You have to be careful with so-called ALL-STAR projects, in most cases they are stylistic confusions of some prominent musicians. This is not the case with Abbath, the mastermind of Black Metal superstars IMMORTAL who are on ice right now. Together with some buddies, all of them being well-known musicians, the project “I” was started. What you can expect here is a mixture between IMMORTAL, BATHORY and MOTÖRHEAD. Most notably it is the cold riffing which still breathes IMMORTAL’s spirit, especially since Demonaz is still involved in the song-writing. Of course there are no blast attacks, and there is not much Black Metal to the vocals, they are a bit more guttural and rough. The musical direction was mixed with classical Metal influences and even Hard Rock. The result of this is a well-sounding, very atmospheric Classic Metal sound that rocks rather sleazily in the first half and gets very epic after the fourth song. With that said, the whole thing has not turned out particularly complex, but instead certain (simple) guitar themes are repeated and the whole song is built upon that, which really reminds me of the song-writing of one Quorthon (BATHORY). Apart from the really majestic riffs, there is a very emotive lead guitar that plays numerous excellent solos. Now that does not come as a big surprise, since ENSLAVED’s Arve handles the second axe, to my mind he is among the best guitarists of Norway anyway. Beating the skins is a guy from IMMORTAL’s early days: Armagedda, who delivers truly godly drumming as well here. King Of Hell (GORGOROTH, SAHG) plays the solid bass guitar.
The atmosphere of superb songs like "Mountains”, “Days Of North Winds” or “Far Beyond The Quiet” is really mesmerizing and incredibly captivating. With a tune like the sleazy opener “The Storm I Ride” being rather reminiscent of a metallic variant of TANK/MOTÖRHEAD and misleading you at first. Both works surprisingly well, though, and this fine mixture is certainly going to cause many broken necks around the world.
Bottom line, once more Blast signed one of the best and most promising new-comer acts. Okay, they already had IMMORTAL on their roster, so the rest probably was a walk in the park…
(Online December 18, 2006)