Review by Shezma for Immortal - At the Heart of Winter (1999)
Better Production Values, Still Got It
I'm not a fan of too much production value in my Black Metal. I want it to sound like they picked up their microphones and instruments out of the trash and recorded by playing back to a tape from a static filled amp. This isn't quite that, they found a bit of money to find decent guitars and an actual recording studio. This is still pretty good. I first listened to this album while on a mountain hike in the middle of winter with snow falling all around me. Fit perfectly, if only their was a bit more static involved to feel like the snow really hitting me with enthusiasm.
This is a great album. Immortal still has it into their 5th album and 10 years. They're such a uniquely sounding black metal band, that although they're are black metal through and through you can still hear the melodic tones in this one. I love melodic death metal a lot and though, as I stated earlier, I prefer the low-fi production for my black metal it works really well here. The melodic death metal is a change of pace that I welcome. The melody isn't progressive, it's not trying something new to take you somewhere else, it implants you right where you're sitting and puts you into a mesmerized state that you just want to sit back and enjoy. It takes away the atmospheric elements of nature or symphonic elements of horns and string instrumentation and just lets the guitar alone do it's thing to create a soundscape to fall into.
This is a definitive change of pace for Immortal that I haven't heard before from them or really since. Very unique album along my black metal library that I will be returning back to for more melody that I didn't know I needed.