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The masters of a devils march - 90%

JJM1, July 15th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2005, CD, Candlelight Records (Repress)

Considering how tried and true, kid tested and mother approved black metal has become in the past twenty years it goes without saying that the genre has exploded to become one of most popular within the metal underground. Popularity however usually breeds failure and the classics and truly memorable albums are not as many in this new millennium as they were in the early to mid 90's. However back in 2005, Oslo, Norway based band, 1349 released a modern classic, rightly titled, 'Hellfire.'

War is declared with the words, "Hellfire" at the onset of, 'I Am Abomination' and from there 1349 rips through eight songs in fifty two minutes. While firmly rooted in the blast beat driven black metal genre, Hellfire is by no means just another Panzer Division Marduk clone since songs tend to stick out and hold their own against the others more so than any other record I've heard in this sub-genre.

The riffing although almost always fast is diverse with a good mixture of dissonant tremolo riffs, catchy rhythmic parts as well as some death and thrash metal sections and of course some slower atmospheric spine tingling areas. Music like this generally doesn't have such a gripping lively vibe to it, but this is one of those rare styled albums that I can throw on and headbang like a maniac with and as I said earlier each song really sticks out and stays with you with their own personal strengths whereas most material within this genre is forgettable after the first spin.

Similar to the guitar work, Frost's stickwork is utterly breathtaking and completely barbarous throughout the albums duration. Surely most of it is relentless blast beats, but the drum rolls, fills and occasional tempo changes are a plenty and good musicians know how to feed off of each others energy and this is an example where the brutal nature of the music is elevated even further by the diverse pummeling work this man brings to this beast. Ravn's vocal work is also of note, even if it is a somewhat standard black metal rasp its just that he puts so much heart into it that it feels as if each and every scream is directed at me personally. I also like the fact that the production of the album is clear, but not crystal clear thus making it sound as black metal should sound.

Apparently 1349 said and did what they needed to do on this album though since the follow-up, 'Revelations of the Black Flame' was a more experimental affair before somewhat coming back to speed with, 'Demonoir' after.

I guess its no secret and most people that have heard this album have recognized it as the modern classic it surely is. Definitely a must own/listen album and really one of the overall best black metal records to come out of Norway.

Embrace the Flame - 90%

mdmetallica, September 23rd, 2011

I am only a relative newcomer to the black metal scene, and 1349 was quickly brought to my attention. This band does not disappoint for anyone who can appreciate the eerie, intense atmosphere generated by the genre, and the extent of professionalism required to successfully pull off an endeavour of this magnitude. Hellfire addresses every aspect traditionally associated with the genre; the aggression, the encompassing dark demeanour, the cold, the anger, the speed and the raw production, with intermingled melancholy to complete the picture.

Firstly, the drumming on the album is incredible, but then again, what else could be expected from black metal superstar Frost? Hailing from Gorgoroth and Satyricon, Frost delivers another crushing performance where he masterfully exhibits his speed and precision. However, despite the generalised preconceptions of black metal, most of the songs on the album are not structured around never-ending blast beats. Not to say there is anything ineffective or wrong with blast beats, and they are still intermittently prevalent throughout the record, but a refreshing variety is offered by Frost, allowing each track to be individually recognisable rather than a blur of 6000bpm blasts. The guitars and bass perfectly accompany the drums and vocals, where the substandard (and effective!) production quality distorts the clarity to seamlessly morph into the demonic atmosphere. Likewise with blastbeats, the widely accepted constant of tremolo picking is omnipresent and more conventional riffs, yet not particularly technical, are frequently utilised. The die-hard black metal fans will be satisfied with the production and instrumentation techniques; however 1349 incorporates more progressive elements. The intro of “From the Deep” perhaps best demonstrates this contrast, with a solo, the subsequent crushing, slow riff and methodical, pounding double kick that would be more recognisable amongst the thrash/death genres. Fear not, the crossover is quickly followed by the familiar tremolo picking and lightning-fast footwork of Frost. Hellfire proudly demonstrates 1349’s ability to maintain a solid black metal fan-base, whilst expressing willingness to expand through genre constraints, culminating in a brilliant album.

Individually, there are three songs that are worthy of particular attention:
•“Sculptor of Flesh” is the mantelpiece of power and aggression. The opening vocals, eerily shouted, of ‘Do you hear them calling from beyond?’ provides the only moment of relative peace albeit in a spooky, distorted manifestation. The chaos that follows is mind-blowing; Psychotic riffs and blast beats, for at least the first half of the song. Unfortunately, the song loses much of its intensity in the latter half; however, the first minute and a half is enough to promote the song. Recommended listening in angry or hateful moods. 4/5

•“Celestial Deconstruction” opens in a fury of traditional tremolo picking and blast beats. Clocking in at almost 8 minutes long, it is far from the accepted ‘norm’ of black metal, and more progressive elements can be found throughout, in between the blast beats. The slower parts of the track are personal highlights, where the almost depressive nature is palpable in the vocals and the softer guitar riffs transcend the song to a personal level. The mood is swiftly removed with pure anger and fury, only to reappear. Definitely, the song changes from red hot aggression to bleak melancholy. A true highlight. 4.5/5

