Total Time: 38:03
Label: Nuclear Blast
IMMORTAL is a huge chapter in the Black Metal genre and one of the bands that if its members decide at last to reunite, will cause an earthquake in the Metal community. During the last years the band has been overcome by the legal battle between Demonaz, Abbath and Horgh over IMMORTAL’s rights. The truth is that the band’s members have not given any details about how they were led to this fight and how it finally ended with Demonaz acquiring the rights of the band. So, and somehow unexpectedly, I would say in 2018 they released the very good record entitled “Northern Chaos Gods”. In that album Horg was still in the band and participated on drums while Peter Tägtgren took over the bass. Five years after that record, Demonaz decided to return again as IMMORTAL, but with a different lineup. So, “War Against All” features Kevin Kvåle (GHAALS WYRD) on drums and Ice Dale (ENSLAVED) on bass/guitar.
The album starts quite powerful with the title track and “Thunders of Darkness”, which are two classic aggressive Black Metal songs. With the song “Wargod”, (which reminds me the song “Tyrants” from “Sons Of Northern Darkness”) we travel to the classic epic, mid-tempo IMMORTAL’s vibes, with the characteristic melodic/acoustic part in the middle inspired by the mighty BATHORY. Similar music paths are being followed with “Return To Cold”, “Blashyrkh My Throne”, while in “No Sun” and “Immortal” there is a combination of slow rhythm and some raw Black Metal outbursts. The album includes also “Nordlandihr”, an instrumental song, much more melodic compared to other songs, standing out for its differentiation.
So, Demonaz does not offer us musically something that we did not expect. The difference compared to the previous album is the quality of the songs, as “War Against All” is one step lower. In order not to be unfair, I did not try to compare it with IMMORTAL’s albums before “All Shall Fall”. So, as “Northern Chaos Gods” grabbed you right from the first audition and still, even after five years, sounds pleasant, “War Against All” seems to be trapped. The compositions are a repetition of ideas that we have heard from IMMORTAL several times in the past, with this particular characteristic being quite strong on the record. For example, since the release of “Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)” in 1994 and “Battles In The North” album, the majority of the band’s songs are following a similar musical structure.
I believe that five years were a quite significant period for Demonaz to release a qualitatively superior album and not a result that simply recycles the band’s older musical ideas. “War Against All” may not be a bad record but it doesn’t sound particularly inspired, and the repetitive parts are tiring, without being able to grab the listener’s attention. Demonaz follows a safe musical approach without any particular surprises and a willingness to escape from this “safe zone”. I would personally characterize the new record as the weakest and most “boring moment” in the band’s discography. Although it will surely satisfy some die-hard fans, “War Against All” will be quite easily forgotten in the future.
Editor: Nikos Manousis
Related Link: IMMORTAL – Official Page