Tracklist:1. Battles In The North 2. At The Stormy Gates Of Mist 3. Through The Halls Of Eternity 4. Moonrise Fields Of Sorrow 5. Cursed Realm Of The Winterdemons 6. Throned By Blackstorms 7. Grim And Frostbitten Kingdoms 8. Descent Into Eminent Silence 9. Circling Above In Time Before 10. Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)
Immortal – Battles In The North
IMMORTAL is one of those legendary Black Metal-bands nowadays, releasing quality material for about a decade. For me, the highlight had always been “Battles In The North”, until the latest epos “Sons Of Northern Darkness” was released.
“Battles In The North”, released in 1995, IMMORTAL invites you to the world of frost snow and other cold things called Blashyrkh. When you see the song-titles I think it’s pretty clear what the lyrical concept on “Battles In The North” is, so no need to go into that. Then the music. What I like so much about this record is the somewhat marching tempo of the songs. Where the later “Blizzard Beasts” was made to be very brutal, the speed on this record is a little bit slower, but to a greater effect than on the sometimes hasty “Blizzard Beasts”. Of course “Battles In The North” is still brutal as hell. And like a winterstorm raging furiously over your town, this CD traps you in an awed frozen state until the last tunes of this record fade away…
There are so damn many good tracks on this record, take the title track, or “Through The Halls Of Eternity”, “Cursed Realm Of The Winterdemons”, the brutal “Grim And Frostbitten Kingdoms”, and the IMMORTAL-classic “Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)”, which stands out cause of the fantastic clean riff near the end of the song (and of course the video of the songs has been broadcasted many times on TV). But overall not a bad track to be found on this record.
Now, when I said that “Sons Of Northern Darkness” is the only album that has been able to better this record, I was a little bit unfair. “Battles In The North” is in no way like “Sons Of Northern Darkness”, IMMORTAL has changed a lot in recent years (like the sad departure of guitar player Demonaz due to arm injuries and the addition of the spectacular drummer Horgh to the band), but it’s good to see that the band is still going strong. “Battles In The North” is a timeless IMMORTAL-classic if you ask me, and fans of the band should have this in their collection, as well as other Black Metal-lovers and people that want their collection to be interesting!
review c/o Metal Observer