Immortal

Diabolical Full Moon Mysticism

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Immortal's debut, Diabolical Full Moon Mysticism, presents the germ of a soon-to-be-great black metal outfit -- and, as one would expect, it's as rancid and unholy as other early Norse efforts, albeit a hair more melodic and listenable than some of its peers. Here, the group hasn't yet developed the songwriting dynamics and musicianship showcased on later efforts; the unkempt production leaves bass back in the dank caves from whence Immortal emerged, the drums and guitars boast a garage-worthy echo, and the nondescript death vocals are buried amidst the rubble. Riff-wise, Diabolical betrays an American death metal influence (before the band's truly Scandinavian heart froze), and guitarist Demonaz utilizes acoustic guitars during poorly conceptualized intros and interludes -- two elements the band would discard on the excellent follow-up, Pure Holocaust, which introduced the barely controlled blizzard-blastbeat mastery that would become the band's trademark. Still, "The Call of the Wintermoon" and epic death trudge "A Perfect Vision of the Rising Northland" are, in retrospect, a logical introduction to Immortal's (eventually) admirably unwavering vision. Black metal completists will most appreciate the raw opening chapter of this highly influential outfit's mighty saga, although one's time is much better spent with subsequent albums.

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