Sunday, February 13, 2011

In My Kingdom Cold

At the Heart of Winter
With the recent chilly weather (for Houston) and upcoming Immortal / Absu show in San Antonio (2 weeks!), I thought I'd put together some of my grim and mythological favorites from each.
Plus learning the new software has been rough - even MS Paint??

"All Shall Fall" from All Shall Fall (2009)

The title track of the last Immortal studio album and apparent set opener, this video was just put up on Immortal's YouTube in September. As with all Immortal videos, it's equal parts ridiculous and sublime. I just hope Demonaz does a mountaintop spoken-word cameo at the show! I've been digging the stuff I've heard from this record - also check out "Hordes to War" and "Norden on Fire."

"One by One" from Sons of Northern Darkness (2002)

This is the first Immortal song I ever heard, on a Nuclear Blast compilation - not that long ago actually. From the last album before they took an extended hiatus, and Abbath went to play in Bömbers, a Mötorhead tribute band! Other great tunes from SOND would be "Antarctica" and of course "In My Kingdom Cold"... maybe you're picking up on a theme here.

"Solarfall" from At the Heart of Winter (1999)

Maybe my most favorite Immortal tune. There doesn't seem to be a consensus "best" Immortal album, but At the Heart of Winter is a definite contender for me. It's the first after Demonaz had to retire from playing, and also contains the classic "Withstand the Fall of Time."

"Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)" from Battles in the North (1995)

The notorious and infamous "Blashyrkh" video - love it!! Battles is another obvious contender, and also provided the "Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms" video. It's weird to see Hellhammer in that one, although he was playing drums live with them at the time. He seems really out of place with his non-corpse paint make-up and poofy pirate shirt.

"Pure Holocaust" from Pure Holocaust (1993)

Immortal's second full-length boasted super necro production values and almost unending blastbeats and tremolo-picking. So basically your classic of 2nd wave Black Metal classics. The title track has it for diversity, but the ultimate is probably "A Sign for the Norse Hordes to Ride."

And so what about Absu? They're opening this Immortal US mini-tour, and I couldn't be happier! Definitely Texas' finest Black-ish metal band, although more on the thrashened side. I'll go backwards, same for them...

"Night Fire Canonization" from Absu (2009)

So many to choose from on the most recent, self-titled Absu. Like Immortal, this was their triumphant return after a long break (up). I thought it was the #2 Non-Top 10 Metal release of 2009. If just starting with Absu, I'd suggest both "Amy" and "Girra's Temple." Seriously looking forward to this opening slot!

"Pillars of Mercy" from Tara (2001)

Tara is excellent, probably the best of all Absu. Probably definitely. Among many greats, it's got "Four Crossed Wands (Spell 181)" and "She Cries the Quiet Lake," plus a bagpipe intro!!

"Manannán" from In The Eyes of Ioldanach EP (1998)

That one was re-recorded and improved for Tara. This EP also features the awesome (and awesomely-named) "Never Blow Out the Eastern Candle."

"Highland Tyrant Attack" from The Third Storm of Cythraul (1997)

I've never been able to find this album, but that song shows up all over the place. And because it's about leather and swords, they like to call this one "Swords and Leather!" Thrash. It. Up.

"The Thrice Is Greatest To Ninnigal" from Barathrum: V.I.T.R.I.O.L. (1993)

For the final one, I could have gone with something from The Sun of Tiphareth (1995), but I love that song title. Also, the full name of this release is Barathrum: Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultul Lapidem. Hahaha!!

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