Extremity deliver blood, guts, horror on death-emblazoned, vile debut album ‘Coffin Birth’

Photo by Aloysius V. Cummings

There is something great about blood-and-guts death metal that’s just here to devastate, test wills, and bring about the ugliest possible sounds one can muster. It doesn’t always happen that way anymore, as the borders of death’s kingdom expand musically and philosophically. But when a band can make it seem like you’re drinking from the early ’90s swamps, there’s something fun about that.

We were introduced Extremity last year on their appetizer “Extremely Fucking Dead” EP, an effort that was brought to you from metallic veterans who know a thing or a million about this type of thing. Now, a little more than a year later, we have their full-length debut “Coffin Birth,” a record that sounds like what its title implies. It’s ugly and violent, it’ll make you think of the vilest of horror movies you’ve ever absorbed, and it is, yes, extremely fucking death metal. The trio involved—guitarist/vocalist Marissa Martinez-Hoadley (Cretin), bassist/guitarist/vocalist Shelby Lermo (Vastum, Ulthar), drummer Aesop Dekker (Khôrada, Vhöl, and formerly of Agalloch)—wastes no time trying to be pretty or polished and instead soaks your head right into a sticky bucket of blood and innards on this eight-cut, 40-minute pounder that can act as a template to how this shit is done.

“Coffin Birth/A Million Witches” starts on an eerie note, as organs swell, old haunted house screams chill your blood, and then the demolition arrives, with guitars chewing toward your neck. Vicious growls punish, while the thrashy pace adds ample bruising, and a burst of speed strikes before the cut settles into filth. “Where Evil Dwells” has burly riffs and growls that hammer your fingers, as the tempo delivers punishment and decay. The bulk of this is grisly and mean, as the guitars chug and cut through to the song’s core. “Grave Mistake” has a properly ugly start, as twin guitars unite, and then they go right for the guts. Martinez-Hoadley and Lermo battle back and firth with their guttural growls, while the guitar work takes off later in the song, smothering you with a coat of ash. An angry-mob chorus riles dead minions before the song ends in a blaze. “Umbiculus” has a savage start, as the vocals are spat out, and the attitude is fast and nasty. Chewy riffs punch, while the track gets more aggressive, the growls are dually delivered, and everything ends viciously.

“For Want of a Nail” has warbled words at the start, coming in like a hazy nightmare, before the track kicks up and dumps particularly gross growling. Amid the sinewy guitars come flushes of acoustics, while the final minute ups the ante of pain, as weird voices echo, and things come to a massive finish. “Occision” erupts, as the verses speed past, stopping by for wrenching growls and total chaos. The leads blur and bleed, mixing violence with confusion, leading you face first into a bludgeoning. “Like Father Like Son” has strong riffs at the front end, meeting up with some mystical strangeness that arrives after the verses. The band slows it down at times, still delivering a hell of a beating, twisting and warping while you seek a modicum of mercy that never arrives. The record ends with “Misbegotten/Coffin Death” an ideal bookend with the opener. It opens acoustically, sounding like the start of a classic old ’80s thrash album, and then the power comes. It’s heavy and commanding, a track that feels like a battle cry, with a chorus that just rules. Martinez-Hoadley and Lermo again combine forces, and the song absolutely punishes. This is legit save-the-best-for-last territory, as this track slays, and this band is the old school death metal you didn’t realize you needed this badly. Oh, and the ending is fucking creepy and may keep you up at night.

Extremity’s well-traveled members sure as shit had nothing to prove to anyone, but that didn’t stop them from making “Coffin Birth,” a 15-round battle with death and horrors. The music is like taking a claw hammer to the back of the head and, perversely, really enjoying it. This record is a punishing display of death metal the way it’s meant to be played, which should be enough of a selling point alone.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/extremedeath

To buy the album, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/search?type=product&q=EXTREMITY

For more on the label, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/

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Bongripper end four years of silence, destroy mind and body with devastating opus ‘Terminal’

There used to be a time bands loved to get their music into big-box retailers in order to have their records accessible to more people. With that came compromise, be it censored album art, “clean versions” of albums sold a stone’s throw from DVDs containing murders and graphic sex scenes, and what have you. Then, there were bands whose very names pretty much disqualified them.

