I feel it’s fair in saying that Immortal could have released a shoe instead of a record and it wouldn’t have mattered. People would have bought the shoe. People will buy the record.
Arguably, Immortal’s brand is more important than their music now, 20 years after their first demo. The Aston Martin of black metal (if Aston Martins were Norwegian), Immortal have become, well, immortalized through endless internet memes playing off their iconic status, and it’s possible they’ve more fans than ever based on the strange cult of personality that’s built up around them in their downtime.
But as the band has reunited and All Shall Fall is their first record since the well-received Sons Of Northern Darkness, there was a vague feeling leading up to its release that this would disappoint, particularly given the wider attention that Immortal and black metal in general has garnered recently.
As All Shall Fail goes, it’s not a disappointment, but it is what was expected. Despite some more adventurous use of phased guitars (particularly on album closer “Unearthly Kingdom”), the sense of consistency hasn’t changed for Immortal over the seven years between releases. They’re still doing their black metal their way, and its pretty awe-inspiring stuff.
If you are looking for Immortal to blow your mind any differently than they already have, you might be let down here, but to everyone else, this is the black metal that you imagined it would be.