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An unapologetic monster - 80%

autothrall, October 23rd, 2009

Thank God that your Savior sleeps below the Earth eternally in a fictional repose, for if he was alive and in the world today, and he heard 1349, he would weep tears of blood and mourn the futility of human hope.

Who could blame him? 1349 is the audio equivalent to an entire battalion of World War II tanks rolling over your peasant fucking skull. Take everything you've ever loved about black metal, and now make it 10x faster and more brutal. After the lackluster Chaos Preferred EP they unleashed their excellent debut Liberation, but even that is not this, this is a fucking monster.

Beyond the Apocalypse is generally fast as fuck, and it offers absolutely no apologies. Frost is even more a beast behind the drum set here than in Satyricon. "Chasing Dragons" is your standard spell of destruction, a fast and unforgiving experience in grim perfection, slowing only for a moment to creep you out. How is it possible that something could be even more manic than this? Well, once the title track enters the fray, you'll see that it's certainly possible, with spastic riffing on both guitars and bass under the percussive barrage. These are followed by two of my favorite tracks on the record, "Aiwass Aeon" and the savage, venomous "Necronatalenheten". But don't expect a weak link anywhere, tracks like "Singer of Strange Songs" and "Blood is the Mortar" will murder whatever is left of you. The album simply inspires violence in my soul. I just want to beat my fist into a bloody pulp on whatever is nearby when I hear this.

The album also has this reverberating, grim vibe to the production which truly drives home the blazing riffs and vitriolic Ravn snarl. Just add a heaping dose of Satan, and you've got the very best album released by 1349 yet, even better than the comparable Hellfire. It's just that vile.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Bring out your Darkthrone clones! - 45%

The_Ghoul, November 22nd, 2008

Ever wonder what olskool Darkthrone would sound like with Frost drumming and 2 guitarists? Wonder no more, because here comes 1349, who, for the most part, are content ripping off bands that came before them.

Many reviewers for this album (and not just on this site, either) sound like they're reviewing Under a Funeral Moon by Darkthrone. And that's not a surprise, either; I listened to it, expecting the second coming of True Norwegian Black metal. The album opens up with Chasing Dragons, and what do we get... amorphous riffs over Frost's incessant blasting and middle-of-the-road vocals. It really isn't until Singer of Strange Songs that anything new is introduced into the mix, and as a result, Singer of Strange Songs, however "strange" a song it is, is pretty much the only song I listened to on Beyond the Apocalypse. Sure, Internal Winter and The Blade are pretty cool songs, too, but once you take out the impressive-but-repetitive-as-hell blasting, most songs on here pale and shrivel up in their Frost-less existence. As I said earlier, only Singer of Strange Songs could survive on its own without Frost's drumming.

Many have said that Hellhammer (the drummer, not the band) is responsible for the stereotype of black metal having repetitive 24/7 blasting. I'll argue that Frost is responsible to my death, because while Hellhammer tries to throw in interesting beats here and there and plays with the time signatures, Frost is happy to blastbeat till there's no more blastbeating to be done. Without his precious blastbeats, he really has no talent. Normally, though, repetitive drumming shouldn't mar a black metal album. This is different. 1349 rely almost exclusively on Frost's drumming to hold the listener's attention. When Frost decides to slow down or try something else, he has no hope of garnering the listener's attention. And because there are few good riffs here (I can count them on my hand, and half of them are in Singer of Strange Songs), that creates several holes in the album.

And herein is the curse of 1349 that plagues other bands, even more productive and legendary bands such as Manowar. And that curse is that they cannot write a consistent album to save their lives. 1349, however, are especially egregious here. Half these songs are pure filler, and several others have one good riff that you have to skip through a good part of the song to get to, and then before you know it, it's over. I'd estimate that only 10% of this album is worthwhile.

However, I will have to give them a bit of slack. For instance, no matter how repetitive Frost can get (and trust me, he gets mighty repetitive here), his blastbeats are very rapid and take lots of practice to do. As well, the production/performances are pretty clean from every bandmember, and Ravn is a good, if not generic, vocalist. And the problem here isn't that this is absolute drek, it's that it's THE epitome of generic black metal. This is what people think of when they think of generic black metal. And because they decided to fill this up with endless filler, I can't give it a passing grade.