I’m assuming, if they give a fuck at all about their music being sold in Walmart, that you’d never find a Bongripper album next to whatever shitty pop country albums they’re shilling. Though it would be amazing. Instead, they have to make their way selling records the “hard way,” whether that’s in a record shop or at their shows on from their website. Lucky for all of us, they have new product in the form of “Terminal,” a two-track, 43:25-long ripper that’s going to tear off your goddamn head, but in the chilliest way possible. This, their seventh full-length in 13 years as a band, is more of the smoking good stuff from the Chicago-based instrumental quartet (guitarists Nick Dellacroce and Dennis Pleckham, bassist Ronald Petzke, and drummer Daniel O’Connor). You don’t necessarily have to drop out of life, bong in hand, to get with these songs, but I’m assuming it makes this beast even more enjoyable. Oh, and if you’re headed to Migration Fest later this month, these guys will be there to melt away your pain.

“Slow” kicks off the record, a 25:10-long behemoth that arrives out of a cloud of dust and unleashes burly, muscular riffs. The track is slow moving and heavy, sometimes channeling proper Sabbath worship along the way and often getting muddy and ugly. The track goes dreamy for a second, with sunburnt melodies finding their way to the surface, before steely guitars take over and ease things in a gazey haze. That builds and grows louder, while the band starts to hammer away, with the riffs utterly destroying. Devastation reigns, while sludgy playing clogs arteries, and a relentless barrage of damage lays waste. The guitars lather, while the sound cloud spreads, and everything comes to a simmering, which naturally spills its way into 20:06 “Death.”

Pushing through a noise tunnel, the song boils while cosmic gusts float overhead, and it sounds as if the machine comes to a slow, painful demise. But then the riffs tear into you like a sudden burst of thunder, crashing and thrashing, rumbling over everything that stands before it, burning toward its core while riffs kick everything into high gear. The music tramples over your prone body, chugging heavily while noise screeches peel your flesh from the bone. The path is beaten forward, with the drubbing feeling like it’s chewing away at an already prone wound, and sounds strike to add to that aggravation. The guitars flood the scene, noise clashes and disorients, and everything bleeds away into a black hole of confusion, leaving you there to succumb to force.

The four years since “Miserable” that we waited for “Terminal” sure feels worth it after indulging in this blazing instrumental exercise. Bongripper remain at the top of their game, smoking you out with their powerful ways and torching the hairs on your arm when you get too close. Whether you’re looking to zone out and get your nose bloodied, these guys keep providing ample opportunity to do one or both.

For more on the band, go here: http://www.bongripper.com/

To buy the album, go here: https://bongripper.bigcartel.com/

Or here: https://bongripper.bandcamp.com/

PICK OF THE WEEK: Urban decay at center of Imperial Triumphant’s brain cell-smearing ‘Vile Luxury’

Photo by Alex Krause

The world feels filthy, not that it ever was truly clean before. The problems seem like they’ve been amplified to deafening levels, as the power structure is trying to be wrestled away from people and put on a pedestal that only certain dignitaries would be able to reach. It’s heartening that people are fighting back against that, but things just feel dirty and raw.

