Music / Immortal

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Immortal_4842.jpg
Hearting mountains since the dawn of time.

One of the more famous Black Metal bands, possibly the most famous behind Mayhem, and the ones responsible for the genre's stereotypical image.

Immortal was formed by Abbath and Demonaz Doom Occulta after their previous band, Amputation, didn't take off. The band's beginnings can also be traced back to the death metal band Old Funeral, of which both Abbath and Demonaz were members.

Their earlier releases were in a more traditional black metal style, but as of the acclaimed At the Heart of Winter, they have fused black metal with elements of German Thrash Metal. Euronymous of Mayhem is credited for getting Abbath into black metal and as a result, Abbath getting the infamous Varg Vikernes into black metal as well; however, despite these associations, Immortal's primary members have never been involved in the more controversial activities of some of their contemporaries in black metal, and their lyrics have also never involved the religious or political ideologies often associated with the scene.

The band split up in 2003 for various personal reasons. Afterwards, Abbath formed the Supergroup I with various other musicians from the Norwegian black metal scene (including members of such groups as Enslaved and Gorgoroth); the group released the album Between Two Worlds in 2006 to critical acclaim. The band's style is generally considered to be a fusion of Black Metal with the style of Motörhead, also referred to as "black and roll", and has been considered an influence on the later work of other bands, notably Satyricon. I is currently on hiatus.

Immortal reformed in 2007 for a string of live performances; after the reunion, the band decided to reform the band on a permanent basis, releasing the album All Shall Fall in 2009. However, internal conflicts between the band members resulting from tumultuous recording sessions for the band's ninth album resulted in a second disbandment in 2015. What exactly occurred during the sessions seems to depend upon whom you believe, but in the wake of the disbandment, Abbath started a new band in his name (which admittedly is a well known quantity in the world of black metal, so it's a sensible business decision) with bassist King ov Hell and drummer Baard Kolstad. Immortal's ninth album was apparently largely finished before the band's second disbandment, but it's not clear what will become of the material from these sessions.

On August 14, 2015, Demonaz and Horgh announced that they had reconvened the band and that they will continue without Abbath. Abbath's first, self-titled album was released in January 2016 through Season of Mist; Immortal's ninth album has been announced for release later in the same year through Nuclear Blast. It currently remains to be seen how much of the material on Immortal's upcoming album dates back to the sessions from when Abbath was still in the band, whether his contributions from those sessions will be subjected to an Orwellian Retcon, or indeed whether any of the material from Abbath's solo album is based on any of the material from the earlier sessions.

Please do not confuse them with the film of the same name or, if such were even possible, "My Immortal".

Current lineup:
  • Demonaz Doom Occulta (Harald Nævdal) - guitar (up to 1997), lyrics (switched to lyricist and band manager after his injury) (1989–2003, 2006–Present)
  • Horgh (Reidar Horghagen) - drums (1996–2003, 2006–Present) (see also Hypocrisy)

Previous members:
  • Abbath Doom Occulta (Olve Eikemo) - vocals, bass guitar, guitar, keyboards, drums (1989–2003, 2006–2015)
  • Apollyon (Ole Jørgen Moe) - bass guitar (2006–2015)
  • Iscariah (Stian Smørholm) - bass guitar (1999–2002)
  • Saroth (Yngve Liljebäck) - bass guitar (live, 2002–2003)
  • Ares - bass guitar (live, 1998; lead singer of Aeternus)
  • Hellhammer (Jan Axel Blomberg) - drums (live, 1995)
  • Grim (Erik Brødreskift) - drums (live, 1993–1994) (deceased)
  • Kolgrim - drums (demo, 1992)
  • Jörn Tonsberg - guitar (demo, 1989–1991)
  • Armagedda - drums (1990–1992)

Studio albums:
  • Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism (1992)
  • Pure Holocaust (1993)
  • Battles in the North (1995)
  • Blizzard Beasts (1997)
  • At the Heart of Winter (1999)
  • Damned in Black (2000)
  • Sons of Northern Darkness (2002)
  • All Shall Fall (2009)


