was a vision... A vision of
an outstanding and individual concept, which would last for many years hence.
Inspired by the great nature and surroundings of Os - a dark forest 30 km south
of Bergen, Norway - two young men, Abbath
doom Occulta and Demonaz
doom Occulta, created Immortal in the autumn of 1990. They had both been
involved in the Norwegian metal scene for a couple of years, Abbath in Old
Funeral and Demonaz in Amputation. From the start, the vision was clear: to
create a band in which music and image had a special, individual identity and
feeling. Bands like Bathory, Possessed and Celtic Frost were early inspirational
sources for both of them, not only musically, but also visually.
These first years in the history of Immortal were very important, since it was a
time full of mystery and inspiration. To live out the concept to the full,
Abbath and Demonaz began stalking the woods, drinking whisky and breathing fire.
The natural surroundings of their home territories - including mighty mountains
and deep fjords as well as dark forests and ruins - have always meant a lot to
the band. It was here where Abbath and Demonaz found their own sacred places,
which they named Blashyrkh. The concept of Immortal has always been based upon
Blashyrkh, this fictional realm of demons and northern blizzards.
original line-up of Immortal featured two other persons. Guitarist Jorn
Inge Tunsberg (now in Hades Almighty) had played in the previous band
Amputation. So had the very first drummer of the group, Gedda (also known as
Armagedda), who was the best drummer they've had until present skinbeater Horgh
entered the scene in 1996. Even though Armagedda remained in the band for nearly
two years, he didn't have the same attitude as Abbath and Demonaz. This would
later become the reason for his departure.
in a heavy period of inspiration, the band started to write some material in the
winter of 1990-91. Songs like "Enslaved In Rot" and "Suffocate
The Masses" were the earliest efforts. Intense rehearsing followed and
later in 1991 they recorded their first demo entitled "Suffocate".
After the second demo "Northern Upins Death" was recorded in the
summer of that same year, guitarist Jorn got kicked out of the band. Immortal
have never returned to the four-piece line-up again. Meanwhile, French label
Listenable Records showed interest in the demo and wanted the band to do a
7" single. The winter gives the members extra strength to create dark, evil
music, and so songs like "The Cold Winds of Funeral Frost" and
"Unholy Forces of Evil" were written in the late months of 1991. Of
course, the visual side has always been important, thus making photo-sessions a
special moment. When the single was recorded in the winter of '91, a giant storm
turned the weather into a true winter. They arranged a session later that night,
and it was so cold that it took hours to prepare it...
the labels that had shown early interest for the group was Osmose
Productions in France. They offered Immortal a two record contract, and the
band went for the deal. Abbath, Demonaz and Armagedda entered Grieghallen
Studios in April 1992 to set their debut-album onto tape. Some months later
Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism appeared on the metal-scene, and received a very
good response. Produced by the legendary Eirik "Pytten" Hundvin, this
first opus from Immortal is full of atmosphere and mystical feeling. Actually,
the title of the album was supposed to be "Battle In The North", but
the members changed it to "Diabolical..." because they thought it
would fit the music better. Musically, DFM doesn't reach the high speed of the
later releases, since it's a lot more atmospheric, including several acoustic
guitar parts. The lyrics for the album set the standard for what we have come to
expect from Immortal: evil nights and darkness accompanied by tales of old Norse
couple of months after the release, drummer Armagedda was told to leave the
band. The reason cited was personal differences, as Gedda didn't share the other
members' attitudes. His replacement was a relative unknown named Kolgrim.
As the least successful Immortal drummer, he only did one live-gig in Bergen in
December 1992 and was fired shortly thereafter due to laziness. A couple of
months earlier, the "black metal" movement in Norway had become hot
news for media, and a TV-company in Bergen wanted the band to appear in an
interview and to record a "black metal video". They approved, not
knowing what a mistake it would be. Immortal chose to do a video of the track
"Call of the Wintermoon", recorded it within 2 (!) hours and appeared
on the TV interview later that evening along with the broadcasting of the video.
Abbath, Demonaz and Kolgrim explained their band's unique concept to the
unappreciative TV-reporter, who only cared to ask whether they were Satanists or
not. Demonaz stated that it wasn't the case, and that their music couldn't be
labeled "black metal". Kolgrim proclaimed that Immortal played "holocaust
metal", their very own style. Today, Immortal has abandoned the term,
and prefers no label at all. Anyhow, the video turned out to be a real mess, not
showing the right feeling of the song in any way. It was recorded in the dark
woods (in the summer time!) and at the ruins of Lysekloster, where they shot the
photos for the Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism cover. Fortunately, the video
wasn't released at all, only shown on television that specific night.