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|Genres||Black metal, thrash metal, death metal (early)|
|Years active||1990–2003, 2006–present|
|Labels||Nuclear Blast, Osmose|
|Associated acts||Old Funeral, Mayhem, Gorgoroth, Borknagar, I, Hypocrisy, Aura Noir|
|Members||Abbath Doom Occulta
Demonaz Doom Occulta
|Past members||Jørn Inge Tunsberg
Immortal is a black metal band from Bergen, Norway, founded in 1990 by current frontman and guitarist Abbath Doom Occulta (Olve Eikemo) and former guitarist Demonaz Doom Occulta (Harald Nævdal). The pair worked with various drummers (including Grim, Armagedda and Hellhammer) for their first three albums, and were later joined by current drummer Horgh (Reidar Horghagen) in 1996.
The beginnings of Immortal can be traced to two short-lived bands, Old Funeral and Amputation, which were formed by Abbath and others in 1988. Immortal's original lineup consisted of ex-members from both of these bands. Old Funeral was founded by Abbath and Tore (Tore Bratseth), then went through a string of guitarists (including Demonaz, Varg Vikernes and Jørn Inge Tunsberg) until disbanding in 1992. Abbath, Demonaz, and Jørn formed Amputation, which released two demos with Demonaz on guitar and vocals, Jørn on guitars, and Padden on drums, before disbanding in 1990.
Members of Old Funeral and Amputation formed Immortal in 1990, with Abbath on bass and lead vocals, Demonaz on guitar, and Armagedda on drums. The music on their early demo recordings was death metal, with lyrics influenced by Morbid Angel and Possessed. The band then became influenced by Euronymous and bands like Bathory and Celtic Frost. They released their self-titled EP in 1991, which saw a stylistic change to black metal. This was followed by their debut album Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism in 1992. Immortal's early full-length releases were in traditional black metal style, but their most acclaimed album, At the Heart of Winter, marks the period when the band began to experiment with a complex fusion of black metal and German thrash metal. The resulting sound would characterize Immortal's later works.
In 1995, the band released two video clips directed by British artist David Palser, entitled Masters of Nebulah Frost, through Osmose Productions. They featured many bizarrely-shot images of frozen landscapes and vast forests with the band performing two songs from the album Battles in the North, "Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms" and "Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)", on a Norwegian mountainside. The video for "Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms" features Mayhem drummer, Hellhammer (Jan Axel Blomberg). These clips have become the template for many other bands producing such works, similarly to how "The Call of the Wintermoon" is also highly influential.
Apart from the two core members, Abbath and Demonaz, Immortal did not find a stable lineup until 1996, when drummer Horgh joined the band and is credited on their album, Blizzard Beasts. A major turning point for the band was in 1997 when Demonaz suffered acute tendinitis in his arm and was unable to continue playing, and Abbath took over for guitar. Despite this, he has continued writing lyrics and has been a manager for the band, accompanying them on tour, releasing updates and giving interviews about how things are progressing with the band. Abbath and Horgh wrote and recorded the band's next album, At the Heart of Winter. This album was very different from what had come before as it sounded like blackened thrash metal than any album before, or after it. During the tours for this album, the band recruited Iscariah to stand in for bass duties, and were so impressed with his skills that they made him a full-time member.
Grim committed suicide in 1999; however, it is said that this was unrelated to his departure from Immortal. The band frequently headlines (as recently as 2007) a festival held in his memory, the Hole in the Sky Festival.
The next album, Damned in Black was more similar to their old style. It was well received, but is frequently overlooked as it came between two of their classic albums, At the Heart of Winter and Sons of Northern Darkness. In 2000, the EP Immortal was repackaged as part of the True Kings of Norway compilation by Spikefarm Records. Also in 2000, Immortal signed a record contract with German label Nuclear Blast; this change to a more prominent record company didn't affect their style, a fact proven by their record Sons of Northern Darkness. Two months after this, Iscariah announced his intention to leave the band and was replaced by Saroth for the next few months.
Immortal decided to split during the summer of 2003 for various personal reasons of the band members. However, in mid-October 2005, Abbath, Demonaz, and original Immortal drummer Armagedda reunited, and along with Gorgoroth bassist King ov Hell and Enslaved guitarist Ice Dale (Arve Isdal), they began work on a new project, dubbed I. This new band entered the studio at the end of April 2006 to record their debut album, Between Two Worlds, released in November 2006. Demonaz also features as lyricist for the band.
