their sound, it is not so. I rank "Sons Of Northern Darkness" up there with 1999's "At The Heart Of Winter" - that is, a couple of notches above 2000's "Damned In Black". Unfortunately the guys still seem to consider themselves handsome - I'd rather get cover art such as the one that appeared on "At The Heart...". But let's focus on the music.

The album is at a pretty "slow" pace compared to pre-"At The Heart..." material. Immortal have definitely taken a step away from the speedier stuff to play in a style more influenced by traditional heavy metal. In other words, you won't be hammered by 50 minutes of blast beats while listening to this album. :) The material here is heavy, slow to mid-paced, and definitely aggressive, with some melodic touches here and there. I prefer this "new" style over their early albums' (which I still like a lot, mind you) as the band not only plays it very well, but also seems to be very comfortable songwriting-wise. Not a weak song on this album, and some very memorable ones, such as the opener "One by One" and "Tyrants". The guitar work is still typical Immortal, recognizable as soon as the first song begins. Abbath has a unique touch that makes just about every guitar riff sound "cold", raw and razor sharp and his voice only adds to the northern cold atmosphere of the music. Ok that was a bit cliché. ;) Overall the sound is excellent. Unlike German thrashers Destruction, the Abyss Studio sound is quite fitting to Immortal and doesn't sound too "clean". I could bore you with more details but I'll end this here by saying that this album is simply awesome.

Demonaz, while not back in the band as a musician (who knows if that'll ever happen?) is still contributing to the lyrics. "Contributing" is an understatement since he wrote the lyrics to all eight songs. :)

2002 is still young but I feel this album is going to make a lot of top 10's at the end of the year. Ever since I've received this album I've had a hard time taking it out of my CD player, I just can't stop playing it. Those who liked the band's last two releases should get this immediately. Nuclear Blast definitely made a good move by adding those Norwegian metallers to their roster.

More about Immortal...
Review: All Shall Fall (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: At The Heart Of Winter (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Blizzard Beasts (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Damned In Black (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Northern Chaos Gods (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
Review: Northern Chaos Gods (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Northern Chaos Gods (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: War Against All (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: War Against All (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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