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Wow, I heard they were changing up their style, but in NO way did I expect this.
Hellfire was arguably a modern black metal master/thrashterpiece and my excitement for their next opus was through the roof. I can honestly say that I couldn't have been more disappointed than I am right now. I regret to inform the masses that 1349 have given up most of their blasting and balls to the wallness in favor of ambient noise...
...no, I'm not kidding...
Ravn doesn't even sound as evil on this album, either. He sounds like he's holding back rather than screaming out with tortuous screams that perfectly complemented the frantic pace of Hellfire, as well as past efforts. A lot of this album is a major cocktease, as well. Once you get past the first snoozefest of a song you hear the potential of possible heaviness in Serpentine Sibilance, but it just keeps on dragging at a snail's pace, which is not what we've come to expect from 1349 lately. Really, the only thing reminiscent of Hellfire is the buzzing bees tremolo picking throughout the album, but its a lot less noticeable on this album, unfortunately, as it was one of my favorite parts of their past efforts as the guitarwork was surprisingly catchy!
Also, where the fuck is Frost on this album? His effort on Hellfire was remarkable, but it seems like they told him to forget any sort of experimentation and just lay down rather bland drum tracks to complement the bland music already in place. Speaking of bland, let's talk about the 3rd track, just 3 minutes of noise. Awesome.
Maggot Fetus...Teeth Like Thorns is really the only song that comes even close to what is expected from 1349's style, but even then it's sound still feels like it isn't being allowed to let loose and rampage the listener's ears. A lot of these songs just seem straight up stupid, for lack of a better word. They seem like incomplete ideas with pointless ambient noise and the recording of a steel industry worker pounding some steel in the background for random effect.
My official count is at least 3 entire songs are just ambient noise that serve absolutely no purpose, NOT TO MENTION the parts of songs that are just ambient noise that serve no purpose for the song's agenda, whatsoever. It's pretty ridiculous how their style has changed so much, I can only wonder what could possibly justify this as good music. There are about maybe 1.5 total songs out of the 9 that could potentially be great if they were further developed, but the rest of the album is just dumb, no other words for it.
Basically, if you expect a stylistic follow-up to Hellfire then you better properly set yourself up for disappointment, I'm afraid to say. This is easily my top disappointment for 2009, and my advice would be to just throw Hellfire back in because this one is not worth your time.