Immortal is a pioneer black metal band from Bergen, Norway. The band was formed from the remnants of Amputation, a death metal band from 1989.
Immortal's early full-length releases were of a traditional black metal style, but their acclaimed album At the Heart of Winter saw the band begin to experiment with a complex fusion of black metal and German thrash metal. The resulting sound was a style which characterized Immortal's later works. Immortal has been influential to many modern metal artists. It has arguably maintained the most occult-mysticism image and way of life traditionally credited to black metal. Their peculiar musical style of black metal has guaranteed them a spot on the list of the best bands in the history of the genre, and with recent (2006) mid-price reissues of their classic back catalog in major markets (i.e. North America), their music is now much more widely available.
Amputation recorded their first two demos in 1989 with Demonaz Doom Occulta on guitar and vocals, Jørn Inge Tunsberg on guitars, and Padden on drums. The group later reformed as Immortal around 1990-1991. Their third demo, Unholy Forces of Evil, saw a stylistic change to black metal and earned them a record contract. Tunsberg played many of the guitar parts of Immortal's first album Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism, but is not officially credited.
Gradually, Immortal gained immense popularity in the underground, releasing several highly-acclaimed records on the French label Osmose Productions. Their highly acclaimed album from this period, Pure Holocaust, served as a genre-defining milestone.
In 1995, the band released two video clips directed by British artist David Palser, entitled Masters of Nebulah Frost, through Osmose Productions. They featured many bizarrely-shot images of frozen landscapes and vast forests. These clips have become the template for many other bands producing such works.
Apart from the two core members Abbath and Demonaz, Immortal did not find a stable lineup until 1996, when drummer Horgh joined the band. In 1997, Demonaz (then main lyricist and guitarist) suffered acute tendonitis in the arm and was unable to continue playing. Still, he continued writing new material and managed the band, while bassist Abbath took over the guitar duty. In 2000, Immortal signed a record contract with German label Nuclear Blast; this change to a more prominent record company didn't affect their style, something which they proved on their record Sons of Northern Darkness.
Immortal decided to split during the summer of 2003 for personal reasons of the band members. However, in mid-October 2005, Abbath, Demonaz, and original Immortal drummer Armagedda reunited, and along with ex-Gorgoroth bassist King ov Hell and Enslaved guitarist Arve Isdal, they began work on a new project, dubbed I. This new band entered the studio at the end of April 2006 to record their debut album and was released November of 2006. Demonaz is the primary lyricist for the band.
In early June 2006 came word via the German magazine Rock Hard that Abbath and Horgh would resurrect Immortal once more. Abbath is quoted as saying:
“ I didn't really want to say it, but I don't give a shit. We will come back, stronger than ever. I've met with Horgh for the first time in over a year. He's built his new house here, right around the corner. In the next few days we will begin to rehearse our old 'Blizzard Beasts' classics. I'm already really hot on the idea. Immortal are timeless frost. One year more or less doesn't make a difference. We have all the time in the world. ”
In July 2006 it was announced that Immortal would reunite for a string of summer shows in 2007. They will headline the Inferno Festival in April, the Tuska Open Air festival in June/July, Metal Camp festival in July, and the Wacken Open Air festival in August. They will also make two concerts in the United States in July 2007. Filling in as bassist for these dates will be the Aura Noir bassist Apollyon.
After the reunion, Abbath and Horgh decided to reform the band and have been hinting at a new album to be released with-in 2008. This was confirmed by Demonaz in a recent interview with Eternal Terror. Apollyon is also now an official member of Immortal.