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At the Heart of Winter

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(12 Reviews)

Immortal Biography - Immortal Discography - All Heavy Metal Bands


This legendary band’s first album, beginning their notoriety with a selection of absolute classics, including the epic ’The Call of the Wintermoon’. This set down the essential Immortal blueprint which they followed on the next three albums: speed on the edge of self-destruction, razor-sharp guitars which bite to the bone, lyrics which illustrated their own icebound world, and a sense of Northern melody which is completely their own. Bursting with Bathory influence, obviously, but still a classic true Norwegian black metal release.

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  • Let’s start with the drama that happened before this recording. Abbath and Demonaz found their new drummer Horgh and released Blizzard Beats, which didn’t fare as well as the group hoped. Well, the band regrouped to start working on this album when Demonaz suffered career-ending tendinitis. With the future of Immortal in doubt, the group forged ahead with Demonaz writing the lyrics, Horgh playing drums, and Abbath having to sing, play guitar, and play bass on the recording. The recording process was tedious and frustrating. All and all, Immortal needed to come out with that magnum opus just to stay sane…

    … well, they did it, and this is that album.

    You wouldn’t think of it due to the 6-track length, but the album is over 45 minutes long. I can’t single out a single track on this album as to which is more superior than the other because the album tells like a story. “Withstand the Fall of Time” is the perfect opening track because of how grandiose the opening of the song is; while “Years of Silent Sorrow” have the perfect ending because it brings down the house just like any live metal show. Remarkable riffs and some of the most intense drumming put to tape is all found here and everything that’s right about metal is demonstrated on this album. The only way it could be more metal is if it started rusting, but then you couldn’t listen to the CD so that’s probably a good thing.

    I recommend this album to all metal fans and all fans of music. I also recommend getting the CD as opposed to Amazon/iTunes download because while these guys made one of the best metal albums ever, they also shot some of the most unintentionally hilarious promo photos ever too and those can be found in the liner notes!

    Posted on March 12, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I became a fan along with a friend a while back while searching through my brother’s CD case. We found this, thought it looked cool, so we popped it in my boombox. The only black metal we knew of back then were Emperor, but we loved them to death, so obviously we enjoyed ‘At…’ This album was a major push into the world of black metal for my friend and I. I now own a multitude of black metal albums, yet this still seems to be one of my favorites. Also, its the only Immortal CD other than ‘Sons..’ than I can find! I find it incredible how these songs can be quite repetitive and still I can listen to each second of every song. I believe its because of the incredible atmosphere that was created with this album. I mean just listen to the all out beauty of Solarfall. The crunchy cold guitar riff, coupled with the distorted bass, gargled vocals, and insane drumming create a winterland of metal. Its really hard to explain, so please, do yourself a favor and check this one out!The Band-Abbath, guitars, bass, synthesizers, and vocals- I give Abbath incredible credit for being able to pick up guitar and synth duites as well as bass. Demonaz caught some sort of illness sadly that restrained him from playing the guitar. He still writes lyrics for Immortal though. I believe with this album Immortal found an incredible style of their own, since Abbath creates most of the material written nowadays. I am glad more clean guitar is being incorporated with Immortal’s music. Abbath also creates some very cool keyboard lines as well, like those on Solarfall and the title track. Hail Abbath!Horgh, drums and percussion- Horgh is one of the standouts of this album. His drumming isn’t as fast as it is on ‘Sons..’, but it still fits the music perfectly and adds even more to that atmosphere I’ve been talking about. His percussive drums sound pretty cool too. At The Heart of Winter is a perfect addition to any black metal collection, and probably should be in everyone’s. Plus, it’s a great starter CD for new black metal fan, because it isn’t an all out attack on the senses, which many black metal bands try to do.

