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I'd had a bit of apprehension about the meteoric rise of 1349 in recent years. If I remember my history correctly, these guys’ve been blasting away since the heydays of black metal’s second wave to little acclaim, and it seems that, as the millennium dawned, their adding the incomparable Frost to their drum set gave them the attention so lacking when black metal was large and in charge. If that would be the case, then a sad state of affairs the music world has gotten to, but nowadays that’s neither here nor there, as 1349 is here to stay, and as the years would pass my cynicism has numbed me to the point where I can appreciate the group getting a second chance ala EXODUS and TESTAMENT, where talent and skill could finally be appreciated. And with this new album I’ll be able to know for sure…do these guys have what it takes to continue their blasphemous rumbling?
If this album is any indication, they’ve hit a serious roadblock.
While elements of good old-fashioned Nordic devilry is present in the song-writing, and an apparent ability to evoke a dreary, frightening hell by way of diabolical ambience is heard, the overall product of their latest work doesn’t live up to the inundation of praise the group has gotten in the years since the drum kit got all kinds of frosty. Instead of blisteringly hateful and violent black metal art, we get plodding, modernized, and overtly simplistic drudgery the likes of which Satyr post-2000 pops boner after boner over, with only minor occasions of blast-beat frenzies, though too few and far between to enjoy thoroughly. This musical scheme of things leaves a lot to be desired for anyone wanting blinding violence with their Norwegian blasphemy, and the chunky guitar riffs, soullessly robotic growls, and waste-of-talent percussive “1, 2” rock beats 1349 employs really doesn’t, in any way, bring back flashbacks of Fantoft succumbing to the flames. Simply put, there isn’t really anything on this disc that tickles this listener’s fancy, where the likes of the confusing mind-fuck of “Invocation“, the repetitive drawlings of “Maggot Fetus…Teeth like Thorns”, and the mediocre doldrums of “Uncreation” only serve up irritation.
So in the end this album really disappointed me. For all the clamoring and torch-bearing many in the underground have undertaken in the name of 1349 you’d think these guys would have the tenacity to do them justice. I guess not.