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Label: Darkness Shall Rise Productions / Release date: 31st August 2023
Holy smoke! It’s just getting better and better with Darkness Shall Rise and their releases. This time is no exception, as we’re dealing here with mighty Immortal. In a time when Death Metal was the most popular (sub)genre of metal, even most of the Norwegian Black Metal bands of the early 90s went through a phase of playing it sometime in the late 80s and very early 90s. That was also the case with Immortal.
The Northern Upirs Death is a compilation released as a Jewel-case CD with 16-page booklet including an interview with Demonaz. Thus, this compilation includes the only self-titled demo of the band from ’91 when they still played dark death metal, the infamous self-titled EP from ’91 and 2 rehearsal-songs from ’92. It’s all been carefully remastered for this DSR reissue by Patrick W. Engel at Temple of Disharmony.
Now, let’s take a further look into this particular CD release. As mentioned above, it starts with their Immortal demo, which was recorded at ‘Gamle Slaktehuset’ on 5th July, 1991. Prior to releasing this demo, they were called Amputation, playing the typical brand of brutal & old school Death Metal. In other words, that’s exactly what can be heard on this 1991 Demo. This demo sounds nothing like what would be released by the band a year later. The biggest surprise for me on this Demo would be the vocals – being deep, guttural and twisted, as Abbath strays far away from his latter day use of cold, harsh, raspy shrieks. It’s almost shocking to know that this is the same guy as we know him today.
Musically speaking; these songs aren’t strictly fast, although there’s some blasting throughout the demo. The production is ultra-raw and incredibly poor, but remember that this is a self released/produced demo after all. It’s still pretty fucking good, esp. with that down tuned & muddy guitar tones. Track-list for this Demo release goes as following; “Suffocate The Masses”, “Enslaved In Rot”, “Left On The Stake” and this very short intsrumental “Outro”. My personal favourite would be would be “Suffocate The Masses”, mainly due to the fact that it’s the most brutal and probably the fastest track on this demo. Btw. interesting thing about “Enslaved In Rot” is that it inspired the moniker of Enslaved, which popped up in Haugesund later same year.
Next three songs, respectively “Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism (Intro)”, “Unholy Forces Of Evil” and “The Cold Winds Of Funeral Frost” are from their infamous self-titled EP from ’91. The sound is more or less similar to the one on their Demo from the same year. It’s raw, ugly and grim, yet again not very representative of their future career.
Finally, two songs from 1992 rehearsal session; “Blacker Than Darkness” and once again “Unholy Forces Of Evil”, being the only track that appears on both 1991 Demo & EP. Obviously, as the band was practicing, this recording is no different to any other rehearsal session, where the band is having a blast with energetic performance on both tracks.
I guess not all fans of Immortal will enjoy The Northern Upirs Death, as it is completely different to anything the band recorded ever since. For me this CD is a piece of history, before Immortal changed the style and before they rose to fame as the second wave’ premium Black Metal act.
Make sure to order your own copy while it lasts from https://darknessshallrise.de/product/immortal-nor-the-northern-upirs-death-cd-pre-order/?v=dd65ef9a5579 or just learn more about this particular release at https://immortaldarknessshallrise.bandcamp.com/album/the-northern-upirs-death