Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism
Review by Felix on September 9, 2023.
Osmose Productions discovered a lot of promising underground bands in the early nineties. They signed noisy hordes like Impaled Nazarene, Driller Killer and, of course, Immortal. The instinct of Hervé, the owner of Osmose, was admirable, because Immortal's debut did not really indicate the huge potential of the band. It was mainly based on three components: firstly, its atmosphere, secondly, its atmosphere and thirdly, you guessed it, its atmosphere.
Immortal did not hesitate to make a virtue out of necessity. Neither the production nor their musicianship were impressive, but they kept consistently an eye on creating a haunting aura. With regard to its gloomy flair, Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism was comparable with the debut of Ancient and to a lesser extent with that of Dimmu Borgir. The most atmospheric track was 'A Perfect Vision Of The Rising Northland'. During its length of nine minutes, acoustic guitars appeared as well as nearly primitive keyboard lines, while the band performed simple dark melodies that were accompanied by an equally simple mid-tempo rhythm. Critics said that this song demonstrated their Bathory influence in a blatant manner. But it did not matter what they criticised, because every black metal newcomer of that time was inspired by the Swedish lone fighter. However, this monumental tune marked a successful conclusion of the album. It was just a shame that this ode to Scandinavia - as well as the other tracks - suffered from the production. It lacked of dynamism and pressure. In view of this mix, it is hardly possible to find positive aspects of the production and it would even be a euphemism to call it "trollish" or "natural". However, this album was a debut which was spat out by the underground. Therefore, it is not advisable to have high expectations in terms of the sound when listening to the full-length for the first time.
Its most rabid track constituted the second champion of the album. 'Call Of The Wintermoon' demonstrated that the formation was ready for attack without being willing to grant mercy. Due to the rapid rhythm at the beginning, it marked an infernal opening after the cautious intro and the raw vocals of Abbath expressed a mixture of agony and blasphemy. The remaining songs proved the song-writing qualities of the band without leaving a huge impact. Bubbling guitar lines and mid-tempo drums shaped the sinister tunes and only Norwegian patriots would say that every piece maintained a unique identity. Anyway, at the time of its release, this album came as a real bombshell. It transmitted the spirit of the then omnipresent Norwegian implementation of black metal in a very authentic way. But without these surrounding circumstances, the songs have lost a bit of their dark aura and it is hardly possible to understand the effect that the album had back in 1992. From today's perspective, this debut is still a good album, but it appears a bit shabby. Anyway, black metal historians need to know the here presented tracks in order to comprehend the beginning of Immortal.
Rating: 6.8 out of 10521
Review by Kostas on September 9, 2023.
We need no introduction when we talk about Immortal. They were and still are one of the norwegian black metal pioneers. Their first album, Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism was for sure more than just influential. A milestone of the subgenre and in metal history in general. However, no matter how much I love it, I have to be sincere and admit it is not really that good.
The first word that comes to mind when starting listening to the album is evil. Not because of Abbath's vocals. He actually seems to try too hard to sound sinister or something. His harsh vocal style is good, but I'm pretty sure he didn't need to pretend and he should have tried to be more physical and straightforward. The reason for the album's dark atmosphere is the guitar riffs, mainly. Repetitive yet catchy, they manage to set up a grim atmosphere which can at times cause goosebumps. Unfortunately, these cult auras are not enough to save this poor album from its important downsides.
And when I say downsides, I am not refering to Abbath's vocals only. Drumming is rather boring as well. In fact, I only enjoyed a few blast beats, which made the tracks more aggressive. From the pointless lyrics to the simplistic bass lines, everything else about Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism is mostly uninspired. And seriously, mastering and mixing only make things worse. The sound is literally so bad, some parts seem to be nothing more than a frenetic noise. 'A Perfect Vision Of The Rising Northland' is in my humble opinion the only fully enjoyable song in this record. There are keyboards, clever melodies and a great solo in this track. I just wish the whole album was like that.
However, no matter what I wish, Immortal's debut album is now a part of black metal history. A record which played a significant role in forming a whole scene. It is really a pity I don't have many good things to say about it musically. Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism is not an album I'd listen to occasionally. The musicianship is pretty amateur, the ideas are poor and the sound quality is terrible. Definitely an entertaining record but honestly nothing more than that.
Rating: 4.6 out of 10521