NYC-based avant-garde black metal experimenters Imperial Triumphant see that in their very city. They see a place crumbling under the weight of corruption and madness, and they translate those feelings in a way only this band is capable of doing. All of this is found on their impressive and sonically baffling new record “Vile Luxury,” a collection that tramples through urban decay and the people under the boot of high society trying to battle back against absolute power. Anyone who’s familiar with the band knows their music has grown increasingly more complex and frightening, and on this album, they delve further into jazz, almost as if they’re reporting on the crumbling of society from an old speakeasy. There’s a class and elegance woven into the manic outbursts and brain-mangling playing, as they convey beauty and utter disgust equally. The gold-masked trio—Zachary Ilya Ezrin (vocals, guitars), Steve Blanco (bass, backing vocals), and Kenny Grohowski (drums)—are joined by a number of special guests on the record including Will Smith (Artificial Brain), Yoshiko Ohara (Bloody Panda), and singers Andromeda Anarchia (Dark Matters) and Sarai Chrzanowski, as well as a cast of brass players, in order to bring this ambitious, troubling story to life. Every time I hear it, I notice crazy shit I didn’t hear the first time, which is part of the immersive experience.

“Swarming Opulence” opens with a skronk of horns (fun fact: First time I listened to this song, my dog was next to me, and she tilted her head all the way to the side at the sound) before the song rips to life. Ezrin growls nastily over the warped pace, as jazzy heat ensues. The track gets disorienting, as chants erupt, dramatic surges strike, the bass swells, and the strange outro leaves you in the dust. “Lower World” soaks in feedback before the drums rustle, the tempo smothers, and brain-numbing violence meets up with odd chants. The track sludges along, eventually fading into an eerie dream that takes over your senses. From there, we’re trampling into a muddy hell, as the relentless thrashing promises no chance at peace. “Gotham Luxe” is disorienting from the start, with hellish growls from Smith added to the mix, and a bizarre, flattening display. The lurching death growls mix with sweltering soloing, as the humidity gains thickness, bleeding into steamy playing and neck-jerking trauma. Deranged howls chew at sanity before calming piano drips like cold rain. Out of that rises “Chernobyl Blues” that has a weird hue about it, as cosmic noise spreads into the recesses of the inner city. Growled Russian warbles over the calm, which is so weird but effective, and later Yoshiko unleashes her banshee wail that could frighten the dead in their graves. That terror meets up with splattered chaos that explodes with volume before falling out into an acid bath.

“Cosmopolis” is elegant and slinking as it starts, as muted trumpets push in like morose sirens signaling the end, and rubbery guitars emerge like a clawed beast. Monstrous hell is unleashed, as piano dances through the fires, as the demolition gets purposely repetitive. The guitars both chug and jangle, as the song twists your brain stem one last time. “Mother Machine” is gentle and dreamy at the start, as horns spread pestilence, and the band gets free form and lets the horror flow. The track turns slurry and boozy, with horns blurting, and intoxication setting in. “The Filth” has an ominous start, with machine gun riffs chewing up bone, and the mud getting thicker and more suffocating. Anarchia’s singing floats into the scene, as operatic wails and grisly growls twist, heightening the sense of dread. That ugliness doesn’t dissipate, with the music drilling relentlessly and off the rails, the storm hanging overhead and never giving mercy, and the intensity finally letting up once everything is hopelessly flooded. The record ends with “Luxury in Death,” as guitars cry out, a dusty desert feel chokes throats, and Yoshiko’s wild shrieks slice your sanity apart. Noise continues to build up like a refuse pile, while the pained screams and bloody haze part, leaving only the blunt cries holding your hand at the end.

Who knows if society can ever right itself, or if this situation is terminal, but having the likes of Imperial Triumphant as observers underground ensures we’ll always have an honest portrayal of this horrifying struggle. “Vile Luxury” depicts a reality people don’t want to acknowledge but cannot honestly deny any longer. This is a portrait of panic and chaos that will wash over you and prevent you from ever forgetting this terrifying experience, even as real life plays out before your eyes.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/imperialtriumphant

To buy the album, go here: https://gileadmedia.bandcamp.com/album/vile-luxury

Or here: https://throatruinerrecords.com/imperial-triumphant

For more on the label, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/

And here: https://throatruinerrecords.com/

Hoth’s icy, melodic black metal packs riffs into storytelling on stunning ‘Astral Necromancy’

As I write this piece, it’s 98 degrees outside. I’m in Pittsburgh, which only sees temperatures like this a couple days a year, if that, and it’s the third day in a row of its kind. I’m pretty much melting away, and taking a long walk about lunchtime definitely wasn’t a wise choice, as I have been completely dead ever since that senseless venture.

