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Immortal - Damned in Black
Review: When musicians lose that inner excitement that motivates them to push themselves beyond their own limits to create something they would be chomping at the bit to hear, what replaces it is a functionalism that results in the production of finer musical moments than their earlier work, but a discohesive whole because there is no longer anything complete to say, but a few flashes of inspiration mixed into a standard song format that accomplishes the task.
They have become a backed into a corner as people wearing suits and ties, grabbing quick chances to do things they enjoy amidst a stream of obligations. The linearization of Immortal's music undertaken on this album has sections of such clarity that one wishes for that experience in the earlier work of this band, but it is mixed into a pemmican of uptight heavy metal riffs and post-Swedish tugging rhythms that get closer to the bounciness of rock than this band would ever have attempted in its heyday. Nothing here is bad, but nothing is organized into any meaningful patterns, so the impression left on the listener is of brilliant studio musicians assigned a rockish, crowd-pleasing, deathy heavy metal album.
Their trademark ear for melody and pacing of introductory material has not left them, and vast portions of these songs resemble similar work from their previous death metal masterpiece, "Blizzard Beasts," but there is none of the cohesion and insight that marked such works. Undoubtedly, this album will outsell everything they've done previously, but it will penetrate a small distance into the souls of its listeners, and while more may like it, there will not be the few who fall utterly in love with it as was possible with "Pure Holocaust" and "Diabolical Full Moon Mysticism" in addition to the previously named death metal work.