Originally written by Ryan Plunkett
Wait a minute… what is going on here? There is decent production, a solid sound… there’s no way this could be the same 1349 that released Liberation just a little over a year ago. Sure enough, it is the dark lords returning with a stellar release of truly grim black metal. It seems having Frost behind the drums has rubbed off even more as their sound has grown a bit more akin to older Satyricon, and for me, that’s a huge plus. This is black metal that is unrelenting from start to finish, just the way I like it.
1349 hardly ever takes time to slow down with Frost’s blasting kicking through the entire album while Tjalve and Seidemann thrash in true undead nature. The best part about the guitars in this album as compared to the last is that you can actually make out what they are playing. No longer are their blackened riffs marred by sub-par shower room production. There’s a nice touch of technicality, raw speed, and the occasional hint of brutality that rings within the realms of the ten tracks that make up Beyond the Apocalypse. Ravn’s vocals feel stronger on this album and I am guessing this may be due to the better production. His gravel scream fits perfectly in the whirlwind mix of devilish evil.
With albums like this, I have been able to find a happy medium with true black metal. It is still raw, aggressive, and unholy, but the production is done well enough where it retains that grim atmosphere while not detracting from the music presented. This is contending with Mayhem’s latest for one of the best (true, mind you) black metal releases thus far this year. If you enjoyed Liberation despite the fact that it was marred by crap-ass production, then you must buy this immediately. It showcases 1349 working its way up to bigger and better things in the world of true Norwegian black metal. If you are even a casual fan of true black metal, I highly suggest you check this out. True, grim, and cold.