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The Same, But Different - 60%

promethian_death, February 16th, 2010

From the moment you hear the anguishing screams of the opening track, “Invocation,” you realize that there is something entirely different about 1349’s Revelations of the Black Flame. And if you sit down and compare it to their previous full-length offering Hellfire, you will defiantly hear the difference. But if you are looking for a Hellfire II, stop reading this review right now, look at one of the other nine new reviews Metal Psalter is offering and forget about this album. You’re going to be disappointed. But if you want something that is definitely 1349 (or just some decent, well-made Black Metal), but totally different at the same time: buy this album.

One of the first things I noticed about 1349 is how clear the vocals are, something which piqued my interest when I initially stumbled across the band several years ago. Ravn’s voice is crisp and deep, somewhat different from most vocalists in the style. While he still has that growling aspect to his voice, he does not seem to rely on it like a majority of the genre tends to do. Discarding the crutch of the “demonic screams” and seeking his own unique vocals. This is pretty much consistent throughout the album and lends to the quality of the band’s style.

Another thing that I have noticed, at least with Revelations of the Black Flame, is that the band’s drums are at a much slower tempo from their contemporaries. A plus for the band in a field that is at times over saturated with blast beats and machine gun rata-tat-tat drumming, their beat master, Frost (also of Satyricon), doing an excellent job at his job.

What the album lacks in aggression, it make up for in cold, hard emotion (or lack there of), which helps in the maintained themes the band writes about. The one real complaint that I have is that the album starts out very, very strong and then seems to just peter out towards the end, seemingly dying a slow painful death with the willfully slow track “At the Gate.” Revelations of the Black Flame would be a good album to listen to on a lazy day where you have nothing to do but read a good book. Everyone needs albums like that in their collection.

While 1349 are excellent musicians, and hail from the Norwegian black metal scene, Revelations of the Black Flame isn’t as strong as their previous offerings, but I still find it listenable and something that would be well received by die-hard fans. While the album’s pace is much slower, and more intense (with the exception of the track “Maggot Fetus… Teeth like Thorns,” the one track on the album which falls under the more traditional black metal trappings of fast guitars and blasting beats from the rhythm section). The slower pace of Revelations makes it stand out from the crowd. The one flaw being that it almost deviates too much from the black metal “norm,” but this might also, after time, prove to be a boon for the album, hopefully drawing in more fans to the band’s legions.

by Kesh Butler, contributor from Metal Psalter Webzine

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