So, it’s weird to be talking about a band named Hoth, which is the name if the ice planet on which Luke Skywalker is trapped at the start of “Empire Strikes Back,” the greatest movie of all time. You know, I thought these things smelled bad on the outside? But this duo’s approach has nothing to do with Star Wars at the moment, though the cosmos plays a part, and what’s on their killer third full-length “Astral Necromancy” definitely is steeped in drama and havoc. Contained on this 11-track, 50-minute album, the follow-up to 2014’s “Oathbreaker,” is melodic, compelling black metal that’s devastating and catchy at the same time. The riffs envelop you like a Tauntaun’s guts, while the non-linear storyline about hidden knowledge and spiritual transcendence keeps you looped into the magic that these guys—Eric Peters and David Dees—conjure on this tremendous collection.

The record starts with killer “Vengeance,” as speedy riffs and creaky growls power the front end, before a blast-furnace chorus strikes, with howls of, “Vengeance against time! Vengeance against memory!” I can’t get it out of my head. Glorious leads spiral and pummel, leading to the end and toward “The Living Dreams of a Dead God” that unloads classic metallic fury. The track chugs along, with the vocals scraping, strong leads dizzying, and more traditional-style playing kicking up dust. “The Horrid Truth” has a fluid opening, with synth flushing and the vocals piercing the flesh. The guitar work shines again, with the track coming to a punishing end. “Passage Into Entropy” bleeds in, with organs flooding, and the band hitting a rock n roll-style vibe as their blackness is unleashed. The track is punchy and rousing, with a killer chorus and the track bleeding out into a haze of keys. “Citadel of the Necromancer” is the scene of a great battle, with riffs chewing, the vocals telling the volatile tale, and some of the melodies feeling folkish, though they remain heavy as hell. The track keeps piling on, as the track ends with defeat, with the howl of, “The necromancer’s apprentice is defeated, left to die in the wood,” though vowing the person will return again. “Ad Inane Precatio” is a quick interlude with operatic-style singing, a passage with a pastoral feel, lending an essence of dark spirituality.

“The Gathering of the Accursed Artifacts” has guitars gently trickling before the gates are blown down, and the playing starts mauling. The guitars mix and leave dizzying ripples, while the vocals are beastly, and the ambiance is cold as deep winter. “Ascension” bursts to life, with the guitars ripping flesh, and the melodic verses amplifying the track’s power. The intensity continues to grow, fed by the fiery riffs, charring before it fades away. “Journey Into Eternal Winter” has a rock-style start, with energetic singing over the chorus, giving it a European beer hall-style vibe as they bellow, “Journey into eternal winter, through white frost and endless cold, in a forsaken place of sorrow, time stands still and silence reigns.” The tempo is bludgeoning but also highly energetic, another example of how Hoth can mix punishment and catchiness into the same package. “The Void Between the Stars” unloads colorful riffs, another dose of classic metal, and the vocals scratching out the story, as the aforementioned vengeance is unleashed. The track eventually goes cold and serene, teasing you with calm as a sweltering solo strikes, and as everything charges ahead, we come to a stunning finish. Closer “Solitude” is a raging fire when it starts, with the guitars punishing, and the creaking vocals flooding. The track gets spacious, as a penetrating pace shakes the earth, the guitars conjure blinding light, and the final lines, “Feeding upon the light of stars, rending all life to empty husks,” drops a final curtain of darkness.