•“Hellfire”, the title track, is undoubtedly the greatest song from the album. It is a black metal epic, at 13 minutes long. Although some repetition is experienced, as could be expected in any long song, the overall impact after listening is simply insane, particularly the second half of the song. It is the slowest song on the album, however, silent waters run the deepest; this song contains the most value. The slow, echoing riffs coupled with singer crying and howling in agony creates the sad, hopeless atmosphere that I have yet to see replicated anywhere. The final three minutes introduces perhaps the single most memorable riff in black metal, accompanied with the awesome and fitting progression of the drum beat, gradually increasing in speed to the final crescendo and the following fade-to-black. I get fucking goose-bumps even contemplating this masterpiece. 10/5

Hellfire is a must have. Plain and simple. Multiple play-throughs are essential to fully appreciate the extent of its magnificence. Embrace the darkness, the fire, and the aggression; allow 1349 to explore the most extreme emotions and themes present in metal as a whole.

Relentless - 85%

Cryptaria, October 5th, 2010

Being an avid black metal fanatic, I’ve heard the name 1349 passing between the lips of metalheads for many years. I took a look at the discography and thought, “Hellfire? How appropriate!” Upon my first listen, I was thoroughly satisfied with what passed through my ear canals and embedded itself in my cranium. This album is fucking relentless. The overall feel and distribution of effort does a solid effort to grab me by the face and pound my skull into the amp. It’s definitely got a polished sound and any sense of “purposeful ‘low quality’” is somewhat absent but faintly reminiscent nonetheless. A well done job on that part, I’ll give them that. It doesn’t sound contrived at all and, in honesty, I’ve never been a huge fan of that fad anyways. Strange how I’d enjoy this intention but would come to dislike the genuine article, I know.

The vocals are exactly what you’d expect of the genre. Snarling, aggressive, touched with harmonized screams to tremolo blasts. There’s no sense of despair anywhere, as can sometimes be found in other works. No, that’s the furthest thing from the atmosphere being conveyed here. They’re going for the vicious feel. I especially enjoyed the use of the phlegmy-sounding growls to compliment the banshee’s screams. Unfortunately, there seems to be a severe lack of melody. I don’t mean melody in the sing-song sense, don’t get me wrong. It’s like the vocalist is just ranting and spouting hateful poetry at the listener, which is nice at first but kind of settles on with a sort of “ho hum” after-taste. It's kind of prevalent too but it doesn't bother me at all. It don't love it, though.

The guitar and drum work is fantastic. The decision to make the mids soar was extremely tasteful, making the drummer’s sound coincide perfectly with the axemen. They’ve got a really nasty bite during the riffs and an enjoyable sting during the double-picking interludes. Definitely the classic “haunt and shred” approach black metal’s famous for but there’s absolutely no trace of cliché. Every lick is new to my ringing ears. The bass and tom drums are furious. It’s the kind of smash that turns humans into pinballs. Really, how can you argue against a well placed blast beat? Like the first minute of Nathicana is absolute perfection. The rest of the song is A material too. To Rottendom's got the perfect rhythm for a front line of horns and headbangers though, and this isn't too bad, the decision to increase the tempo around 4 minutes in seemed kind of out of place but this is quickly washed away by 4:25ish.

Now for a little bit of severity: Celestial Deconstructor was a bit repetitive and I have a question: Why couldn’t they make the rest of the album stand out like Nathicana or the last half minute of To Rottendom? I really like it but it’s not one of those albums that are going to go down as something I’ll remember bar for bar in the years to come. It kind of just blends in with the rest of the class, albeit near the top of the honor roll. In the end, it’s still a must grab. I don't really consider it to be very old-school (just MHO) but it's definitely raw and there's a sense of brutality in here, whilst shying away from a grind or death sound. A fine wine.

Ferocity! - 100%

Bogfind, September 5th, 2010

This is the perfect soundtrack to being burnt to death or being eaten alive by a hundred rabid hyenas. The musical artistry and the nihilistic explosion of the lyrics is something I have never heard before. Such manic aggression and dissonant hell usually comes in the form of uncontrolled and simple music from other genres, but here it is, complex, well planned and excellently performed.

To put it simple, the album is Black Metal with its roots in the raw old school sound. However, Hellfire is deliberately produced to sound harsher. The guitars sound more fuzzy than usual and the drums sound like they have some overdrive or distortion effect. Musically, the genre trademark blast beats are there, just like the tremolo pickings and the raspy vocals. The main difference from other bands is that 1349 mix these components with speed, ferocity and passion on Hellfire. The resulting sound is not heavy in the traditional way with much bass and pomp, rather heavy as in an overwhelming noise storm. The vocals follow the evil proclaiming, reciting tradition with almost no wordless screams or other guttural noises.

The first time I heard this I instinctively turned the music off with a frown. The feeling of sticking my head into a nest of electric wasps was almost nauseating. A few weeks later I came back, feverishly drawn to this horribly fastgrinding firestorm. And now, years later this album is permanently placed on my top ten list ever. A masterpiece.