    Posted on March 12, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • An excellent album by one of the titans of Scandinavian black metal, At The Heart Of Winter features what I consider to be Immortal’s most solid line-up – Abbath on guitars (and pretty much everything else), and Horgh on drums. Horgh manages to maintain the tempos throughout, leaving Abbath free to concentrate on unleashing devastating blasts of distorted power. The production is also markedly improved over their previous efforts, and while those who consider themselves “tr00 kvlt” will no doubt bash this album for not having a “pure black metal sound”, I think it fits the album very well. Why? Because Immortal had started to infuse their sound with elements of German thrash metal, and the enhanced production allows their updated guitar style to be heard in all its glory. Listen to the phenomenal riffage on “Solarfall” and “Where Dark And Light Don’t Differ” for proof. On a more general note, the trademark Abbath “reptilian warlord from hell” croaked vocals are in fine form, and as usual, Immortal manages to inject beautiful melody and ambience amidst the carnage of whirlwind guitars and drums – check out the outro riff to “Withstand The Fall Of Time”, “Solarfall” and “At The Heart Of Winter”.

    I consider this one of my three favorite Immortal albums, along with “Battles In The North” and “Sons Of Northern Darkness”. It’s well worth checking out.

    Posted on March 12, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This album is truly a masterpiece. Immortal has goneback to their heavy-metal roots. The songs are long and not complex as their previousalbums were. Different direction, not as fast as their older albums, but stillunmistakable Immortal. I trulyrecommend this album.

    Posted on March 12, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Now, I already reviewed the first version of this album, and being that it is in my top 5 favorite albums of all time, I figured I might as well add my review to the re-release. Also,don’t mind the amazon review, that is for their first album released many years before this one.

    Few albums come along in ones life where the music leaves you so speechless. For me, this is one of them. This is not only Immortal’s best work in general but one of the greatest Black Metal albums ever to be released. Nothing can top Abbath’s brutal riffs and his throat ripping vocals. The atmosphere of Darkthrone is here and the talent of Emperor. However, between all that makes this cd a masterpiece is some true beauty. Such as the main riff in Solarfall and the intro in At the Heart of Winter for a few examples. This is a true masterpiece of winter beauty and winter carnage.

    1. Withstand the Fall of Time (8:29) The first track begins with a single riff before the rest joins in, while the riff not really memorable will grow on you. The first minute is spent gearing up before the song gets into full speed. About 3 and a half minutes into the song it slows down before getting a second wind about 4:15 into it and doesn’t stop until the song quietly dies out. WOnderful opening track. I could not think of a better song to open up this album. 4.5/5

    2. Solarfall (6:02) Immortal’s best song of all time. A short drum roll falls in follwoed by one of my favorite riffs of all time then hell is broken loose upon an unsuspecting listener. The song does not let up for one second and has some of their best drumming as well. The vocals are enough to make you wish to conquer all you face. The vocals are almost dreadfully slow in a good way, almost like you wonder how he isn’t tearing all of his vocal chords. The song slows down 2:20 into it with some slow drumming but soon returns with that crushing riff. Best song here. 25/5

    3. Tragedies Blows At Horizon (8:55) This song is 8 minutes and 55 seconds of pure magic. It really starts up about 40 seconds into it and grabs you with hardened claws and refuses to let up. I love the way the guitar riff kicks in at 4:30 with nothing but a take no prisoners attitude. A real highlight on the album. 5/5

    4. Where Dark and Light Don’t Differ (6:45) The first song I heard on this album and it is a winner. The most thrash influenced track on this album has no mellow intro but just decides to come at you full force. The best drumming on the album appears here. The riff that kicks in at 1 minute is majestic and incredible. An epic track. 10/5

    5. At the Heart of Winter (8:00) This song honestly makes you feel like you’re walking into the front line of a war at the heart of a winter storm. This song runs on talent, emotion and an epic battle cry. The two minute intro can’t even prepare you for what is to come. Then the rest of the song kicks in barreling down on you like an avalanche you know you can’t escape. With guitar playing that just screams talent. The rest of the song continues the epic trail the first half of the song left us with. 20/5

    6. Years of Silent Sorrow (7:53) Well, instead of ending this masterpiece on a quiet note. Abbath and crew decide to go out fighting. With one of the fastest songs on the album begins the drums tear through your ears. The guitar is pretty fast in an almost frantic fashion at certain times. “Dome in the sky black winds to taste
    shadowed spirits lead my way…
    Drifting everly alone years of silent sorrow
    until I’m home… ” With those words spoken the final song dies out leaving you only time to pick yourself up and try to comprehend the incredible album you just heard. 5/5

    In conclusion, if you haven’t stopped reading this yet and purchased this album. I recommend you do so right now. Enjoy.

    Posted on March 11, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now