|2. Wrath from Above|
|3. Against the Tide (In the Arctic World)|
|4. My Dimension|
|5. The Darkness That Embrace Me|
|6. In Our Mystic Visions Blest|
|7. Damned In Black|
Damned In Black is the follow-up to 1999's "At The Heart Of Winter", which is by many considered Immortal's best record. DiB follows in it's predecessor's path, but is slightly more aggressive, whith more thrash-metal influences. The seven tracks that make up this album are for the most part very strong compositions, with "Triumph" and the title-track sticking out as my favourites.
I have always considered Abbath to be the greatest Black Metal vocalist, producing more of a reptilian croack that a hiss with his voice, and he delivers perfectly this time around as well.
All in all, the album is a worthy follow-up to ATHOW, albeit a bit weaker. If you are a fan of Trash and/or Black Metal, I would definately reccomend this record to you, but get "At The Heart Of Winter" first, being a slightly stronger record.
If you are new to Immortal and Black Metal, go buy "Sons Of Northern Darkness" as that is their most accesible record.
`At the Heart of Winter' saw Immortal moving in a different direction from their previous efforts. With Demonaz leaving the band as guitarist due to injury, we saw Abbath taking over and leading Immortal to a slicker, more mid-tempo sound. `Damned in Black' follows in `At the Heart of Winter's footsteps although it has been described as its angry older brother. I agree completely. It is faster, more aggressive, yet it still has very much the same feel.
Abbath's vocals are slightly different on this release, a little rougher, slightly less troll-like than on previous releases. I liked how they sounded on `At the Heart of Winter', but they are even better here. Let's just say that Popeye is in the house!
The guitar on this album has a nice, thick thrashy sound. It is a lot warmer than the razor-wire insanity that was their sound on older releases. Here it has more definition and makes the outstanding riffs stand out even more. Revel in the pompous majestic opening riff of the title track `Damned in Black'. Check out the first four riffs from `Against the Tide (In the Arctic World)', they are all absolutely brilliant! But the best riffs of the album, coupled with a headbang-worthy tempo change, are the first two of `Wrath From Above'. This is why metal is king!
The drum work also stands out very much on this release. Horgue gets a chance to show his stuff with many complex rhythms and loads blast beats. I'm not saying that this is a fast album, a lot of it is mid-paced (by black metal standards, anyway) but there are definitely some chaotic `Blizzard Beasts'-style sub-zero riffs present on this album.
As for keyboards, they are virtually nonexistent. They are so low in the mix that you can barely hear them. Not that this is a bad thing, they poke through when important and they still contribute to the overall feel of the album.
Overall this is an excellent release from Immortal. Don't be put off by the short running time of this album. Every track kills. Quality over quantity here. Would you have passed on `Reign in Blood' because it's only 30 minutes long? I don't think so. If you did go buy it immediately! `Damned in Black' came out very soon after `At the Heart of Winter' was released and it could have been just a more-of-the-same album But Immortal has taken their new sound and frozen it with elements their old, resulting in seven very strong tracks of black metal mayhem.