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A Break From Black... - 95%

Nintendevil, June 30th, 2009

I feel obliged to write a review for this album for... well obvious reasons. It hasn't become the most popular of works, but this is due -in my opinion- to close mindedness. I'm almost confident to say most of the people who reviewed this album didn't even listen to it all the way through (but I can't justify that.) The most obvious issue to most of the [former] fans of 1349 is the 'ambiance' which is contained in (depending on your point of view and what you call ambiance) around 40% of the album. While I do feel a doom album must have some ambiance to be successful, I will say Revelations is pushing it, but not to the point that it is un-bearable. Before I get the to the meat of the album, I would first like to point out that Tom did NOT produce the album. He was present at times, and everyone was aware of the choices they made.* He said 1349 would change yet again with the next album. Perhaps they where just meant to change a lot, or perhaps they didn't want to be remembered for making the same album over again. If that's so, then they've done a mighty good job of it. The only true disappointment to me was the thin drumming sound, that becomes minor after a while.

The album begins with a horrifying screech, being Invocation. If Hell isn't the first thing that comes to mind hearing this, I don't want to know what is. In the background are the beats of Frost's bass drum slowly counting some doom-like event (as all dark doom should) until the song climaxes. A rhythmic riff plays over the waves of chords and noise until it picks up to a constant; overall a solid song and intro, though perhaps it could have used another bridge. Serpent Sibilance is next, and immediately starts on a different page. This is of course a good thing. We don't want songs to mash together and sound the same. Beginning a little more black than most of the other songs on the album, this track goes out the window and back. A few slower riffs mixed with doses of speed all nailed to your skull by slow heavy drumming and even blasts makes this an outstanding song, certainly by every definition. At this point the album sounds promising. But then we are brought to Horns, the only track I found unnecessary. All in all it brought nothing unique to the table, which is the key to ambiance. I figured this was what the ambiance was about. I continued listening in hopes of a good tune or some inspiring sounds.

And to my luck, the next song lands once again on a positive note. Most obviously a more traditionally written song, Maggot Fetus... Teeth Like Horns is very straightforward and satisfying. Despite the unusual name, this song would song very classic 1349 had it not been for the quiet hidden drumming. Misanthropy is a shock from the beginning. Most will be extremely nit-picky for the constant ticking sound in this song, which was... really stupid, but after a while became enchanting, and -dare I say it- likable. But perhaps even more shocking was the dissonant chord struck by a piano, which was a nice refreshing move by 1349. The song climbs into a slow riff which ends soon, leading into what I believe to be the highlight of the album. Uncreation. Utterly brilliant is the arpeggio being both sinister, brutal, dark, enchanting and just plain evil. Every damn word in "The Book of Things People Can Use to Describe Metal" fits here. The chorus, sounding just as brilliant suits wonderfully. This is my prime choice for the album. At times, the bass can also be heard playing a melody beneath the guitar - a rarity in black metal. Again, Frost's drumming shines here.

I have trouble understanding why everyone was surprised to see a Pink Floyd cover on this album. Numerous times have members said that they where indeed a large influence on them. If not a hard task it is to find a metal cover of a rock and roll song, then harder it is to find a good one. Set The Control for The Heart of the Sun was absolutely perfect for the album, the band, the genre, and was executed seamlessly with hints of brutal drumming on the side. In this track, Tom Gabriel Fischer played the guitar by request from 1349. Perhaps this adds to the awesome of this track, but alone this song is another worthy of praise. This is coming from a guy who never really liked Pink Floyd, or rather I never understood their hype. Sue me.

Putting that aside, there are two more tracks to cover. The next one is again a filler track yet I fell a stronger connection to this song. Solitude (Also probably the first thing to think of when hearing the words doom metal) is a very relaxing and artistic song. The tone is that sweet sound of that of what sounds somewhere between a moaning violin and a guitar, later leading into acoustics. I would best describe this as: Buckethead meets "Listen to the Whales Soundscapist" or something. Perhaps I love this because I am drawn to Buckethead's music too. Finally to end the album is what at first again seems to be ambiance, but picks up. At The Gate ends the album. Almost immediately it strikes an "Iron Man Intro" kind of bend. This process continues with the bass. It shows some form of structure through and through, but closes just as the album should. Satisfying us, and not leaving us with a big "?".

No doubt this is an album to purely love or hate. Change can be a difficult obstacle for us to face. Just remember, any change can be embraced, and I wouldn't worry a day in my life about what's to come of our beloved 1349.

* - Tom Gabriel Fischer mentioning his participation on the album.