In early June 2006, German magazine Rock Hard reported that Abbath, Demonaz and Horgh had decided to resurrect Immortal once more. Abbath is quoted as saying:
|“||I didn't really want to say it, but I don't give a shit. We will come back, stronger than ever. I've met with Horgh for the first time in over a year. He's built his new house here, right around the corner. In the next few days we will begin to rehearse our old 'Blizzard Beasts' classics. I'm already really hot on the idea. Immortal are timeless frost. One year more or less doesn't make a difference. We have all the time in the world.||”|
In 2007, Immortal reunited for a string of summer shows. They headlined the Inferno Festival in April, the Tuska Open Air festival in June/July, Metal Camp festival in July, and the Wacken Open Air festival in August. They also performed twice in the United States in July 2007. Filling in as bassist for these dates was Aura Noir bassist Apollyon. Immortal first toured Australia and New Zealand in March 2008.
After the reunion, Abbath and Horgh decided to reform the band on a permanent basis. This was confirmed by Demonaz in an interview with Eternal Terror. Apollyon is the permanent replacement for Iscariah, and the three began working with Demonaz on material for their next album All Shall Fall. All Shall Fall was recorded in April–May 2009, and was released on September 25, 2009.
Abbath and Demonaz are interviewed in the 2009 American documentary by Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell, Until The Light Takes Us.
According to Dagbladet.no, the members of Immortal are involved in a legal battle with each other over the rights of the Immortal trademark. They are also due to submit a new album to the Nuclear Blast label, though very little information regarding the album and its release have been disclosed. It is confirmed however by Abbath, that the album has been pretty much completed with the aid of various musicians.
Immortal's lyrics are based on an overall theme, a realm called "Blashyrkh", which is said to be "demon-and-battle-filled". The idea for Blashyrkh came about from Demonaz and Abbath's feelings of isolation living in Bergen. They created Blashyrkh to mirror those feelings, basing it on Norway, including "winter landscapes", "the woods, the mountains, the darkness, the fog", and "glacial valleys". When writing lyrics, the band Immortal's lyricist Demonaz often takes long walks in the Norwegian countryside near his hometown of Bergen for inspiration. Unlike most black metal bands, Immortal doesn't have satanic-themed lyrics. However, on the band's first album, there were a few satanic references but without any lyrics attacking religion.
- Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism (1992)
- Pure Holocaust (1993)
- Battles in the North (1995)
- Blizzard Beasts (1997)
- At the Heart of Winter (1999)
- Damned in Black (2000)
- Sons of Northern Darkness (2002)
- All Shall Fall (2009)
- Suffocate (demo, 1991)
- Immortal (EP, 1991)
- True Kings of Norway (5-way split, 2000)
- The Seventh Date of Blashyrkh (DVD, 2010)
- Abbath Doom Occulta (Olve Eikemo) – vocals, guitar (1990–2003, 2006–present), bass (1990-1998), drums (1992–1993, 1994–1995)
- Demonaz Doom Occulta (Harald Nævdal) – lyrics (1990–2003, 2006–present), guitar (1990–1997)
- Horgh (Reidar Horghagen) – drums (1996–2003, 2006–present)
- Apollyon (Ole Jørgen Moe) – bass (2006–present)
- Jörn Tonsberg – guitar (1990–1991)
- Armagedda – drums (1990–1992)
- Kolgrim (a.k.a. Padden) (Jan Atle Åserød) – drums (1992)
- Kapten Galachtik – bass (1992–1993)
- Grim (Erik Brødreskift) – drums (1993–1994; died 1999)
- Hellhammer (Jan Axel Blomberg) – drums (1995)
- Ares – bass (1998)
- Iscariah (Stian Smørholm) – bass (1999–2002)
- Saroth (Yngve Liljebäck) – bass (2002–2003)
- Serba, John. "Immortal". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
- Allmusic review for At the Heart of Winter
- Allmusic review for All Shall Fall
- Lee, Cosmo. "Immortal: All Shall Fall". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
- Michael Moynihan, Didrik Søderlind: Lords of Chaos, First Edition, Feral House 1998, p. 39.
- "Immortal Official Web Site: Band". immortalofficial.com. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- Brad Angle: Immortal: The Brothers Grim. In: Guitar World. 2007.
- "Reunited Immortal to Headline Norway's Inferno Festival". Blabbermouth.net. 2006-10-01. Retrieved 2006-10-01.
- "Immortal Rehearsing Songs for New Studio Album". BW&BK. 2007-06-06. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
- "New Album Release Date". Retrieved 2009-08-03.[dead link]
- "Immortal Interview, Decibel magazine, October 2009". Archived from the original on 2009-09-14.
- "ABBATH: I Thought DEMONAZ And HORGH Quit IMMORTAL". Blabbermouth.net. Blabbermouth. Retrieved 23/12/2014. Check date values in:
- Demonaz Interview - Immortal Interview by Justin M. Norton