Last week the official Immortal facebook page posted a revamped band photo with one of its founding members startlingly absent. Abbath's departure from Immortal had been public news for some time but it didn't really quite hit me until I saw this photo. After a brief ponder, I smiled, then read a mile of "No Abbath, No Immortal!" comments from a plethora of fans. I am happy that a band I so dearly love is no longer in toil. Rather than get involved in an argument with these folks, I wanted to chime in here instead.
I don't seek credibility for the following, but I want to clearly state how must I adore the music of early Immortal. They have reigned atop my list of best metal bands for almost 20 years now, despite having released a handful of regrettable albums since 1999. I have even spent several hours speaking on the telephone with guitarist Demonaz. What kind of fan turns their back on a band in reaction to a line-up change? What kind of fan has the gumption to say that they are owed another album?
In my eye it is the guitarist who has written a song, and if the guitar parts have been written solely by the guitarist, then the song was written by the guitar player, and the other members have accompanied the guitars by writing bass, vocals, and drums to further adorn the guitars, at least in black metal this is the case. So if you want to argue it like this, for the first four albums, Demonaz was Immortal, and since then, Abbath has been Immortal (the albums I think are shit).
"At the Heart of Winter" was the dawn of a new era of Immortal with the advent of sloppily played simplistic arena rock and guitar riffs and mediocre fist pumping mosh parts, all brought to fruition my Peter Tagtgren's lifeless and sterile recording style. Adorned by black metal's most iconic guffaw inducing band photos, it was clear to me back then that this band was done now that Abbath was at the helm. Since then he has split up the band, reunited the band, been in and out of rehab, released a solo album, been through 4 bass players, applied for a trademark of the Immortal band name behind the other members' back, played in a Motorhead cover band, gone day drinking with a photographer for Metal Hammer so he could pose for publicity photos, and hes even reunited Old Funeral for a one off gig. Now he has begun writing even worse music with another norsecore darling King Ov Hell, and Benighted's Kevin Foley. Immortal released a statement (read this!) a few days after posting the photo regarding the struggle that Abbath has been putting his band mates through recently. It was no surprise but I'm glad to hear he is no longer bringing Immortal down with him.
Now Norway's Scott Weiland is set to tour the US with Skeletonwitch and High on Fire (hasn't EVERYONE on earth seen these bands live already?) Abbath (band) have released two laughable singles so far that sound like they were written by a 5 year old and made a desperate attempt to adhere relevance to his new foray by recording a version of "Nebular Raven's Winter" (from Blizzard Beasts) with the new line-up to further insult the friend and band mate he has since betrayed Demonaz. So if this sounds like the kind of artist you want to support, please consider the above before doing so.