One of the very first truly “cult” Norwegian Black Metal albums, “Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism” stands strong, although not as the greatest jewel of IMMORTAL’s discography, as one of the works that better captures the dark and sinister atmosphere this genre had in its beginnings. Incredibly poorly produced, with Abbath singing with a demonic razor-like voice and freezing riffs that will take you straight to the Nordic winter, this album is a milestone for the blackened hordes that still creep in the underground mourning nostalgia and dedicating their pseudo-existence to this grim and beautiful musical attitude towards life.
As most of the early Black Metal releases, this is strongly influenced by BATHORY. I had even heard a lot of comments about this album being a plagiarism of “Under The Sign Of The Black Mark”. I wouldn’t go so far myself, as IMMORTAL really create an own identity, but if you want to have an idea of what this is about, giving a listen to BATHORY’s masterpiece could surely help, especially if you then add slower parts and even more atmosphere to it. But it is important to note that all remains of Thrash are gone in “Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism” and the haunting essence of pure, raw Black Metal can be heard, touched and smelled here, maybe even for the first time on its whole meaning.
Which are the elements that make DFM an interesting album? Basically, its desperate, doomed and nihilistic feeling, the vision of a band that shows exactly how the spirit of Black Metal was in the beginnings, that infantile, innocent and if you ask me, so beautiful way of living the life from the underground and defying all the deepest-rooted values of our society. This overwhelming cult for death, nature and paganism that so much amazes me but, unfortunately, had been so over-abused and vulgarized nowadays that doesn’t shock anymore. On the other hand, I praise this album because it is great to feel such an awesome band like IMMORTAL before they became that pathetic self parody that we all know, cause, let’s face it… “Pure Holocaust” was an outstanding album, but… how can we truly respect it if it has three freaks painted like evil racoons on the cover art (just the beginning of these annoying and endless photo sessions)? On the other hand, I have to say, with pity but conviction, that “Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism” didn’t pass the test of time. IMMORTAL is a great band that bases most of its power in aesthetics and even music seems to try to adapt into that fantastic imaginary reality they created… but, ok, if in the early 90s it must had been a wonderful experience to get into this dark philosophy, later Black Metal’s over exposure had rusted most of the magic it means.
“Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism” is a work of art in its own way. It has feeling, darkness, atmosphere and doom… in less words, contains the purest spirit of Black Metal itself. But unfortunately, it belongs to those rare cases of when an album is more a museum piece, a must-have in any Extreme Metal collection, rather than a really worthy listen. (Online September 18, 2005)