As Mayhem have changed their style unrecognisably, Emperor have disbanded and Burzums Varg Vikernes remains imprisoned, the most prominent acts on the Norwegian black metal scene are Dimmu Borgir and Immortal. While the former prefer to indulge in keyboard-laced theatrics, Immortal continue to stick to the raw, old-school style with a degree of tenacity matched only by Darkthrone and Gorgoroth.
Formed by Abbath (vocals/guitar/bass), Demonaz (guitar), Jørn (guitar) and Armagedda (drums) in 1990, Immortal secured a contract with the French Osmose label the following year. Jørn had left the line-up by the time the band recorded their debut, Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism. Basically extremely rapid metal with intense blastbeats, the label the band gave their work was Holocaust Metal, a predictably controversial title which attracted plenty of attention to Immortal. Armagedda left in May 1992, with Kolgrim the first in a series of temporary drummers subsequently recruited by the band. Pure Holocaust upped the ante, while Blizzard Beasts and At The Heart Of Winter saw the bands musicianship and composing abilities ratcheted up a notch. The powerful Horgh was recruited as the bands new drummer shortly before the recording of Blizzard Beasts. This album also proved to be Demonazs last as a playing member (he continues to write lyrics) as he was obliged to retire with acute tendonitis (the result of playing at warp-speed velocities in cold practice rooms without warming up first, it is reported). Damned In Black, featuring new bass player Iscariah, saw Immortal take their rightful place near the head of the Norwegian movement.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.