I have heard many voices complaining over the fuzz-like distortion effects on the guitars, but this just adds to the harshness and severity since it screeches and screams, fills the air completely and makes it near impossible to think about anything else but the music. And the music is worth concentrating on.

In my opinion, Frost makes his most impressive drumming effort on Hellfire. If you want to make a joke about Hellfire, you could say that it sounds like Frost wants to bang all of the drums at the same time. But, the high speed thunder of the drums is in fact both varied and planned, yet extreme in its wildness.

The speed is worth a special mention, since it adds to the quality. There is never a dull moment, never a chance to reflect, the songs forces you to join, pushing and slamming you through the album with only a couple of bittersweet half-moments of respite here and there. Almost no repetition at all and perfect timing for all instruments makes it even better. Much thanks to the metal storm speed, it is impossible to perceive every detail and the album creates great potential for many a listen.

'You feel the hellfire, we've reached our goal.' - 80%

trommnorse, March 23rd, 2010

That's an album I couldn't convince myself to for a long time. Even though I liked 'Nathicana' when I heard it on some pre-release compilation and I even though I really enjoyed the album's first track I wasn't able to listen it through to the end. I did today while walking around Chwarzno woods and here's is what I think of it.

You need to conjure a certain state of mind while listening to this music, cause it's quite difficult to listen when unprepared. 1349's 'Hellfire' consists mainly of a really fast paced tempos (Satyricon's Frost on drums) and lenghty, looping, traditional riffing. This riffing may create an atmosphere of stuporing boredom at first but I am a living example that it is possible to overcome that barrier and enjoy the album completely. First of all - don't listen to it while doing something else. Devote some time and you'll gain a lot, cause this is fresh air among old school black metal bands. 1349 are traditionalists, yet they manage to fill their music with a certain progressive elements that the genre really needs after around 30 years of existence. I do not mean that they use female vocals or similar stuff often shunned at in BM. All they do is they think how to use guitars in more sophisticated a way, how to insert some quite untypical elements not softening or overcomplexing the general brutal, straight-forward whole. 'Hellfire' rips through flesh and bones like a chainsaw, yet it's a brand new chainsaw they just purchased few minutes ago and with some nicely shaped leafs too.

I try not tu use words like 'new' or 'progress' here trying to avoid some negative connotations. Allow me then assure you that in the context of this album the 'taboo' words above are totally positive. I'm not even sure if this may be called 'progress', yet in a music as orthodox and archaic as black metal every little step forward may as well become a mile.

'Damn', I thought today, 'this shit is 100% Norwegian black metal.' And that's right. BUT - this is what I'd like the genre's future bands to look and sound like in the millenia to come. This is a kind of, OK here it goes, 'progression' that even orthodox fans are gonna like because it's not 'gay' etc., it's simply well thought over and aptly introduced. New ideas, new motives, the same old rusty knife piercing your guts. A fresh and curious approach to the same old standard riff/blast/scream structure we know already. And these few sparks burn like a hellfire after long periods of cooling down.

This review's title is what Seidemann, I think, said in one of the interviews. The goal is achieved then. This CD is like a raging storm. Try it out and you won't be disappointed but try to feel it rather than push play and prepare supper.

This is what Hell sounds like - 90%

BastardHead, January 18th, 2009

Let's get something straight, I am far from the biggest black metal fan on the planet. I appreciate classics like Pentagram and A Blaze in the Northern Sky, but I'm not going to cream myself if I ever get my hands on Vomit Sodomy's highly regarded twelfth demo that was recorded on an answering machine in the forest or anything. I'm not one of those that will pride himself on how awesome he is by listening exclusively to uber underground stuff from the Fjordiest Fjords of Northern Fjordland, so I'm not bound to be an expert on the subject. And although I haven't had the opportunity to delve very deeply into the genre, there is one band that I will fellate 'till the cows come home; and that is Norway's 1349. While 1349 may not be the most original, atmospheric, or technical band you're bound to come across, they sure as hell are one of the most intense.

Listen to the sonic explosion at the beginning of "Sculptor of Flesh", or that incredible buildup in the last minute of "From the Deeps". Hellfire never relents in its assault, and stands as a contender for best of 2005. I'm not even entirely sure if Frost is human or not, because he is probably tied with Max Kolesne from Krisiun as one of the most consistently fast drummers in the business. I'm sure there are many people who can blast just as fast as he can, and many for just long as well, but I haven't heard many make it as powerful at the same time. And that's all 1349 is in the end, an extremely fast, powerful, and menacing, riff-centric black metal outfit. Ravn's vocals are terrifying, Frost's drumming is relentless, and the songs never let up once they start going. The only flaw with this is that most of the songs go on for too damn long for what's in them. "Hellfire" is prefaced by pointless ambience in order to make the track extend to thirteen minutes and forty nine seconds. But it's really a small hindrance when there are still nearly ten solid minutes of thrashing to behold. But these ten minutes are full of the same handful of riffs spread thinly over the duration of the track. See now, repetition is the only nagging problem with the whole record, as many songs are plagued by a lack of riffs stretched out over a long track length. One of the things that makes 1349 special to me is the fact that they can write honest to goodness riffs as opposed to simple tremolo picking, and they unfortunately chose not to write too many of these fantastic riffs. So is it any surprise that the shortest song, "Sculptor of Flesh" is also the best one? Not really. It only contains about four riffs, but you are probably too busy getting your face ripped off to notice or bitch about such a thing.

