Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism(Osmose - 1992)
Their first release and a far cry from their later holocaust speed-ripping metal. Basically a Darkthrone clone here sounding like Bathory at times. Phlegm-mixed-with-glass vocals, and slower (relatively), dark and cold music. This stuff is raw, primitive and harsh music. Plenty of blast beats, but the overall effect of the album is one of grim moodiness. I would rate this album highly for its simple direct approach and effective dark mood, but the fact is it gets too simple and can easily lose my interest after the first 2 songs. It needs more dynamics. Still, it's a good album to put on if you're in the mood and if I sink into it and give it my full attention, it's a good, solid and consistent release.
Pure Holocaust(Osmose - 1993)
Pure holocaust is correct. This album is 100% blast beats and then some. Yet surprisingly enough I always found a grim musical path to take me through this blizzard hell. A jagged tour with racing guitar riffs and maniacal drumming, this is a harsh, devastating and great album. Vocals are a harsh black metal belch - great stuff. I surprised myself by thoroughly enjoying this release. Non-melodic, non-keyboard, unrelenting, no-frills harsh black metal at its finest.
Battles in the North(Osmose - 1995)
Third release. This time they left me behind. It sounds like they concentrated more on increasing the speed and forgot to make music. The album rushes by you at Mach 6 without leaving anything behind but wreckage. Guinness might be interested in this 35 minute unrelenting hyperspeed release, but musically, this is a big step down. Nothing to grab onto. The production is much clearer though although the guitars are too low. To quote the vocalist: 'Blaaaahh'.
Blizzard Beasts(Osmose - 1997)
Fourth release. A totally new sound with dizzying jagged riffing very similar to Morbid Angel but still hyper. This focuses on super speed plus hyper aggression but yet again, this one leaves me behind and I find no hooks to follow this with. The riffing sounds like someone was playing the track at double speed and with the jagged twists and turns it makes, it leaves me far behind with empty hands. I followed this best I can but I can't get any enjoyment out of it. The music sorely needs more rest notes and dynamics. Acrobatic perhaps but not musical.
At the Heart of Winter(Osmose - 1999)
Thankfully scrapping the obsession over speed, Immortal opt for a more dynamic, slow and mature composition with this release, without losing their essence. This isn't a regression back to the Diabolical Fullmoon days though, it's Pure Holocaust meeting thrash metal riffs halfway. Containing six tracks and clocking at 46 minutes, this proves to be their most epic and interesting album by far, albeit I don't seem to enjoy it more than their classic Pure Holocaust and it is somewhat less bleak sounding. The songs flow from one dark arrangement to another with a solid grip, bringing in new elements, riffing patterns and varying beats often enough to hold your interest. Croaking and rasping blackened words over this harsh sound as always, is the vocalist, who thankfully hasn't changed his unique and enjoyable delivery. The drumming is quite good and the production is superb. The result is nothing truly outstanding, but this is a solid and very worthwhile album nevertheless and well worth getting if you enjoy this style.