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Guys, have we phoned in that new album yet? - 30%

autothrall, November 25th, 2009

After releasing three murderous rampages back to back from 2003-2005, 1349 wisely waited a few years before penning their next opus, while they toured and built up their following. It comes as a great surprise to me, then, that Revelations of the Black Flame is such a bore of an album. It's a clear departure from the no frills razor edged chaos battery of previous efforts, a drab and experimental take on the discordant Norse black that they formerly championed.

I'm not at all opposed to a band trying something different, in fact I have often found that some of the best work comes from such risks. This is not one of those cases. Even after months apart from the album, I come back to listen and find myself bored out of my skull. Occasionally, the band channels the angry hornets' nest of black metal that they previously dominated, as in the blast breaks of "Serpentine Sibilance" or "Maggot Fetus...Teeth Like Thorns", but it feels as if the band phoned the material in. Some of the better material here occurs when the band departs almost completely from their roots. The creepy acoustics of "Uncreation" work well until the boring metal riffs enter the picture, and "Misanthropy" is decent dark ambient, with churning chords in the distance to create an ominous effect.

I'm not sure what went wrong here, or if anything went was likely intentional. Not only are the songs weak, but the album sounds mediocre. I'm all about following a band as they embrace a new direction, but I still demand some decent music. Revelations of the Black Flame has not provided me with this. One of the biggest disappointments of the year.