Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime
Horror, Thriller, Suspense, and Mystery Movies
Literature and Writers
Shadow Music


Write Us:

Feo Amante
Be sure to write:
Feo Reader
in the subject line else you may be bounced like JunkeMail


Shadow Music Ryan Harding Review by
Ryan Harding
Immortal: Damned In Black
Osmose Productions

It's rare that a band returns with a new album just a year later. I wish it were a more frequent occurrence, but understandly it's not. One of the last times I can remember someone doing it was KATAKLYSM following SORCERY with TEMPLE OF KNOWLEDGE, an all-time favorite of mine. There were quite a few differences between SORCERY and TEMPLE, to be released so close together.

So how does IMMORTAL: DAMNED IN BLACK relate to last year's AT THE HEART OF WINTER? I'll admit, I was surprised. It's no secret I'm a big fan of IMMORTAL and I expected good things, but I expected further exploration in the HEART OF WINTER style. DAMNED IN BLACK all but dispenses with these formalities to deliver a much faster entity having more in common with BLIZZARD BEASTS and even BATTLES IN THE NORTH. Abbath (guitars, vocals) and Horgh (drums) return with new addition Iscariah on bass. There's more interesting bass work this time as a result, and Pete Tagtren insures it isn't lost in the production. Founding ex-member Demonaz once more contributes the lyrics, ideas concocted by himself and Abbath (a process known as "mindtravelling the darkest paths"). We delve further into the kingdoms of Blashyrk, though this time Blashyrk is never mentioned by name. The bottom line of course is winter and darkness; you can't be damned in black without it.

Take the fast moments of AT THE HEART OF WINTER and mold them with the speedy technical sensibilities of the two albums before that, and you'll find "Triumph,""Wrath from Above," and "In Our Mystic Visions Blest" pleasing territory. The uncharacteristic "My Dimension" is an instant favorite as it incorporates more thrash /death metal stylings; DIB is more in this vein overall than anything Immortal has done previously. Horgh keeps some solid double bass work clicking throughout. Even the more exploring "Against the Tide" and the title track don't entirely forsake the speed element. You get the feeling IMMORTAL wanted to get back to the studio quickly and prove that "holocaust metal" was still well within their ability. "The Darkness that Embrace Me" has a more traditional metal feel to it, somewhere close to Hellhammer though not without Abbath's fret scaling work. The clean channel guitar work that was so vital to the last album takes up less than a minute here, in the title track. Next time there will probably be more, but good thing he uses it so effectively in its brief appearance here.

DAMNED IN BLACK harkens back to the BATTLES and BLIZZARD BEASTS days by way of running time - thirty-five minutes. I've gotta say I've heard albums five minutes shorter than seemed to last longer. DIB is practically over before you know it, and while less layered than AT THE HEART OF WINTER still gives you plenty to experience with repeated listens. "Wrath from Above" stands out as my favorite here, with its thrashy little build-up, speed-driven verses, and melodic breaks. DIB is a triumphant return to the swift stylings of IMMORTAL that were somewhat backburned last time, and should serve us well until next time (however soon that may be).


Perplex SkullPerplex SkullPerplex SkullPerplex SkullPerplex Skull

This review copyright 1999 E.C.McMullen Jr.

Return to Shadow Music


Feo Amante's Horror Home Page and feoamante.com are owned and copyright 1997 - 2006 by E.C.McMullen Jr.
All images and text belong to E.C.McMullen Jr. unless otherwise noted.
All fiction stories belong to their individual authors.
I Will Take you Home