The album is custodian to Immortal’s two most loved live staples ‘Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms’ and ‘Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)’, which themselves would be subject of a later VHS/DVD called “Masters Of Nebulah Frost”. Both embody two different sides of Immortal, and both are the best of those worlds. ‘Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms’ is a fast cut, whereas ‘Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)’ is a much slower, almost atmospheric and epic undertaking in tradition of ‘A Perfect Vision Of the Rising Northland’. The latter has a churning church organ, acoustic guitar playing and overall recalls “Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism” in terms of construction and instrumentation, but not vocal style. There are other strong tracks to be found on this record, but these two by and large remain the signature tracks of this session, and will be forever identified with the band.
Whereas the duo’s style was already minimalistic on “Pure Holocaust” here Immortal opt for an even more stripped down and barbaric approach. Taking the template from the preceding record and building further upon its initital framework “Battles In the North” sounds like a storm of frozen stormwinds that carry the sounds of battle. Forgoing an intro Immortal immediately break into the title track, and the crude production by Grieghallen Studio resident producer Eirik ‘Pytten’ Hundvin is the most crunchy yet charming the band had ever had at that point. The guitar tone is far thicker, as are the drums, Abbath’s bass guitar doesn’t feature as prominent as it once did, but there’s far more care put into vocal production. Overall “Battles In the North” is the duo’s best work with a stellar production and fitting imagery that complements the snow, frost, ice subject matter of their lyrics. Blashyrkh finally means something.
As with the preceding album “Battles In the North” completes Immortal imagery. For the first time the duo had accumulated enough funds to afford a professional photoshoot and the album’s photography is nothing short of spectacular in all its goofy glory. The cover photo has both men kneeled in the snow holding their black guitars and bass, decked out in black metal uniform, complete with corpse paint, bullet belts and spikes. The back - and inner sleeve of the digipack feature an additional two or three different photos of the same shoot, all lyrics to the songs and the usual production notes and thank-you lists. Notable is that some of the lyrics contain spelling – and grammatical errors. Apparently Osmose Productions didn’t care enough to correct these faults for the final print, or to bring these to the band’s attention. It isn’t a big criticism yet a very valid one. Amateuristic things like this usually tend to hold the extreme metal genre back.