Look at any “best of black metal albums ever” list and Immortal’s “At the Heart of Winter” is sure to be within top 5 of every single one of those articles. While some fans may prefer earlier releases because they are more “grim” or “kvlt”, no one can deny that this release is a staple and must listen if you are getting into black metal. The riffs and song writing are beyond good. The vocals are some of the best within the genre. I absolutely adore Immortal’s drum sound on this album. Bass is thick and punchy. Production is great and Immortal somehow uses guitar tricks, excellent songwriting and pure musicianship to create such an exciting and energetic black metal listening experience. I have such a good time every single time I pop this album on and press play. It’s 6 songs and 46 minutes of headbanging and invisible oranges, absolutely fuck yeah to all of this.
At The Heart of Winter does not let one second pass before jumping straight into high distortion, loud guitars and drums. “Withstand the Fall of Time” opens this beast of an album and it has everything I love about black metal and Immortal. Fast guitar playing that can shift from wretched cold black metal tremolos to atmospheric arpeggios in the blink of an eye. Blasts and grooves gives the album so much power as the vocals and guitars make things so aggressively grim. This album is also possibly one of the catchiest albums of all time.
This trend continues for each and every song on this album. Like I previously mentioned, there may only be 6 songs on this album but each song is a roller coaster of ups, downs, twists and turns. The music is massive and adventurous. Immortal really pulled out everything when they wrote this album. The experimental nature within this black metal release is what helps it stand out. It’s so unique and fun to listen to a black metal band that not only is amazing musically, but do not take themselves too seriously and just have fun doing what they are doing. If you know Abbath, he is everything that is RIGHT with the genre.
From the wicked riffs of “Where Dark and Light Don’t Differ” to the atmospheric breakdowns and setups found on “Tragedies Blows at Horizon” and “At the Heart of Winter”, Immortal’s At the Heart of Winter is just literally packed with as much greatness and majesty as humanly possible. Easily one of my favorite black metal albums (as well as one of the most listened to albums of all time), this is an achievement in black metal mastery. The iconic worship doesn’t stop there either. The artwork for the album is stellar and bright, brimming with bright colors but also maintaining a dark vibe about it. Within the booklet you can find some nice Immortal memes as Abbath and Demonaz pose for pictures. Everything about this is timeless and enjoyable. Listen to Immortal’s At The Heart of Winter as soon as you can. You won’t regret it.
Also, thank you so much for reading our Blog Aus Nord series here on Svbterranean throughout the month of December. It was a lot of fun revisiting these albums and writing about them. We hope you enjoyed it and possibly discovered some new music along the way! Have a wonderful New Year and see you shortly with more black metal articles and reviews (as well as other genres, of course).