without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Without a second's doubt, I hereby state that I consider this one of the top 3 metal albums ever recorded, all categories.
Everything about it is just perfect. From the first hypnotic keyboard notes preceding the furious frenzy of Todeswalzer, to the last fading techno synth-lines and pounding double bass drums of Journey To The End, this album is sheer musical bliss straight through. This is one of these albums that penetrate you and become a state of mind rather than a compilation of musical tunes. Listening to this album elevates your soul into the skies, where it hovers peacefully, looking down upon the suddenly so insignificant earth, in a state of total spiritual superiority...
There are a number of factors contributing to the greatness of this album. The main element, the driving force, are the late metal prodigy Valfar's highly energetic and passionate vocal and lyrical contributions to the music. It's detectable from miles away; this is a young man who loves what he his doing, who puts his entire soul and heart into it, resulting in something more than just regular music.
In my opinion, the raw, powerful, perfectly balanced black metal shrieks that Valfar delivers on this record surpasses any other vocal contribution he's ever made to a Windir album. The lyrics are mostly in English this time, whereas the songs on the earlier releases were sung in the Sogndal Norwegian dialect. But this, one of the band's trademarks, is present in two tracks on 1184 aswell, namely the title track and Heidra. The clean vocal parts sung by guest vocalist Cosmocrator are overwhelmingly beautiful and mesmerizing, and provide a perfect contrast to Valfar's harsh screams. They are also a vital part in making the climaxes of songs such as Heidra(around the 4:00 mark) and Journey To The End(just before the techno part commences) what they are.
Secondly, the music. On Windir's earlier releases, Valfar was known to do most of the songwriting himself, both musically and lyrically. However, on this album, the band plays with a full line-up. Still, I do believe that Valfar did a major part of the songwriting on this album aswell.
The guitar work is excellent, providing innovative and melodic riffs, a steady factor always holding up the music. As opposed to Arntor, the guitar melodies are reduced a bit in favor of the keyboards, but they are still very much prominent and works perfectly with the rest of the music. The folk-ish twin-guitar melodies from Arntor still find their way into the music here and there, which is a great thing.
Steingrim's drumming is simplistic yet very tight, solid and fitting. This simplicity is in fact a good thing in this case, since it doesn't take the focus away from the melodies. There are a few moments where they tend to get a wee bit repetitive, such as the second half of Journey To The End, but when concealed in the onslaught of melody coming from the other instruments aswell as the vocals, they fit perfectly with the music in its entire.
As mentioned, the keyboards are the prominent source of melody on this album alongside the guitars, resulting in a perfect musical harmony. They add the extremely majestic and epic atmosphere that is essential in making this music as good as it is. Hovering above the frantic, high-speed drumming and Valfar's haunting, forceful vocals, in perfect harmony with the beautifully melodic guitar riffs, this is the final and one of the most important parts in this furious maelstrom of divine melodies, aggression and passion that is 1184.
Any extreme metal fan with self-respect needs to own this, no questions asked.
This opus, this masterpiece, this utterly perfect marriage between melody and aggression is a true musical landmark in every sense and should serve as a textbook example of how melodic black metal is supposed to sound.
Listening to this is the closest to immortality you'll ever get.