Awakened from hibernation in the freezing depths of Norway, IMMORTAL has returned to offer seven new cold, forest frolicking tunes to the world. Although the Norwegian trio has abandoned their raw, primitive, black metal roots, All Shall Fall continues where the band left off after Sons of Northern Darkness, with some ideas from the last few albums thrown in for good measure.
As soon as the opening track blares with Horgh‘s machine gun like double bass and trademark IMMORTAL riffs, the sound is undeniable. There is no sign of let down from IMMORTAL‘s hiatus, as the track rips through with tasteful blasts mixed in with Abbath‘s unique Popeye-esque vocals. Unfortunately, the album quickly moves into familiar territory as “The Rise of Darkness” sounds like a B-side track leftover from the Damned in Black sessions, and a rehashing of their older material. “Hordes of War” picks up the tempo, but the album still lacks any depth until the following track kicks in. Paying homage to BATHORY, “Norden on Fire” displays obvious BATHORY influences, everywhere from the acoustic intro, to the catchy mid paced riffing, and the album hits its apex at this point.
While an onslaught of double bass is unleashed in “Arctic Swarm,” the overall feel of the album is still trite and too familiar, as a sloppy solo at the end of the track segues into the last few songs. “Mount North” breathes second life into the album, with a few memorable lines and riffs, but at this point it’s too little, too late. As always, IMMORTAL has one epic track, and All Shall Fall closes with “Unearthly Kingdom” – a slow, BATHORY inspired song from hell. The track would not be classic IMMORTAL without the acoustic breakdown towards the middle, and after the well inserted break, the album comes to a close as the slow, catchy riff lulls the listener into feeling as if they were in the snowy fields of Norway.
This album is one of those albums where you more or less already know how it will sound, even before putting the disc in. At the end of the day, All Shall Fall is a mediocre album with a few great songs, but the catchiness that was found on Sons of Northern Darkness is not quite there this time around. While the band clearly still has the talent and drive, how much left is in the tank for these Norwegian warriors is to be determined. (Nuclear Blast Records)