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Review: 1349 - The Infernal Pathway
The Infernal Pathway

Label: Season of Mist
Year released: 2019
Duration: 44:02
Tracks: 11
Genre: Black Metal


Review online: October 20, 2019
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.8/5 (76%) (15 Votes)

With an unorthodox name and a rich history, 1349 (which was the year that black death came to Norway, wiping out almost 2/3 of the country's population, thus ending what historians call the "golden age of Norway") have been challenging religious hordes and wreaking havoc since 1997, when bassist Seidemann and vocalist Ravn (who also played drums back then) joined forces with past members Tjalve and Balfori.

The constant sound shifts and progressive evolution in the Norwegians' music has been the subject of discussion between the trve metal circles out there—especially when the infamous Revelations of the Black Flame came out in 2009—but as of now it seems that they managed to fully transition to a style that comforts themselves and fans alike, which translates in their seventh full-length album, The Infernal Pathway.

Ethereal, almost secular parts are the most prominent elements here, notably in songs like instrumentals "Tunnel of Set VIII, IX and X" and "Towers Upon Towers". The mystical approach, combined with thrashier elements and some pure, raw black metal is an interesting mix that works well with the overall atmosphere.

The maelstrom created by the combination of these two genres—probably the most brutal ones alongside death—offers frantic moments and energetic aura. Exploring themselves musically and using a lot of different characteristics of the black metal scene like some Darkthrone riffing, early Slayer thrash bits and even some Dimmu Borgir and Watain-like atmosphere, 1349 manage to fully unleash their potential without sounding too obvious or generic.

The band seem to have reached what they wanted to do instrumental-wise on Massive Cauldron of Chaos (2014) and have continued on the same path in The Infernal Pathway, so all in all what we have here is a more refined record in terms of songwriting and execution when compared to their last two. The Norwegian quartet has delivered a good slab of black/thrash without sounding too repetitive or making the same mistakes of Revelations of the Black Flame; while this won't be making any top lists out there, it's definitely worth checking out.

More about 1349...
Review: Demonoir (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Dødskamp (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Hellfire (reviewed by Mike Henn)
Review: Revelations of the Black Flame (reviewed by Mike Henn)
Review: The Infernal Pathway (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Interview with Archaon (Guitar) on August 15, 2004 (Interviewed by Chris Mitchell (Desolate Gale))
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