Sacred Blasphemy - 80%

Grimulfr, November 14th, 2008

1349 is back with their third release, and it is the most proficient material to date, “such sweet disharmony, almost sacred in its blasphemy.” I like the formula, I like the sound quality (the details do not get buried). Great energy and technical precision. More complex than Liberation, it took me one listen to admit I really liked it and two spins to say I think it is one of the best of the year so far. It took a few more listens for me to decide that I like it best of their three disks. Speed, intensity, brutality, still the best three adjectives for 1349, have all been turned up another notch. The pace travels from warp speed to supersonic and back again, occasionally throwing in much slower sequences. The guitars stand out more, a much fuller presence, with more crunch and more volume. The drum sound it much better, more substance. The drums still dominate in terms of volume and Frost shows his skills once again. I love Ravn’s Ron Royce styled vocals but they are a little weaker in the mix this time, though I think he is a bit more expressive this time. Tjalve and Archaon have created some masterful guitar work and thankfully Seidemann has been given some room to move beyond filling in the rhythm.

The layers of noise flow together and blend into convoluted chaos, yet there is a depth of sound that lets one discern most everything. The songs are once again numbered from 11 instead of 1. The opening track, “Chasing dragons,” has lots of twists and turns and offers that “humanity is no longer an issue.” The drumming controls pace and intensity and the guitars fill in the spaces and add layer upon layer, offering some memorable riffs along the way. “Aiwass-Aeon” is just what old school fans would hope for. The pace is fast, of course, and the guitars hold there own. The drumming helps the guitars more the song along instead of setting the standard for the guitars to follow. “Nekronatalenheten” demands that I offer a lyrical quotation... ”7 babies for the beast, dissecting, selecting the best pieces...” This song starts with a slow and atmospheric crunch and speed builds, then the drums take over. Slow repeating guitar riffs, nice cymbal work, thunderous bass, all add to the sonic maelstrom until the end. “Singer of strange songs” uses bass guitar and cymbal working together to set the early tone. By two minutes it is warp speed again with warbling guitars and blast beats. The guitar lines will be instantly familiar to all, classic Norwegian black metal. After a slow break at five minutes, we get a boost of speed, a drum solo, and slow and heavy rhythm. The drums steal the show for the rest of the song. Song 18, Internal Winter” has a slow doom intro, with the guitar lead simple but catchy. The faster than warp speed guitar rhythms are the steadying focus amidst the maelstrom. There are spurts of even faster drumming and the guitars jump all over the place, though a pattern emerges as you listen. Of all the songs this one carries itself the best musically, great composition, I especially like the final two minutes. The closing song is a strange one. “The blade” sounds to me like a spinning turntable after the needle has reached the end, with whispered vocals and slow precise atmospheric music with a weird distortion, then it ends as it began. Buy this album and help in the war, (quoting from the lyric sheet again), “blood is the mortar, lay waste this world in blasphemy.”

Originally written for http://teethofthedivine.com

The New Wave from Norway? - 90%

woeoftyrants, April 9th, 2007

It seems the last few years has seen a resurgence in Norway for metal. 1349 spearhead this movement, and Beyond the Apocalypse shows the apex of the band before the highly revered Hellfire. This band has slowly been growing in popularity, and they damn well deserve it; they pretty much put Norway back on the map for merciless, blistering black metal. With all of the older bands either treading water or doing something totally new, 1349 represent a hearkening to the razor-sharp, grim, blasting sort of BM that upholds the standards of the genre. Not only do they forcefully put this type of metal out into the open, but they do it with passion and vigor.

The great thing about 1349 is that they don't continuously play the same riffs and structures over again; the songwriting craft is fucking brilliant and executed in an incredibly tight manner. Not only that, but they don't stick to one "type" of black metal. Take all the best elements of mid-period Emperor, Mayhem, (WLA era) old Darkthrone, a dash of Satyricon of course, and add in a great deal of thrash influence. This is the formula of 1349, in essence. The rapid-fire bass drums and fiery chords that open "Chasing Dragons" remind me of what Emperor would have done circa '97, but in a much darker, less sophisticated manner. After this, the band take listeners through dark passages of piercing tremolo riffs, semi-technical drum fills and blast beats, and Ravn's venomous vocals. Other songs like "Nekronatalenhaten" and "Blood is the Mortar," as well as the title track, show off a well-used thrash influence with machine-gun palm muting and punishing power chords. Even with the constant battery, 1349 prove that they can write a true black metal epic; "Singer of Strange Songs" is a prime example. Unsettling, dissonant riffs and inhuman blast beats drive the song until its mid-section where things slow down to a near-paralyzing doom metal pace as Ravn shreds his vocal chords into oblivion. Hazy, empowering riffs carry the rest of the song, and then it's right back to the grind. The tracklisting is perfectly aligned to display the unrelenting brutality and yet the variety in the band's sound, whereas most bands will put the best tracks first and leave the second half of the album to mediocrity. With 1349, this is not the case; "Internal Winter" and "The Blade" perfectly compliment each other; the former starts off in a foreboding manner before shooting itself to high-speed mania for the majority of the song, only slowing down long enough to alleviate the atmosphere. The album's closer is nothing short of terrifying with its gloomy, disharmonic organs and layered whispers as the main vocals.

