1349 are a Norwegian black metal band that are due to release their sixth album, ‘Massive Cauldron of Chaos’ on the 29th September via Indie Recordings. The band formed in 1997 with Frost of Satyricon on drums; Seidemann of Den Saakaldte and Pantheon I on bass; Ravn on vocals and Archaon on guitar, this is a well-established band on the black metal scene.
After multiple listens to the album, the one word that kept coming back
to me was ‘formulaic’. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d heard it
all before, but this could be attributed to listening to lots of Myrkur
and Botanist recently and going back to listening to more traditional
black metal seemed like a difficult transition. So I promised myself
that I wouldn’t let this taint my opinion on this album. After all,
without bands that stuck to the formula, there wouldn’t be a formula.
The album is replete with tremolo picked guitars, blastbeats and raspy
vocals; lots of catchy hooks on display here and Frosts drumming is
magnificent as usual. Stand out tracks are album opener ‘Cauldron’, the
first release from the album ‘Slaves’ and album closer ‘Godslayer’. All
three tracks show some excellent musicianship on behalf of all band
members with the guitar work on ‘Godslayer’ being a particular
highlight. Tracks ‘Postmortem’ and ‘Mengele’s’ showing the bands thrashy
side, slowing the pace slightly and proving that not all black metal
needs to be played at breakneck speed.
This album didn’t blow me away but it’s competently played, well
produced and played with massive amounts of conviction. It’s definitely a
solid addition to their back catalogue and if you’re a fan of the band
then you’re likely to enjoy it. If you’re not familiar then I’d
recommend starting with ‘Hellfire’ and building up to this one.
Overall, all of the hallmarks of a great black metal album are present
and if you let it, it will remind you of all the things that brought you
to listen to black metal in the first place. Buy it, play it loud and
reminisce about the first time you listened to Mayhem’s ‘De Mysteriis