High tempo triplet blast beasts, borderline death/thrash riffs, and top notch black metal screeching? Sounds to me like this is what black metal is supposed to sound like. If you can forgive 1349 for using only a few riffs per song, this is one of the better riff-centric, not intentionally produced to sound like garbage, black metal albums you're bound to find. Hell, the first five tracks pretty much define what auditory hatred sounds like. This is black metal made for thrashers, or as the band calls it: audible hellfire. Highly recommended.

Originally written for

Let the Reign Begin - 80%

Grimulfr, November 14th, 2008

1349 is easily one of the best new black metal bands out of Norway, but considering the long history the band members have pre 1349 maybe they are not really eligible for the newbie prize. A few years from now, after a few more albums and more tours under their bullet belts, 1349 should be considered one of the best old school black bands of the 21st century. Enough preamble, on to the new album. Hellfire is the third full length in three years and features eight songs numbered 11 through 18. Let’s start with the promo notes. Candlelight announced that Hell Awaits back on the promo notes for Liberation. I would love to consider Liberation 1349’s Hell Awaits because that would have made their next one their Reign in Blood, but they were treading water and instead released Hell Awaits part two, Hell is still Waiting, so states the promo notes on Beyond the Apocalypse. Up next Hellfire and Candlelight again, “Hell no longer waits- it is here.” Unfortunately, they skipped right to South of Heaven.

That’s enough Slayer references for one review, though pure speed and intensity are not the only things the two bands have in common. The title track accounts for 13 minutes and 49 seconds of the 52 minute long album and with a couple of lengthy sections without vocals, relentless drumming that sets the pace and a nice tranquil atmosphere make this the perfect music for relaxing in front of the wood stove on cold winter nights while carving runes in human bones. But that is how the album ends, back at the beginning “I Am Abomination” announces hellfire and then blazing speed with Frost starting the clinic early. Ravn has developed a rather distinctive vocal delivery. The lead guitars are distorted and chaotic and the rhythm guitar is cyclic. the song abruptly ends and “Nathicana” screams in with guitars blazing and vocals so venomous you can hear the spittle dripping off his chin, The drums back way off and give the guitarists more room for awhile before drum domination commences once again. My top three tracks are “Celestial Deconstruction” which has Ravn quite clearly understandable, with his delivery slowed down, and “From the Deeps” on which the guitarists shine, rounded out by the title track.

Originally written for

Behold the Celestial Deconstructor !!! - 100%

Rhizome, September 29th, 2008

Brutal!! Fresh!! Enjoyable!! These are the words which come to my mind when I think of 1349 as a band and this album in particular. I really appreciate how this band has evolved and have been belting out consistent and better albums every time. The songwriting is just IMPECCABLE. The songwriting just seems to get better and better . I can safely say that ‘Hellfire’ is their strongest release till date.

As with their previous albums, the band has used similar raw feel production which has now become the characteristic of their sound. What really makes this album stand apart from the generic black metal releases is the songwriting and the brutality which has been perfectly blended with melody and atmosphere. And Frost plays a giant role in providing this sheer brutality through his furious drumming. This guy is simply unstoppable. In the relatively slower parts , he provides great fills and variations. Coming to the vocals, Ravn has done a great job here. The vocals are raw, grim and complement the music well. In some parts you just feel that Ravn is screaming his heart out and spitting out plague. And now the guitars. These guys sure know how to play black metal in a rather different way. The songwriting as I mentioned earlier is top-notch. One of the best things here is that there are very less repeated riffs .Each and every riff has been put at the right place. That’s what makes this album all the more enjoyable.

Now the highlights of the album. Starting from the fast and furious ' I am Abomination', the fury is unleashed .The guitars are great, and Frost should be another name for the AK-47 that 1349 uses, he simply destroys the drum kit. Then comes 'Nathicana'. The opening riff sometimes reminds me of Hate Eternal's 'I, Monarch' . 'Nathicana' is one of the more beautiful songs this album has to offer, the atmosphere build up is excellent and the vocals too shine. 'Sculptor of Flesh', is a decent song. Starts off with a catchy riff and furious drumming. The song that really gave me orgasmic pleasure was 'Celestial Deconstruction'. Holy fucking shit!! Starting with a infectious opening riff, the song just grows and grows. Great interludes, insane fast parts, mind blowing riffs and of course the drumming characterize this track. And the song title is great too. I can literally imagine the celestial bodies being destroyed .From the remaining songs, 'From the Deeps' and the epic 'Hellfire' stand out.