Archaon and Tjalve are the quintessential black metal guitarists. Their main specialty, of course, are along the lines of skin-peeling, fret-burning tremolo riffs, best illustrated on "Chasing Dragons" and the hellish harmonies on "Blood is the Mortar." But there is plenty of room for technicality and variety, and these two are by no means a one-trick pony. Jarring time changes are seen on "Perished in Pain," and it's on the other chaotic moments where their true ability to maintain stamina are seen. Both guitarists make themselves known through occasional leads, and I would dare say that their chops are some of the tightest seen in black metal today.

Frost's performance really surprised the hell out of me. I automatically knew that his drumming would be taken to a new extreme in 1349, but I didn't know if he could actually pull it off. Believe me, he does. He's always been known for his blast beats, which there are plenty of without going into overkill. The speed acheived is almost unbelievable, especially in the frenzied but highly accessible "Aiwass-Aeon" and "Internal Winter." Not only is the drum work more extreme than anything he's acheived with Satyricon, but it's also more technical. The fills take on a dangerous, tumbling nature on "Nekronatalenhaten," and many songs see the drummer throwing in speedy cymbal hits and accents within the confines of highly demanding beats. Frost's double bass chops, as always, are exactly on par with the music.

Ravn at first glance may be a very typical black metal vocalist; raspy, raging, and gravelly. But further listening reveals him to be an entity of his own. In combination with the lyrics and his off-kilter vocal patterns, Ravn becomes the main purveyor of the pitch-black atmosphere that 1349 give off. Some truly passionate screams are seen on "Singer of Strange Songs," and the ferocity behind the title track will definitely show you who's boss.

Had this album possessed a clean sound, it would have failed. The sharp, tinny drum sound will remind many of the old-school Norwegian bands, and the buzzing, razor-like guitar distortion will get the heads-a-swinging in the context of the riffs. It's absolutely perfect for the raging, hateful tone of the music. By no means is it an easy task to make it through this album in one listening session, as this sort of metal requires plenty of patience from the listener. But if you can make it through, you'll discover that 1349 may very well be the new saviors of Norwegian metal.

Beyond Liberation - 83%

PazuzuZlave, November 21st, 2005

A weird thing happened in the year of 2004. Amidst all albums I bought and listened to which were released in that year a black metal album stood out most. Weird, because I generally prefer melodies over raw primitive black metal. It didn’t go unnoticed for me long though, that this album actually have melodies, they’re just disguised heavily under the rest…

Yes, the general feeling and sound of this album is harsh, but underneath lies deep variations to it. Not first noticeable, “Beyond The Apocalypse” features some of the most beautiful melodies ever heard in black metal. Just take “Singer of Strange Songs” for an example. A relatively straightforward tune, but with strong variation and with killer riffs which tend to change a little bit here and there. In the middle part, we’re offered a weird guitar structure (reminiscent of Dödheimsgard’s work) which (and I’m serious) NO other band could have come up with. “Chasing Dragons”, “Alwas Aeon” & “Necronatalenheten” are the most brutal tracks, and it sure shows. The only letdown this album has is that it gets a little boring towards the end. The 3 songs after “Singer of…” offer nothing new and just ride on the other songs. But as long as it lasts, “Beyond the Apocalypse” is a hell of an original beast of an album. It’s also superior to their other releases, which seem quite dull in comparison to this, especially “Liberation”.