Hoth’s music isn’t making it any cooler around here, but the music on “Astral Necromancy” at least is taking our minds off this as they deliver icy riffs and mysterious storytelling. These guys prove you can do the melodic black metal thing and not sound over-processed nor lack an edge, as their power and fury help them do over the course of this whole record. This is a band that’s been floating under the ground for quite some time, and this record is the one that might help them smash through the surface.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/hothmetal

To buy the album, go here: https://hothmusic.bandcamp.com/album/astral-necromancy

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/EpicurusRecords/

Malsanctum’s bizarre, warped, self-titled debut record packs doom, black metal, destruction

Doing this site isn’t a terribly difficult endeavor, to be honest, and the fun I get bringing to readers music I personally enjoy and in which I find merit has been my way of paying back the tons of ways metal has given to me. But that doesn’t mean finding the right words and ways of description always are a breeze, hence what I’m about to do today.

See, Canadian terror unit Malsanctum are here with their stirring, divisive debut effort, and holy shit if I didn’t have a hard time taking notes on this thing. There’s no quick way to explain this band and their music to people easily and quickly. The best I can do is say it’s a buzzard’s nest of noise, black metal, and funeral doom, as well as some other shit we likely don’t have a name for quite yet. It’s made by a mysterious entity that has no names or number of members or anything else that they’re sharing with the public. No social media presence. Nothing. What we get are three songs, all of them lengthy, that are scary and nightmare-inducing, a black maze of horrors that you can’t see coming until they’re right up on you, chewing at your bones. Much of this feels like basement torture, as you choke on bile, piss, and dirt, and the person in charge of your pain does nothing but laugh and growl unintelligible words that essentially mean you’re doomed. Not sure if any of that helps at all, but just know you’ll be shaken.

“The Father” starts the record, a 10:17-long battle that begins with eerie noises, blurry, demonic lurches, and deranged howls that chew the nerve endings. Feedback blurs, while strange transmissions muddy the waters, and deliberate pounding is enough to bring pain and extreme confusion. From there, the playing lulls you into a trance, with the percussion dizzying, and a strange outro causing head tilts. “The Son” runs 9:47, and it begins with a clip about serial killers and their marriage to torture. Reminded me a bit of Dragged Into Sunlight. Grisly growls and deranged music pick up, as the playing drubs, and sludgy riffs mix blood with mud. A horrific wave of noises arrives, sickening the mind, and strange whispering sends chills down your spine, as the band goes into Portal-style death madness. Weirdness floods again, with wild cries and terror dissolving into noise acid.

“The Shattered Spirit” ends the record on a 23:49-long run that challenges you and continually rubs your face in filth. Grisly playing bubbles, with loud clangs, doomy riffs, and slow-crawling insanity chewing up the earth. The track goes cold and serene, which is almost panic inducing in its calm, and the guitars trickle over several minutes before a “True Detective” clips runs, the one where Rust painfully recounts his daughter’s death in a car accident. Out of that, drums echo, the music hits like a pained caterwaul, and cavernous pounding has its way, as anguished wails peel away at your face, and the destruction is then slowly dealt. Then, the drums ignite, a killer speaks about the opening of his victims’ throats, and a weird cosmic transmission takes over and drags us off to alien terrain.

Malsanctum’s first full foray into the world, this morbid self-titled record, is the stuff that leaves permanent psychological scarring if you’re not prepared for what you’re about to hear. This is pure audio chaos, a damned mix of different forms of noise and metal that never were meant to mix and can only be called abomination. You can hope for mercy once you’re in this band’s grasp, and you can know your mind’s chemical makeup is forever compromised.

To buy the album, go here: http://shop.ironbonehead.de/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.ironbonehead.de/

Lucifer’s second coming glows with psychedelic power, bluesy swagger on vintage-smeared ‘II’

Photo by Peter Beste

Life, apparently, was not meant to be easy. That’s a statement that can stand before we even dig up the roots of filthy politics and the way people treat one another, especially those different from them. Anything worth doing is meant to have its share of hard times, and those who see them through have a better chance of ending up satisfied at the end.