Standout tracks:
Celestial Deconstruction
I am Abomination
From The Deeps

Overall, this album is raw, brutal and totally enjoyable. A must listen for the fans of black metal. 1349 is to black metal as Cryptopsy(of course the earlier one) is to death metal.

Hellfire - 88%

Shadow_Throne, July 2nd, 2007

At first I have to say I wasn't big on this band, after listening to all of their albums I have grown to appreciate the band and it's unique style and sound which is very remiscent of early to mid Saytrion. Hellfire is a step up production wise compared to the previous albums so I was pleased to hear something that had more umph to it yet still keep that signature raw sound. All the instruments are pretty clear or hearable on this album. I like how I can hear everything with the drums, from the snare hits, cymbals to the tombs and bass drum. Most of the time when you have fast drum parts on an album something usually gets lost. For instance, you can't hear the snare over the cymbals or the bass drum over the snare but it most cases on this album you can hear everything clearly.

Hellfire has some great songs overall, and some songs that I think are not so great. The highlight songs to me are I am Abnomination, Nathicana, Sculptor of Flesh, Celestial Deconstruction and Hellfire. As you can see the first half of the album I really enjoy, some of the songs towards the end are really repetitive and seem to drone on and on with rock like guitar parts. Their just doesn't seem to be atmosphere and interesting riffing as in the previous songs. The last song and title track is probably the most different song on the album, I find it very haunting and extremely atmospheric. Although my only complaint is that the intro riff plays too long but it's still a great song. The song I find myself listening to over and over again though is Celestial Deconstruction, gots some great parts althroughout the song and it's one of the faster songs.

Overall, I find myself listening to this album quite a bit, atleast most of the album that is. I hope they keep up the production style of this album as I like the clarity of it and it still has a aggression and atmosphere. When I hear 1349 one of the first things that comes to mind is that this is truely what Saytricon should sound like nowadays.

Badass brutal black metal - 90%

sp3tt, May 22nd, 2007

Let me begin by pointing out the obvious. 1349's Hellfire is brutal. Very brutal. It opens with the vocalist shouting "HELLFIRE!" after which Frost begins pounding his kit like a maniac. Enter a guitar with the sound of some evil, disease-carrying, fungus-like organism dripping down the walls of a dark, dark room. It's fast. It's brutal. It's good (or evil? Hmm.).

And that's just the first song, I am Abomination. Great title, great intro, great riffs, awesome vocals in the end ("I am abominatioooooon"). The album continues with Nathicana, again with insanely fast and heavy drumming and great riffs. Frost's double bass drumming is unbelievable. His drums are definitely the highlight of 1349. And he manages to keep it up for the entire album's duration, slowing down only a few times.

Of course, that is not to say that the other members do a bad job. They don't, it's just that Frost's drums are simply some of the best I've ever heard. But don't just listen to the drums, the guitars are also great. All of the instruments fit together. I never feel that the drums don't fit the guitars, or vice versa. I could complain about the vocals not being as awesome as the riffs and drums, but they are apt and definitely better than average.

The songwriting is, to sum it up, very good. Of course, the 13:49 long title track is no exception. I wouldn't go so far as to call it the highlight of the album, but it is worth checking out. The production is not as thin and gritty as traditional black meta, but I don't care. It sounds damn evil to me. As I wrote above, especially the guitar sound is evil -- it gives me mental images of dark, bloody and dirty dungeons with walls covered in fungi. The production fits the music perfectly, creating the perfect mood.

Hellfire is a very consistent album. It's brutal from beginning to end, pounding you with tremolo picking, blastbeats, otherworldly double bass, and a set of very brutal riffs. If you're looking for brutality, look no further.

Man, is this Heavy!? - 85%

Sraiken, November 2nd, 2006

The album starts out with the vocalist yelling “Hellfire!” before the music kicks in. Once it does, the album begins with a maelstrom of almost grindcore speed with a black metal feel. The riffs that are played on top of the lightning-fast drumming are so brutal and heavy. So heavy that it’s even hard to bang your head to this sort of thing. All you can do is just sit there and crack open a toothy, ear-to-ear grin as you sit back and let the heaviness of the music take you on a wicked journey. And that’s just the first song!

As “Hellfire” progresses, you see a band that has a real sense of riffing, which can be difficult to come by when dealing with music that has the speed and heaviness that this music has. However, as far as black metal is concerned, there are some real major-league riffs on here. Granted, you won’t be humming these riffs in your sleep, but that’s because the speed, drumming, and gritty production prevent this sort of thing from happening.

In the very few moments in the album that the speed does let up, you get a real grim atmosphere. One that is very dark and foreboding. Once you get into the groove of that atmosphere, the band proceeds to pummel you with blazing speed.

One complaint about the album is the somewhat repetitive nature of it. However, that is to be expected when considering the tried and true Black Metal formula. This band follows this formula exactly. This is not a bad thing, especially considering the fact that there is a huge void in terms of straight up black metal being made in this decade. However, 1349 show that they are here to keep the flames of hell blazing into the new millennium!

