Immortal is a black metal band from Bergen, Norway, founded in 1991 by frontman and guitarist Abbath Doom Occulta (Olve Eikemo) and guitarist Demonaz Doom Occulta (Harald Nævdal) The pair worked with various drummers (including Grim, Armagedda and Hellhammer), and were later joined by current drummer Horgh (Reidar Horghagen) in 1996.
In March 2015, long-serving member Abbath announced his departure from the group following a dispute with the other members of the band, and he went on to form a new band under his name called Abbath. It was initially reported that following Abbath's departure, the band would split up. However, In August 2015, Demonaz and Horgh said that the band would continue without Abbath. Demonaz would return to playing guitar with the band for the first time since 1997, and would also do vocals as well.
Immortal arose from two short-lived bands, Old Funeral and Amputation, which were formed by Abbath and others in 1988. Immortal's original lineup consisted of ex-members from both of these bands. Old Funeral was founded by Abbath and Tore (Tore Bratseth), then went through a string of guitarists (including Demonaz, Varg Vikernes and Jørn Inge Tunsberg) until disbanding in 1992. Abbath, Demonaz, and Jørn formed Amputation, which released two demos with Demonaz on guitar and vocals, Jørn on guitars, and Padden on drums, before disbanding in 1990.
Members of Old Funeral and Amputation formed Immortal in 1991, with Abbath on bass and lead vocals, Demonaz on guitar, and Armagedda on drums. The music on their early demo recordings was death metal, with lyrics influenced by Morbid Angel and Possessed. The band then became influenced by Euronymous and bands like Bathory and Celtic Frost. They released their self-titled EP in 1991, which saw a stylistic change to black metal. This was followed by their debut album Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism in 1992. Immortal's early full-length releases were in traditional black metal style, but their most acclaimed album, At the Heart of Winter, marks the period when the band began to experiment with a complex fusion of black metal and German thrash metal, resulting in the sound of Immortal's later works.
In 1995, the band released two video clips directed by British artist David Palser, entitled Masters of Nebulah Frost, through Osmose Productions. They featured many bizarrely-shot images of frozen landscapes and vast forests with the band performing two songs from the album Battles in the North, "Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms" and "Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)", on a Norwegian mountainside. The video for "Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms" features Mayhem drummer, Hellhammer (Jan Axel Blomberg). These clips have become the template for many other bands producing such works, similarly to how "The Call of the Wintermoon" is also highly influential.
The members of Immortal were involved in a legal battle with each other over the rights to the Immortal trademark. They were also due to submit a new album to the Nuclear Blast label, though little information regarding the album and its release had been disclosed. It is confirmed, however, by Abbath that the album had been completed with the aid of various musicians.
In March 2015, Abbath left Immortal as a result of this conflict and an inability to move forward. Abbath is to continue as a musician with a solo band under his name.
On 8 January 2018, the band posted Via Facebook an update on Immortal's upcoming 9th Full-length, stating "We have put a massive amount of energy into this, and wanted to deliver our absolutely best. It has been a pleasure to finish the studio process and most of all being stoked about the final result. Peter Tägtgren has done an outstanding job in producing and mixing it. We now look forward to have it released, and are excited to share our 9th full length with you all." the release date of the album is scheduled for sometime in 2018, releasing under Nuclear Blast Records. The album will feature original member Demonaz on vocals and for the first time in 20 years, he will also play guitar. Demonaz has been the main contributor for the bands lyricism since an injury he had suffered, prevented him from continuing to play guitar for the band since 1998. The last album which had featured Demonaz on Guitar was 1997 album Blizzard Beasts. This will be the first Immortal album to not feature Abbath in the lineup.
On 18 April 2018, the tracklisting and title of the new album was revealed to be Northern Chaos Gods and was given a release date of 6 July 2018.
Immortal's lyrics are based on an overall theme, a realm called "Blashyrkh", which is said to be "demon-and-battle-filled". The idea for Blashyrkh came about from Demonaz and Abbath's feelings of isolation living in Bergen. They created Blashyrkh to mirror those feelings, basing it on Norway, including "winter landscapes", "the woods, the mountains, the darkness, the fog", and "glacial valleys". When writing lyrics, the band Immortal's lyricist Demonaz often takes long walks in the Norwegian countryside near his hometown of Bergen for inspiration. Unlike many early black metal bands, Immortal does not have satanic-themed lyrics. However, on the band's first album, there were a few satanic references but without any lyrics attacking religion. Read more...
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