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  • Black Metal / Norway
Immortal - All Shall Fall

All Shall Fall

Nuclear Blast - 2009


When Immortal decided to call it a day after their amazing 2002 release "Sons of Northern Darkness," the metal world was shaken to its core. How could one of the best black metal bands of all time decide to quit right at the peak of their popularity? Some took comfort in knowing that the band went out on a very high note, while others remained resolute in their confidence that the band would return someday. They were right.

In 2006, the Immortal sound returned, in a way, with the release of "Between Two Worlds" by the band "I". With Abbath as the front man, and a former Immortal drummer on drums, Immortal fans, such as myself, were happy to have the band around. "Between Two Worlds" was a good album that mixed later period Immortal with a more straight forward metal approach. Songs about frosty mountainsides and winter remained, but with a slightly different sound.

Fast forward a couple more years, and Immortal reformed in order to do a few live shows, including one right here in Los Angeles. I attended this performance, and it was truly one of the best shows I have ever been to. Shortly after the tour, it was announced that the band was coming out with a new album. And the metal world rejoiced. Finally, the black metal masters were coming back.

So, what´s the verdict? It´s certainly positive, but I can´t escape the fact that it simply is not as good as previous Immortal releases. Traces of "I" have been carried over, resulting in a slower overall tempo and a more straightforward metal approach ("Rise of Darkness" is a great example). The frosty riffs are alive and well, but they are a lot tamer now than they used to be. The biggest problem I have with this album is that many of the songs sound the same, with little differentiation between them. This is in stark contrast to previous Immortal albums such as "At the Heart of Winter" and "Sons of Northern Darkness." Each song on those two albums (the former being my favorite Immortal release), sounds dramatically different than every other song on the album, yet the end result does not sound disjointed in any way. Truly a remarkable accomplishment in this genre, especially. On "All Shall Fall," some of the songs lack memorability. Songs like "Arctic Swarm", "Norden on Fire", and "Mount North" are not bad songs, but they don´t grab you like older Immortal songs, such as "Withstand the Fall of Time", "Solarfall", "One by One", "In My Kingdom Cold", and many others. I listened to these three songs on "All Shall Fall" over and over, and I couldn´t remember any of them afterward. Again, it´s not that these are bad songs, but they just fail to stand out.

The song that stands out the most is "Hordes of War," which is similar to "Demonium" off of "Sons of Northern Darkness" -- songs that hearken back to the sound of earlier period Immortal. Actually, "Hordes of War" reminds me of some of the songs on Bathory´s "Blood Fire Death" from 1989. "Rise of Darkness" has a strong "I" sound that helps differentiate it from the other songs on the album. The title track is one of my least favorite songs on the album, but it still stands out from the others, likely due to the fact that it is the first song on the album. That leaves the last, and longest track on the album, "Unearthly Kingdom." Although slow, this is a very strong song. Definitely one of the most memorable on the album, and one of the few that you will probably want to play again after it is finished. This song could have been on "Sons of Northern Darkness" and it wouldn´t have sounded out of place. Truly a great song to end the album.

A solid 4 star album. I hope Immortal stays together and continues producing high quality black metal. I like this album a lot, but I hope their next one is better.


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All Shall Fall
All Shall Fall


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