1349
Beyond the Apocalypse

1349 is back with their second full album, and third release overall, and it is the most proficient material to date, such sweet disharmony, almost sacred in its blasphemy.I like the formula, I like the sound quality (the details do not get buried). Great energy and technical precision.

More complex than Liberation, it took me one listen to admit I really liked it and two spins to say I think it is one of the best of the year so far. It took a few more listens for me to decide that I like it best of their three disks. Speed, intensity, brutality, still the best three adjectives for 1349, have all been turned up another notch. The pace travels from warp speed to supersonic and back again, occasionally throwing in much slower sequences. The guitars stand out more, a much fuller presence, with more crunch and more volume. The drum sound it much better, more substance. The drums still dominate in terms of volume and Frost shows his skills once again.

 I love Ravns Ron Royce styled vocals but they are a little weaker in the mix this time, though I think he is a bit more expressive this time. Tjalve and Archaon have created some masterful guitar work and thankfully Seidemann has been given some room to move beyond filling in the rhythm. The layers of noise flow together and blend into convoluted chaos, yet there is a depth of sound that lets one discern most everything. The songs are once again numbered from 11 instead of 1. The opening track, “Chasing Dragons”,has lots of twists and turns and offers that “humanity is no longer an issue”. The drumming controls pace and intensity and the guitars fill in the spaces and add layer upon layer, offering some memorable riffs along the way. “Aiwass-Aeon” is just what old school fans would hope for. The pace is fast, of course, and the guitars hold there own. The drumming helps the guitars more the song along instead of setting the standard for the guitars to follow. “Nekronatalenheten” demands that I offer a lyrical quotation… “babies for the beast, dissecting, selecting the best pieces…” This song starts with a slow and atmospheric crunch and speed builds, then the drums take over. Slow repeating guitar riffs, nice cymbal work, thunderous bass, all add to the sonic maelstrom until the end. “Singer of Strange Songs” uses bass guitar and cymbal working together to set the early tone. By two minutes it is warp speed again with warbling guitars and blast beats. The guitar lines will be instantly familiar to all, classic Norwegian black metal. After a slow break at five minutes, we get a boost of speed, a drum solo, and slow and heavy rhythm. The drums steal the show for the rest of the song. Song 18, “Internal Winter” has a slow doom intro, with the guitar lead simple but catchy. The faster than warp speed guitar rhythms are the steadying focus amidst the maelstrom. There are spurts of even faster drumming and the guitars jump all over the place, though a pattern emerges as you listen. Of all the songs this one carries itself the best musically, great composition, I especially like the final two minutes.

 The closing song is a strange one. “The Blade” sounds to me like a spinning turntable after the needle has reached the end, with whispered vocals and slow precise atmospheric music with a weird distortion, then it ends as it began. Buy this album and help in the war, (quoting from the lyric sheet again), “blood is the mortar, lay waste this world in blasphemy”.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
May 4th, 2004

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