Overall, the album is very solid. It’s one that I can have kind of a hard time sitting through cover to cover, and that’s simply because of the whirlwind of speed and the tightness of the music. They leave you no room to breathe as they play gritty, air-tight riffs on top of incredible drumming. If there is one straight up Black Metal album that can be listened to straight through, this would be it.

Best Black Metal Album Ever - 100%

King_ov_Winter, June 29th, 2006

Yes it is, the best record I have ever made my ears bleed with. Beyond the apocalypse brought their music one step further from their first effort "Liberation", enhancing the music with a clearer production, nastier riffs, and a much less straightforward song structure. To my ears the production on this last opus hasn't radically changed compared to BTA, which is awesome, considering that the razorblade sounding guitars are absolutely essential to convey the bestial brutality of the music. There is not one song on "Hellfire" that isn't just AWESOME. "I am Abomination" , stands as one of the best tracks on this album( if you can actually put them in some order of preference), and is the emblem of viciousness, evil made sound. The rest of the album is basically an excalation of fury (riff-wise and drum-wise) till it reaches one of it's highest climatic points with my favourite "Celestial Deconstruction". I new beforehand only by the title that this would have been THE SONG: awesome riffs, fast and slow, brutal and highly atmospheric, were conceived by guitarist Archaon together with the lyrical concept, resulting in a song, in which every sentence finds it's correspondent riff and moulds perfectly with the sound, in a spine chilling, almost epic, view of apocalypse. Another outstanding track is the Lovecraftian (like many other songs infact) inspired "From The Deeps". Listen how Ravn actually screams towards the end of the song "Rise!!!!!" to understand the level of intensity of this song. All in all this album is perfect. Fantastic lyrics, perhaps less "philosophically" oriented than the ones in BTA, but with very, VERY effective use of images; outstanding music: the riffs are brutal but have a more melodic touch to them, and make this album sound sometimes, as I already said, almost epic (in a brutal way) in some parts. Finally Ravn's vocal duties are executed with such a class, I can easily say he is one of the candidates as best Bm singer ever. This mother will pump your blood furiously in the veins, and you will realize how nothing can summon better than 1349 the beast within...

Very brutal for black metal standards - 90%

creepingdoom, June 6th, 2006

1349 arrive with their third full-length album which is more brutal, catchy and evil then their earlier albums. 1349 see themselves as a brutal black metal band (according to an interview I read). Hellfire is no where near the generic black metal nowadays. Some may argue with me but I honestly think 1349's Hellfire is original.

This album starts off with no remorse. "I Am Abomination" contains: insane drumming, catchy riffs and good vocals. The rest of the album is no exception to my description of "I Am Abomination." Frost... Holy shit, this guy is just amazing. The drumming is just so damn fast at times it hurts my head. Frost has precision, skill, speed and complexity.

The guitar work on this album is just great. The riffs range from catchy, aggressive, depressive and grim. The song structure is well-thought-out. The song "Hellfire" is 13:49, which is... You guessed it, the band name (1349 = 13:49, how clever of them). "Hellfire" (song) is nothing to spectacular for almost a 14 minute long song. It is basically like the other songs except, two - three times longer. The vocals are good. Just flat out good. They are hateful and aggressive, and that's what I like. The vocal work is actually quite digestible instead of the whole "I took two - four listens to the album and now I started to like it." Once you hear the vocals, they get stuck with you. They have a raspy tone to them and I have always liked vocalist that have that kind of tone.

“I Am Abomination” and “Nathicana” are probably my favourite tracks on this album. They are best representative of my description to the drumming, riffs and vocals. Each song holds a certain speed and aggression. All in all, the songs are related and have a good sound to them. The production is good and makes the music just sound even better. “From The Deeps” and “Celestial Deconstruction” are probably the best on the album. They may not be as catchy as the rest of the songs (excluding “Hellfire”) but they are certainly are brutal and best representative of 1349 as a band.

This is a great album from start to finish. It's full of brutality, catchy riffs, great music and arguably originality. I suggest if you haven't got this album yet, get it now.

Well played and expertly written black metal - 85%

orionmetalhead, May 4th, 2006

1349 are one of the few of the black metal bands of their kind that I can really get into. Hellfire, their newest album is a shining example of what black metal such as theirs should sound like. Relentless constant and never letting up without resorting to being redundant blasting on the drums and horribly produced monotonous guitarwork.

Musicianship is of the highest order. Frost's drumming is impeccable. complimenting the music's aggressive attitude yet at times pushing it to a new level which few bands can venture. his stickwork is a flurry of abysmal fury rarely seen across any of metal's genres. Archaon and Tjalve's guitarwork is clear, crisp, and horrifically genius. Though Seidermann's bass playing is not at the front of the recording it does add some grit and dirty bottom end throughout the album. Ravn's vocals are a fitting end to the talented mix. This is an album which can boast some trully excellent production aside from the lowness of the bass in the mix.

