Less overtly death metal influenced than the previous album Damned In Black, Sons Of Northern Darkness walks a fine line between death metal and more melodic black metal. Perhaps its the best described by what Immortal themselves called their music: holocaust metal. The songs range from blast beat freak outs to slower Celtic Frost/Viking metal like pummelling such as the fantastic album closer “Beyond The North Waves” There is a lot of variety here within each song, lots of change ups in the music, LOTS of power, melody and even groove. I think writing wise this may be Immortals finest album, at least since Pure Holocaust. Much of this album is violence inducing and sublime. Where the hell’s my longboat? Thematically SOND is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from Immortal, songs about Blashyrk (or however you spell it), war, triumph and cold wastelands. With song titles like “Antartica”, “In My Kingdom Cold”, or “Tyrants” you pretty much know what Immortal are about lyrically. Holocaust metal indeed.
The album sounds hugely powerful, seductively so. The guitars are huge, there’s just the right amount of bottom end to the mix, the drums are defined and powerful and the vocals sit perfectly within the framework of the music. Necro sounding this isn’t, its monstrous. They’ve never sounded better.
Horgh is an fantastic drummer and this is his best work. Abbath’s vocals and guitar playing are completely fantastic. I think he’s got the best voice in black metal. Iscariah sounds great, his bass provides a distorted powerful bottom end. Sons of Northern Darkness is Immortals most satisfying album since Pure Holocaust and is a great final work for a fantastic band. They went out on top of their game.