It’s no secret that the creative life of Johanna Sadonis hasn’t been the smoothest of rides lately. Her incredibly promising union with Linnea Olsson in The Oath disintegrated after only two years together and a great debut record in 2014 that seemed to signal the beginning of a band that would twist heads into the future. Afterward, she formed Lucifer alongside Andy Prestidge, though he would exit the band in 2017. She teamed up with guitarist Gaz Jennings (formerly of legendary Cathedral, now of Death Penalty and Septic Tank) to create their debut effort “I,” but he also left in 2017, leaving Sadonis to pick up the pieces again. However, into the fold came Nicke Andersson (Entombed, Hellacopters, Death Breath) to work with Sadonis, and fucking magic formed. The resulting LP “II” sounds far more like music Sadonis was made to make. No offense to “I,” but it was lacking and didn’t seem to match Sadonis’ great power. On “II,” the music is more psychedelic, bluesier, and has a dusty, vintage evil essence. Filling out the remainder of the outfit are guitarists Robin Tidebrink (he played on the record as well) and Martin Nordin, as well as bassist Alexander Mayr, who, hopefully, are the spine of the band for the foreseeable future.

“California Son” is an absolutely ass-kicking opener, the ideal introduction to this band for any newcomers. Sadonis is in complete command, while the music swaggers and she calls, “You’re only an ocean away.” Tremendous track and catchy as hell. “Dreamer” gets more mystical, and it’s a song I could imagine if Ronnie James Dio still walked among us, he may wonder if this hadn’t been pulled from his storybook. “What have you done with your life?” Sadonis prods, while mid-tempo pace begins to crunch as the song closes. “Phoenix” has a tasty psyche-washed start, with classic metal riffs cutting in, and a super catchy chorus where she demands, “You’ve got the stand up to your fire.” I think. I don’t have the lyrics, but that’s how it sounds. “Dancing With Mr. D” is a terrible song, a huge misstep, and it could have totally derailed this record. The band sounds like they’re having fun with it, but it’s just not good. So, let’s move to “Reaper on Your Heels” that steadies the course with attitude-splashed rock n roll and great singing, as Sadonis sees the end, noting, “When you used up all your time, and the flame in you is gone,” before blasting to the grave.

“Eyes in the Sky” has burly riffs, great leads, and psyche-drenched vocals that power the way. The track rips into a shuffle and then hits the gas pedal, punching harder and faster, with an electric solo blazing toward the song’s end. “Before the Sun” is a dose of ’70s-style folk rock, as Sadonis foresees people approaching their fall and misfortune. The song has a “Remember Tomorrow” vibe to it, as it sends chills to the more nostalgic cells in your body. “Aton” is crunchy as hell, with a sweltering pace to match these hot summer days, and steamy singing. More great soloing emerges before the whole thing bleeds into the night. “Faux Pharaoh” has doomy riffs, Sadonis singing about “paranoia and decay,” and the atmosphere taking on more pressure. The guitars gain intensity, strings rise up, and the track comes to a raucous end. Closer “Evening Wind” pushes through, bringing psychedelic dreams, bluesy bits, and a pace that goes from haunting ballad to scorcher. The guitars are thick and rich, setting fires, though that eases back, as the track closes with spirited “ah-ah-ah” calls and a disappearance into mystery.

This record sounds like Lucifer at its ultimate state, save for that one track, and hopefully whatever magic needs to be conjured to keep the “II” lineup together can be drawn to this Earth. This is a fun record, a perfect collection for the summertime when things are hot and sticky, and music like this goes down easily. This rivals that Oath debut for the best work Sadonis has done so far, a record very much brimming with her occult charisma and power.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/luciferofficial/

To buy the album, go here: http://www.cmdistro.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.centurymedia.com/

PICK OF THE WEEK: Immortal rise from ice of Blashyrkh on killer new opus ‘Northern Chaos Gods’

You can’t destroy the ice and snow. You can’t destroy Blashyrkh. Over decades together, Nordic black metal legends Immortal have faced their share of trials and tribulations that would decimate most bands, but this banner remains alive and well, with their flags deeply ensconced in the fantasy ice world that inspires their music.

