Immortal - Blizzard Beasts
Osmose Productions
Black Metal
9 songs (28:56)
Release year: 1997
Immortal, Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Kyle
Archive review

A common curse that often seemed to befall early Norwegian Black Metal bands is a fourth album that came after three classic, genre-defining records that forever worsens the band’s reputation; not necessarily among the general metal population, but with the “Tr00 Necro” Black Metal fans that believe change and originality is unacceptable when it comes to their favorite groups of corpse-painted fiends. It happened with Darkthrone on Panzerfaust (Which I personally believe is their best work, and technically is their fourth overall release), Dimmu Borgir on Spiritual Black Dimensions, and with Satyricon on Rebel Extravaganza. But what of Immortal, one of the most important bands of the Norwegian Black Metal scene, on their fourth full-length record Blizzard Beasts? Depending on whom you ask, you’ll receive mixed opinions. Yes, this is the first stepping stone towards Immortal’s current blend of Black and Thrash, and a brave lunge in a direction that the band had previously not attempted that in the end works quite well, but there will still always be the nay-sayers that will bash this album simply because of its lack of constant blast beats and the unique, newfound style of Thrash-influenced stop-start guitars.

Blizzard Beasts begins with a short, harsh, atmospheric intro, setting the stage for the chaos to come with howling winds and shrieks provided by the always-excellent Abbath. After this, the title track begins, and from the very first riffs you know that this is a much different sound than that of Pure Holocaust or Battles In The North; Blast beats don’t take up quite as much of the music as before, and at moments throughout the track the quick, driving double bass is contrasted nicely against the more reasonably paced snare hits. The riffs find a great balance between open and palm-muted tremolo riffing, with power chords littered all about. As said before, they often start and stop quite suddenly, which adds a more technical feeling overall and makes Blizzard Beasts much less chaotic than its overbearing predecessors; it gives you both more to listen to and more room to breathe when you’re not being brutalized by endless, cacophonic (Though catchy!) tremolo lines.

Speaking of catchiness, Blizzard Beasts may not be as instantly accessible as Immortal’s previous records, however, ironically enough, this is where the band began to build upon the melodic elements of Battles In The North that would define their later albums, particularly At The Heart Of Winter. Mountains Of Might is a perfect example of this, showcasing a fantastic intro on synths that's similar to early Dimmu Borgir, and a slower pace than the average Immortal song; Nebular Ravens Winter has a brief but memorable lead guitar melody in the intro; and Frostdemonstorm has another short but effective melody in the middle played on a cleanly distorted guitar. There really should be more of these moments on Blizzard Beasts as they are some of the best on the album, but Immortal more than makes up for it on all their releases after this one.

Blizzard Beasts is far from Immortal’s best album, but after all, this is an experimental album of sorts. They jumped into territory that they may have not felt entirely comfortable with, and the end result turned out quite good. It’s definitely not the place to start if you want to get into Immortal, and not everyone will like it, but I am extremely fond of Immortal for the fact that they never, EVER make the same record twice. They took the new, Thrashy prospect of Blizzard Beasts and to this day continue to mold it into something more, adding more and more melody and straying farther and farther away from their roots all the time, which is in no way a bad thing. This album is the bridge to the Immortal we hear today, and whether you like it or not, it should be respected as such.

Killing Songs :
Blizzarrd Beasts, Nebular Ravens Winter, Battlefields, Mountains Of Might, Frostdemonstorm
Kyle quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Immortal that we have reviewed:
Immortal - Damned in Black reviewed by Jared and quoted 87 / 100
Immortal - Battles in the North reviewed by Tyler and quoted 83 / 100
Immortal - All Shall Fall reviewed by James and quoted 89 / 100
Immortal - Pure Holocaust reviewed by Kyle and quoted CLASSIC
Immortal - Sons Of Northern Darkness reviewed by Danny and quoted 100 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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