Precis: Given time, I think more people will rethink these outputs, myself included.
Now understandably, this discussion was brought up tonight around the time I was on bong-rip #5, and the 2nd 40oz. I think it's valid nonetheless. When people refer to the "bad" Immortal albums (ATHOW, DIB, SOND and ASF), are they speaking about their quality as independent albums, or in reference to previous work, or is it impossible to separate quality in relation to career?
I think that all three approaches confront something important.
1) As independent entities, Post-Demonaz (on guitar) Immortal albums aren't bad, in fact they're very good. This is quite evident.
2) In reference to Immortal's previous work, they stink balls. This is quite evident.
3) How important is it to refer back to previous works? Are we asking too much? Maybe so, maybe not.
Immortal produced self-evident quality work from Pure Holocaust to Blizzard Beasts. DFM is debatable to most people I've spoken with, including myself who doesn't really like that album. With the change of guitarists from Demonaz to Abbath, the later really shocked us all in his adeptness in an instrument he was not wholly acustomed to. He kept the band going, taking it in a new direction considering the previous lineage was not continuable due to circumstances out of anyone's control. Making the best out of a bad situation, Immortal produced four albums, ATHOW and SOND being the highest achievement of the four, the other two living in the shadow of their previous efforts. Are we asking too much by calling this stuff shit? I think so.
Immortal might have cheated with their drumming on Pure Holocaust and Battles in the North. Two snares springed on eachother and possible sped up drums (still debatable), plus triggers. They finally draft a man who can really play this stuff (Horgh) and he follows not one step in the direction of the award winning blizzard-blast-fest of the signiture Immortal style. Immortal was capable of writing great music with Abbath on bass, so why was it necessary for Abbath to move to guitar? Surely the Demonaz-styled riffs could have been emulated by him on bass and they could have auditioned for a guitarist similar to Demonaz in ability and creativeness. The image of face-painted battle-hessians degeneratedn into KISS-worship and novelty. Death Metal became a crutch for their "Black Metal," there is no "Thrash" in that music, anyone can see that. For all of the money they made on tours, from album sales on Nuclear Blast, and t-shirt availability, they became a joke to the antagonists of Black Metal, where as once they were godly and untouchable. Are we asking too much? I think not.
This is a good topic to brood upon. Especially if you are an Immortal enthusiast.
Sellouts or not, nobody will ever be able to convince me that there is a Black Metal band more important than Immortal, unless in the unlikely situation where a better band arises.