Tropes that apply to Immortal:

  • Abbey Road Crossing: Abbath Road.
  • The Band Minus the Face: When they reformed without Abbath.
  • Black Metal: The Trope Codifier in terms of fashion and imagery.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Demonaz Doom Occulta was forced to stop playing guitar due to developing tendinitis in his arms in 1997. He still writes the band's lyrics and is considered an active member by the band itself.
  • Cover Version: They covered "From the Dark Past" on the Mayhem tribute album Originators of the Northern Darkness.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Their first album was somewhat slower and more Death Metal-influenced than their later work tended to be, and had a few acoustic guitar passages as well.
  • Echoing Acoustics: This started to be a major element of their sound with Pure Holocaust and they haven't toned it down much since.
  • Epic Rocking: Most of their songs, especially since they shifted their style to Melodic Black/Thrash Metal on At the Heart of Winter, which consisted exclusively of this trope. All of their albums since Blizzard Beasts have contained at least one example of this, with Sons of Northern Darkness taking the prize for largest number of epic songs after Heart of Winter.
  • Grim Up North: Their primary lyrical content and band image.
  • Heavy Mithril: Instead of focusing on Satanism like their peers, Immortal's lyrics focus on an imaginary world called Blashyrkh, plagued by war and suffering and ruled over by the Mighty Ravendark.
  • Loudness War: This has affected all their releases from Battles in the North onwards (Battles also got a remaster which was even louder than the original release). At the Heart of Winter and Damned in Black (both DR5) are probably the worst examples of this in their discography, and All Shall Fall and I's Between Two Worlds stand out as well (both DR6). Abbath's solo album is also affected, although by modern standards it's actually fairly quiet (it's DR7 and still moderately clipped, but many listeners will probably not be able to tell); the same goes for Sons of Northern Darkness, which is more dynamic than most of Immortal's other late-period releases at DR7 and also not as badly clipped as many of them. Their first two albums remain unaffected even in modern issues; Pure Holocaust in particular stands out as a sterling example of the way black metal still ought to sound.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism is mostly a 9 as a result of Early Installment Weirdness, Holocaust through Beasts are pure, hard 10 bordering on 11 (due to the production and the near-constant use of blastbeats) and everything from At the Heart of Winter on is in the 9-low 10 range.
  • New Sound Album: two of them- Pure Holocaust for introducing the insanely fast, blastbeat-heavy style they played for most of the 90s and At the Heart of Winter, which began the epic, Thrash Metal-influenced era of their career.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!: Averted, which is rare for second-wave black metal.
  • Serious Business: Notably averted, at least for the band. Black metal bands tend to take themselves very seriously; Immortal do not.
  • Sincerest Form of Flattery: They've made no secret of Bathory's influence on them, dedicating one song on I's Between Two Worlds to Quorthon. With All Shall Fall they take this Up to Eleven as several songs sound like they could have been outtakes from Blood Fire Death. This is hardly a bad thing; it's hard to imagine a better tribute to Quorthon's influence over black metal.
  • Stage Names: Nearly every member past and present has one.
  • Start My Own: Abbath started his own solo band after leaving Immortal.
  • Token Good Teammate: They count to a tee, since they were neither involved in any of the controversial activities of their contemporaries, nor are their lyrics about anything political or religious, in the second wave of black metal.
  • Uncommon Time: They like this trope a lot. As an early example, one riff of "Cold Winds of Funeral Dust" has a measure of 6/4 followed by a measure of 7/4. An exhaustive list would take a long time to compile; they generally use it at least once an album and often times more than that. It's one of the reasons they have a reputation as one of the most technical and musically complex second-wave acts.
  • Vocal Evolution: Compare Abbath's vocals on the earlier albums like Pure Holocaust and Battles in the North to the ones on later albums like Sons of Northern Darkness and All Shall Fall. Yep.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Music/Immortal