Immortal’s very existence came into question three years ago when the band members were at odds over who owned the name and who controlled its existence. That led to longtime vocalist/bassist Abbath Doom Occulta, one of the most recognizable figures in black metal history, to split with his mates Demonaz Doom Occulta and drummer Horgh over ownership of the name, leading him to start his own project under the name Abbath. Not to be deterred and refusing to give up the struggles and travails of Blashyrkh, Demonaz and Horgh (along with Peter Tägtgren on bass) carried on and promised a new Immortal album, which we now have in the form of their ninth record “Northern Chaos Gods,” their first album in eight years. While Demonaz long was the creative force behind the band, despite his having to step away in 1997 because of tendonitis in his arm, Abbath’s buzzing voice always was the one that would signal you to battle alongside the group’s mammoth riffs. How would they fare without him and push this new vision into the future? It doesn’t take long on this savage, melodic, glorious, and somewhat basic record to let you know they’re alive, well, and ready to ride off into battle until the last limb has been severed.

The title track kicks off the record, and it’s a fire-breather right away, with heavy riffs, crushing blasts, and Demonaz’s razor-sharp growl hailing, “Now the time has come!” The song is packed with speed and chaos, and it’s the ideal opening salvo to signal Immortal are back. “Into Battle Ride” has guitars killing, gruff growls, and a majestic chorus that’s impactful but also fairly simple. That’s a theme on many of the songs here, and while that might be tiring for some, it’s actually a strong way to keep the listener involved and aware of when the high points are coming. “Gates to Blashyrkh” brings us back to the band’s primary inspiration, as clean guitars snake through the madness like an icy stream, and Demonaz paints pictures of ravens circling and fire consuming the sky. The track is heavy, fun, and a full dose of Immortal lore. “Grim and Dark” has riffs boiling, howls soaring, and a grisly pace that eventually becomes even tempered. The vocals scrape while the guitars drive the pace, and another strong chorus gives you something to shout back at them live.

“Called to Ice” is fast and punchy, with the tempo going for broke and the growls splattering the colors of battle. The pace stomps, never relenting, while melodic ferocity tears into you like an ice beast. “Where Mountains Rise” is as gem situated later in the record that’s the adrenaline rush of the second half. After a chilly open, we get a powerful burst, muscular riffs, and a memorable chorus that, as basic as it is on the surface, delivers in spades. Try to get it out of your head. You’ll fail every time. “Blacker of Worlds” has more chest-bruising riffs, yet another chorus that sticks to your ribs, and a blast of chilled air you can feel through your mouth, burning your lungs. Closer “Mighty Ravendark” ends the record on an epic note, as it runs 9:14 and makes the most of that time. After a cold, trickling start, we head into the mouth of the storm, as gigantic riffs blast through frozen rock, and the easy-to-recite chorus keeps your blood just surging enough for you to remain alive. The track has a true fantasy battle feel, as wars are waged in the dark, Demonaz unleashes the harsh cries of combat, and the track trickles off into the pages of Blashyrkh, etched forever for generations to come visit all over again.

After eight years away, the very existence of Immortal was a stake, but Demonaz and Horgh have done a devastating job reinvigorating the beast on “Northern Chaos Gods.” It’s a blistering, catchy record that delivers on what Immortal do so well, and acts as comfort food for all of those who hold this group close to their icy hearts. This band rides again, and with this new lease on life, hopefully it won’t be quite as long until we get even more frosty, bloody tales from Blashyrkh.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/immortalofficial/

To buy the album, go here: http://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html

For more on the label, go here: http://www.nuclearblast.com/en/label/