The songwriting on this album is very good. Songs stick out, each holding their own against and not getting lost in the whole. The album employs a wide variety techniques at times including tremelo guitarwork, more basic guitar powerchords and rhythms, some death metal influences areas, some thrashy parts, and some atmospheric sections also; its all here and then some. This is an album of songs. Nathicana is a personal favorite however Celestial Deconstruction and From The Deeps also are album highlights for me. To Rottendom is my least favorite song for some reason however that is not saying its not a good song.

The one thing that this album could have used was a little more variety tempo-wise. Its all extremely fast for the entire album with From The Deeps being the one exception and a well placed one on the album due to the fact it breaks up the speed. Perhaps not surprisingly this song also finds its way into the territory of 200 bpm. Though there is a short clean break that works well aside from it existing for less than three seconds. A longer one may have been better placed but who am I to judge.

Slaves To Slaughter has an interesting musical break about a third of the way in that reeks of decomposed corpses and evil emminating from the very core of the human soul. Then goes off on a black metal journey to hell climaxing in a burzum-esque finale. Also a standout track.

Hellfire is the album's fourteen minute "epic." Though the first three minutes are pretty much buildup with little music except for some funeral-like organ melody. This however transforms - somewhat clumsily in my opinion - into the actual song. Hellfire is pretty much similar to everything else on the album and, for an epic track doesnt quite stand up to what the rest of the album offers before hand. By this time into the album it would have been more rewarding to encounter more doomy tempos and variation. Nine minutes in there is a more Deathspell Omega induced riff that, for me, gives this song some individuality. Thats not to say this isnt a killer ending track which it is. Some fantastic riffs, and brilliant-in-an-Einstien-kind-of-way drumming is, like elsewhere on this album the deciding factor and makes this another great song much like it makes the rest of the songs on the album great songs.

Overall, this is an excellent example of the possibilities that a talented, musicianship-oriented, black metal band can create when done right and done thoughtfully. I would personally consider this their best effort, more natural and flowing than Beyond The Apocalypse and more musical and proffessional sounding than Liberation. I await great things from 1349's next effort if this is any show of their progression as a black metal band.

Sculptor of Freshness - 87%

blaaaa, February 15th, 2006

With three albums in three years, 1349 have released Hellfire, 52 minutes of insanity, evil and blasphemy created through ghoulish vocals, complex and very original guitar riffs and one of the most insane drummers ever to graze the earth blasting his way through the album to show us just what metal is supposed to sound.

At first listen the album sounds very much like an unstructured mess that is completely crowded with blast beats and obscure guitar sounds, the vocals are raw and domineering and just what one would expect from black metal. Most of the songs sound this way with the exception of (song) and the title track, the title track is an extremely progressive song which takes up over a quarter of the album, it begins with a very atmospheric section for the beginning and then it moves on to sounding like something off of Liberation, for most of the song it is very repetitive and raw with a constant blast beat and raw guitars playing some basic riffs for the whole section. Though the song is a lot more basic it has a much more atmospheric sound to it. After listening to the album several times the structure and true nature of the album will come to the surface and let the listeners realise that 1349 are a truly skilful band.

The guitar riffs will become more audible for the attuned listeners, particularly open minded listeners and obviously fans of black metal. Listening to the drumming on this album should be appreciated by anyone, even those who are not a fan of black metal and do not like the sound of the album, Frost does an exceptional job and his work should be credited by anyone who likes any type of metal, throughout the album he explodes into a number of blast beats with inhuman speed and perfection. The vocals would be the most standard black metal element on this album, though his vocals are of course very unique, and these would be the hardest thing for a person who doesn’t like metal to get into, it is a shame that many people are turned off a great band like 1349 simply because they have not yet acquired the taste for the raw black vocals despite the brilliant musical skills of the band.

My budgie Homer and I give this the thumbs up for one of the most exceptional albums of 2005; together we have blasted it through my speakers and banged our heads to the sounds of this album. Personally not being a major fan of 1349’s earlier work I find that they have defiantly taken some major steps forward for themselves as well as the black metal scene, the extreme sounds of the album seem to be the most extreme that the will be able to get, whether or not they are going to take a step further with later work by becoming harder and faster, that ill only be told by time, they could perhaps take an alternative sound to their music in the future and surprise us all.

Yes 1349 you are an abomination (of a band that is - 13%

Visionary, December 16th, 2005

There is just so much wrong with this album that I don’t know where to begin. First off I hated Liberation due to mostly a shitty thin production and heard that this had a good production. Well the production is not thin or raw but that does not stop this album from sounding shit. Hellfire is even worse than Liberation. Hellfire is best described as one hell of a chaotic mess. 1349 fail to create any kind of half decent song structure.

Hellfire opens up with I am an Abomination. This is arguably the worst track on the album. It is full of horrible vocals that would fit in a hardcore band. The guitars are constantly tremolo picking rather than build up any kind of structure keeping the listener out of the music completely. The drums are just a barrage of blast beats. Frost really needs to take a hint and realize that playing fast as humanly possible without any sense of structure is total failure.

The second track Nathicana, actually manages to create some decent depressive guitar riffs. However the vocalist does not catch on and carries on in his raspy hardcore vocals. Then Frost kicks in with the barrage of blast beats again and destroys the glimmer of hope. The next track, To Rottendom actually creates some decent thrash riffs that make you want to head bang your head but it doesn’t last.

