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Immortal - Blizzard Beasts
Review: To surpass the sheer intensity of previous experiments in high-intensity speed and melody, Immortal furthered the evolution of their music by incorporation of a surprising ancestor to much of the innovation in current metal: progressive death metal. The simple song structures of black metal have modulated into more symphonic death metal arrangements, using the same meta-effect of narrative composition that makes black metal both industrial- and folk-reminiscent at times but with each song broken into sequences of riffs, built from a meta-phrase, crafted from from structures which lack the flowing melodic resonant rhythm-synchronization of Pure Holocaust, and also eschew the stamp-y, high-speed ripping sequence of material most likely heard off Battles in the North; the melodic inspiration comes from the style of their first album, but built from psychotic dissonant elements in a futuristic technical style, and flows through rigid and surprisingly, well, death metal, riffs.
Intricate subchambers of reaction provide space for iteration of higher level events, and for that there are many stop-start and percussive riffs, muted and perhaps even tone-centric in the way of death metal composition, within a crazy framework of black metal ideas: the emergent melody riding simple harmonic progressions, the dissonance and angular geometries of powerchords building structures over the algebraic mirrors of the riffs.
Instead of the bursting blast of polyrhythmic drums, Immortal utilize more conventional drumbeats with some modifications in a style reminiscent of early Emperor. These beats are reasonably executed in long phrases with offbeat fills and intense violence; there is more immediately discernible complexity to this sound, which nostalgizes the old drumroar as essentially more extreme.
Of course the insane voice, unchanged, howls in the wind over the din below, directing the chaos symphony toward climax. Guiding the songs, bent from different views of the same abstract evocative events, the rasping ghoulish comedic voice blazes a purely mythological lyrical path in symbology and motion that resolves into chaotic lawlessness. Similarly, themes emerge from the differences between notes expanded to greater conceptual levels, and rhythms work themselves into resolution in the granular objectivism of deconstructive power-chord riffing. The off-beat sense of Prong, the riff arrangement and integration of Morbid Angel or Slayer, the melody of later DarkThrone with the atonality, genius, sheer composition of their own creation, are each foundational elements of the power to this music.