Every single member seem to do their part, and I’m for once glad to say that, because here you can hear everything. Even though it’s “under produced” in the black metal way of style, every instrument has its own cling to it. First of all, the drumming is excellent. Being very well thought through, Frost has really managed to get everything right. The riffs are, as already stated, very good and raw, as well as the vocals. Ravn may sound like most other black vocalists, but as long as it fits, it’s all good. And it does sound great!

Is this then part of the taboo “melodic” black metal scene? I’d say not, because there are no keyboards or synth sounds used at all, and the melodies are all created on guitar.
The technicality on this album will surely be hard to surpass. The strange, albeit tremendous melodies have a certain strength in them which will make it hard for other bands in the same genre to contend with. Four words: Raw technical black metal. If that sounds appealing to you, you should definitely get this album right away!

Went off track since Liberation - 75%

Virella, December 6th, 2004

Well, I really liked Liberation, it was an awesome album. I mean, it was a breath of fresh air in a sea of boring generic Black Metal. Out of nowhere, 1349 and just light up that spark in me. jeje, enough of the opetic garbage and on with the review.

The thing about this album is that there really isn't any new about it, in terms of genre. Sure, there is some cool stuff (courtesy of Frost), but in general it feels like we've heard this before. In Liberation you get that sense of rush, anger, and pure rawness that the genre needed at the time. On "Chasing Dragons" it's pretty much the same beat all the time, nothing out of the ordinary. It's not until "Necronatalenheten" that things get interesting. Like the song title says in the first letters "Necro", and that's exactly how the song starts to sound (which is a good thing). The only other song I liked was "Singer of Strange Songs", first of all let me say that THAT is a weird title, I like it, it's something you would never expect it to be a BM song. This songs is just fricking brutal, it starts with the bass and then the pedals, uuhh. Now that's what i wanted in the first place!! Something original!! But in general it's a good album, but BE CARAFUL if your expecting something like "Liberation" you'll be dissapointed.

This Album Will Crush You - 95%

Vor, December 2nd, 2004

Before purchasing this album it is important to know that this release is not an easy smooth-flowing album to listen to. In fact, it's painful, but in a good way of course. For those unfamiliar with the band, 1349 play blisteringly fast black metal featuring Frost, one of the genre's finest musician's having played for the likes of Satyricon and Gorgoroth. Beyond the Apocalypse is hands down one of the most devastating chaotic black metal releases of 2004 that seems to possess that "I don't care what you think" kind of attitude, and it works.

The album begins like an overwhelming wall of sound that forces the listener to try and comprehend in vain the full impact which they are experiencing. There are only two words that could best describe the music: fast, chaotic. 1349 stick to that formula whether you like it or not, having no remorse for those listening. One not used to this black metal sound would immediately pass this as unlistenable garbage while those into it will be unable to part with the record. The guitars blaze their way through the songs while Frost's inhuman drumming batters away at the kit. There is no way to truly describe how incredible the guy's drumming is. You know what to expect if you've heard him play. The vocals are in the classic raspy black metal style as they scream about the typical dark themes. Beyond the Apocalypse has great production as well that doesn't stray from the actual music. Very clear yet raw just the way you like it.

With this album, 1349 have definately made their mark as one of the greatest black metal bands of the modern day. It seems that anything Frost touches turns into gold. Many people have criticized this album for being too sloppy and going nowhere, but it does just the opposite. Beyond the Apocalypse screams black metal from start to finish with great songwriting that travels down a one way road of chaos. Get this if you're a fan of Anaal Nathrakh, Gorgoroth, Satyricon, or just good fast black metal. 1349 prove that there is still much life in the Norwegian scene and keep the black metal flame burning brighter than ever.

an improvement... - 75%

krozza, October 9th, 2004

It seems as though there is some life left in the traditional Black Metal scene after all. Dark Throne and Satyricon are the only two bands I seem to care about these days. However, with the return of Mayhem to a more old school sound and now this new one from Norwegian quintet 1349, the extreme end of the musical spectrum refuses to die. Yeah, yeah, I know there are still thousands of bands doing this shit in the underground, but most of them are doing Burzum version no.69. Fortunately, 1349 are just a tad more interesting than that.

Having signed with UK label Candlelight, 1349 have made the required step up in musicianship and professionalism that was needed to win such a contract. ‘Beyond the Apocalypse’ had to be an improvement on past efforts because no matter what the label says about the 2003 ‘Liberation’ debut, to most people it was hard to like in any tangible way; the sub-par bottom of the barrel production being the worst of it. Intentional or not, ‘Liberation’ didn’t cut it for me.

