Originally written by Ryan Plunkett
It isn’t too hard to come across a band that embodies the true essence of black metal these days, but to come across a band that is actually worth listening to is another story. 1349 combines everything you could ask for in raw black metal: unbridled fury, ravishing grimness, and no pussy keyboards. The band has been quick to make a name for them and is already being hailed by some as the next best thing in the Norwegian black metal scene.
Liberation is the band’s first full-length release, and they have been fortunate enough to recruit Frost of Satyricon fame into their line-up behind the kit. Liberation starts off at a galloping pace with the first track, “Manifest”, and just refuses to go quietly into the night, ending with a cover of the Mayhem classic, “Buried by Time and Dust”.
Tjalve and Archaon are able to meld riffs that cut deep into your skin like the icy bite of the winter wind. The only problem is that with the lackluster production it is often times hard to make them out – the production showcases a constant wall of fuzz throughout the album while the guitars are played. It’s very similar to the stuff on Emperor’s Wrath of the Tyrant album. It’s not always the case, yet it ultimately affects the enjoyment of the music offered.
It comes as no surprise that Frost does a top-notch job behind the kit. Once again, I have the same qualm though: the production really hinders the sound of the drums. The toms sound fine, and so do the cymbals, but the bass drum is very subdued, and the snare has a very high-end sound to it, which is distracting. It sounds like Frost’s beating on a hollow wooden block at times. Despite this, he is quite capable of turning out some amazingly fast blast beats.
Now we come to Ravn’s vokills. These are the epitome of all that is black metal: grainy, raspy, raw, and full of hate. Would you have it any other way? I think not!
1349 is on the fast lane to underground success in the black metal scene. With this impressive debut of icy cold black metal, I have no doubt in my mind that these guys will be around in the scene for some time. The only thing that really holds this release back is the exceptionally raw production. For me personally, it holds it back to where I couldn’t enjoy it to the full potential it deserved.
If you like your black metal raw and dark, look no further than the new album from 1349. Your lust for all that is evil will be quenched.