Well that is pretty much the story for the entire album. It is just full of chaotic crap. The guitars overuse tremolo picking, the vocalist sucks and the drums are very irritating. Do not even give this a chance. You may not be as lucky as I was with resisting the temptation to kick a hole in the speakers. If you are looking for fast as hell black metal then Enthroned or Marduk may tickle your fancy.

Bad ? Boring ? Monotonous ? Nah, not here. - 100%

TreyAzagthoth, October 17th, 2005

Seriously, when these Norwegian black metallers will make a bad record? The answer is here on ‘Hellfire’, never. If there was a Black Metal Hall of Fame 1349 would be the next band to write their names on it.

The truth is, Black Metal bands (especially raw as 1349) tend to repeat themselves every album and that’s not always a good thing. Well… 1349 is not like that. These guys can play raw, fast and all the BM clichés without sound monotonous AT ALL, quite the other way, they sound original as fuck. Ravn’s vocals for example, there are some parts that he changes to some screamed which sounds great within the context of some songs.

In my opinion, it’s so unfair to name just a few highlights in such solid album. The highlights in here are the guitars and the drums, without taking the credits to the other guys, of course.

The main thing on the 1349 guitars is that they’re not stuck to the Black Metal way of playing it (tremolo riffs repeating 39484 times per song), they mix BM with Death and Thrash metal riffs that now, I believe, are trademarks to the bands sounding. “Slaves to the Slaughter” is a nice example of this, it has perhaps the best riffs written by the band.
Another thing, if you want any solos, spit on this album when you see it cause this album has no solo (when you hear it, you’ll see that this need no solos to be good).

The drums are something that you might expect from a drum-god like Frost, mostly known for his job in Satyricon and Gorgoroth. I don’t know how can he play that fast, but he does that quite alright without sound: “oh, look how I can play fast”. No, he plays fast cause every song on the album asks for fast drums and that’s the real thing about 1349, to be fast, brutal and grim.

If you really appreciate fast and extreme music, buy this. No, don’t buy it… worship this, let the stereo be its altar.

Holy Fucking Shit! - 100%

fluffygrundle, October 8th, 2005

Ever since this album was announced, I was very eagerly awaiting the newest opus from 1349. The last two albums left me with a feeling of wanting more. Although 'Liberation' and 'Beyond the Apocalypse' were amazing, 'Hellfire' totally shows what 1349 are completely capable of - and that's nothing less than their best work to date.

I Am Abomination - Perfect song to open this up with. 1349 unleashes their artillery of blasts and trem picking early on this one! No introduction to build you up - but rather supreme musicianship. Overall Ravn's vocals sound a little more beefed up here than usual, but it makes for an interesting mix. Guitars sound great as usual, and are all over the place with surprising note trills \ tremolo work; and overall it sounds like a swarm of locusts in hell. 10/10

Nathicana - Another great tune, even faster on drumming (if that was ever possible) Some very interesting drum-fills courtesy of Frost, who seems to be getting more intense with his playing with every cd he takes part in. Really no boring parts to this song, has the classic palm muted 1349 riffs thrown in here and there, and some very interesting bridges in the song. 9/10

Sculptor of Flesh - This is really the only song that dosent have a plethora of blast beats, and really showcases Frost's drumming variety. Lots of oddly-timed triplets and nice variations in the riffing. Vocals here sound more like a normal scream instead of the usual we've all heard from them. 7/10

Celestial Deconstruction - Actually a rather onorthodox song coming from 1349, showing they're capable of providing mind grinding music, with also slower interludes inside the song. Around 4 minutes into the song it really starts to pick up and you hear some serious cymbal accent work, and great time changes at breakneck speed within the song. 8/10

To Rottendom - There's some obvious death-metal influences poking out here throughout the song, which isnt really a bad thing, and gives you more of a small change of pace. Around 5:20 into the song you're going to end up hearing some of the fastest blasts and picking you've ever heard. 8/10

From the Deeps - Another song with an intro of sorts that really showcases the bands ability to work together to achieve something that just isnt blasts and trem picks. Great work on the drums as usual. Has some Celtic-Frost-esque parts to it, and ends by completely shredding your ears in a way that only this band can do. Not to mention did i hear rim-shots mixed in with the blasts here? Holy fucking hell. 9/10

Slaves to Slaughter - This song comes blasting in as well, no time wasted by 1349 here. Towards the middle of the song it gets very interesting, incorporating cold riffage with some seriously interesting songwriting, then back into a blasting frenzy. 9/10

Hellfire - This song really surprised the living shit out of me. I'm not going to give away the surprise in the song, but I wasnt expecting a track of this calibre to close out the album. Completely full of dark energy all around, and leaves you with a "What the fuck was that?!" feeling. 11/10.

Overall 1349 has really outdone themselves with this album, and have really beefed up their studio sound to something completely outrageous. It's going to be really interesting to see bands trying to top this completely fucking insane, yet extremely well done album.