As a comparison, ‘BTA’ is a very different matter. I am all for rawness and black fucking grimness in this style of music, but it doesn’t have to be done to the detriment of the music. This is the one big lesson that 1349 have learnt with this new album. I’ve a feeling that Satyricon’s Frost (also full time member here if you didn’t know) has had a major influence on this. Musically, this is still, raw furious black metal – inexorable and insistent from beginning to end. However, with a more pleasing production that allows the guitar lines of Archaron and Tjalve plus Frost’s insane pounding to finally be audible, there is instantly much more to like about this new album. Furthermore, the vocals of Ravn have been taken up another notch, adding to the overall impact of their music.

Structure wise, there is a slight added variation to 1349’s overall song writing. There is plenty of typical speed laid open on this disc, with inimitable Frost in the drivers seat (have a listen to the 7 minute plus ‘Internal Winter’ for Frost’s pure speed performance). However, there are moments of slower, mid-tempo riffage that provide another side to this bands style. Tracks like ‘Singer of Strange Songs and the intro to ‘Internal Winter’ are standouts in this regard. Technically, there is a nod towards Old school Satyricon (Nemesis Divina era) and that essential cold grimness that Dark Throne perfected long ago.

The best thing about ‘BTA’ is its improvement in sound and song writing. As black and underground necro as they want to sound, the Studio Nyhagen production and Strype Audio mastering has made 1349 become a much more listenable act. It could have been a little more forceful in the bottom end, but nevertheless it remains a dramatic step up for the band. Overall, this is frenetic whirlwind style, evil aggressive black metal just the way you’ve always liked it.

A 2004 Black Metal Masterpiece. - 100%

Wolfkult, July 23rd, 2004

1349's liberation was a step forward for the black metal genre. To me it was one of the best albums to come out of the norwegian scene. Then came along Beyond the Apocalypse. No matter what everyone else is saying about this album (Run of the mill, Standard black metal, blah blah). This release is already a classic in my eyes. Topping the first, It carries a sort of dark primal aura and mysticism. To me this is what true black metal is about. A primal sense and not a ton of satanic symbols. The front cover will always be in my memory since it displays this sense very well. It was taken by Peter Beste, whom has already done great work with Nattefrost and Gorgoroth.

The musicians present on this cd should be congratulated. They play their instruments with such spirit and force it is truly mindblowing. Ravn does a great job with his pitch black vocals which fit perfectly. Frost pounds relentlessly on his drums, not even stopping for a breath. Tjalve and Archaon shred memorable riffs and Seidemann pulses away completing the fullness of each song. The lyrics are also very well done. This is for sure an album written by devoted black metal musicians.

Some of my favorite tracks are Blood is the Mortar, Aiwass Aeon, Beyond the Apocalypse, Chasing dragons and the closer, The blade. But in the end I usually listen to the whole album over again, since it comes together as a whole rather then track by track. It truly is one of the best black metal albums of 2004 to come out of the Norwegian scene. Its living proof that Norway is still at the top, reigning supreme. Ave to 1349! ---scernos

Run of the mill black metal. - 70%

TheBigDizzle, July 17th, 2004

With this release, 1349 have put together an album that is nothing special, it has decent riffs and decent vocals, but besides that, it is nothing that stands out amongst all the other bands.

All of the songs on this album are reasonably fast paced with relatively simple riffs that do an okay job of giving a good atmosphere, sometimes a little technicality is thrown in for good measure, but it is on more rare occasions.

A stand out feature for this release and this band is the drumming, 1349 has Frost on drums who has played with bands like Gorgoroth and Satyricon, and he has always done a good job on the kit, and his drumming compliments the rest of the music greatly.

The Production on this album is clearly from the newer school of black metal, with clearer production than older black metal albums, and the instruments being clearly heard, it doesn't take away or add anything to the album in my opinion, so I guess it is just there, but any black metal listener should like it regardless.

The Tracks on this album unfortunetly don't sound a great deal different from one another, you can of course tell the difference, but like i said earlier, nothing really jumps out at you.

This is a solid release I guess you could say, nothing outstanding, nothing terrible, most black metal heads would enjoy it for a couple of listens, but if the chance arises, listen to it first, before the purchase.