1349
Hellfire

1349 is easily one of the best new black metal bands out of Norway, but considering the long history the band members have pre 1349 maybe they are not really eligible for the newbie prize. A few years from now, after a few more albums and more tours under their bullet belts, 1349 should be considered one of the best old school black metal bands around.

Enough preamble, on to the new album. Hellfire is the third full length in three years and features eight songs numbered 11 through 18. Let’s start with the promo notes. Candlelight announced that Hell Awaits back on the promo notes for Liberation. I would love to consider Liberation 1349’s Hell Awaits because that would have made their next one their Reign in Blood, but they were treading water and instead released Hell Awaits part two, Hell is still Waiting, so states the promo notes on Beyond the Apocalypse. Up next Hellfire and Candlelight again, ‘Hell no longer waits- it is here.’ Unfortunately, they skipped right to South of Heaven.

That’s enough Slayer references for one review, though pure speed and intensity are not the only things the two bands have in common. The title track accounts for 13 minutes and 49 seconds of the 52 minute long album and with a couple of lengthy sections without vocals, relentless drumming that sets the pace and a nice tranquil atmosphere make this the perfect music for relaxing in front of the wood stove on cold winter nights while carving runes in human bones. But that is how the album ends, back at the beginning ‘I Am Abomination’ announces hellfire and then blazing speed with Frost starting the clinic early. Ravn has developed a rather distinctive vocal delivery. The lead guitars are distorted and chaotic and the rhythm guitar is cyclic. The song abruptly ends and ‘Nathicana’ screams in with guitars blazing and vocals so venomous you can hear the spittle dripping off his chin, The drums back way off and give the guitarists more room for awhile before drum domination.

My top two tracks are ‘Celestial Deconstruction’ which has Ravn quite clearly understandable, with his delivery slowed down, and ‘From the Deeps’.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
January 19th, 2006

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