By Rob Kachluba
After seven long years, my most anticipated release of 2009 has finally been unleashed and the big question is does it hold up to all the hype? Well… yes and no. All the trademarks of classic Immortal are here: icy shimmering guitars, Abbath’s distinct growl, Horgh’s blazing drums but the crux of the problem is directly within the songs themselves. Style wise they fall somewhere in line with Sons of Northern Darkness and At The Heart of Winter but without the impact. There is no “Sons Of Northern Darkness,” “Tryants,” “One by One” or “At The Heart Of Winter” here. It has hints of those, mostly in the mid-paced songs, but not the immediate urgency of those said albums. “Arctic Swarm” has that Epic sound to it and it is probably my fave track of the album. “Norden on Fire” has that speedy frosty black metal thing going on that they do most better then most bands but overall you may have to work hard for this album for as mentioned it’s not very immediate. Sonically, Pete Tantgren did a fantastic job on this but stay away all together if you are one of those Black metal donuts who like their productions to sound like tin cans. I feel letdown if this is the best they can come up with for the past seven years but being a huge fan I guess this will have to do.