|Review: 1349 - Hellfire|
Label: Candlelight Records
Year released: 2005
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: January 18, 2009
Reviewed by: Mike Henn
Rated 4.05/5 (81.05%) (19 Votes)
Let's get something straight, I am far from the biggest Black Metal fan on the planet. I appreciate classics like Pentagram and A Blaze in the Northern Sky, but I'm not going to cream myself if I ever get my hands on Vomit Sodomy's highly regarded twelfth demo that was recorded on an answering machine in the forest or anything. I'm not one of those that will pride himself on how awesome he is by listening exclusively to uber underground stuff from the Fjordiest Fjords of Northern Fjordland, so I'm not bound to be an expert on the subject. And although I haven't had the opportunity to delve very deeply into the genre, there is one band that I will fellate 'till the cows come home; and that is Norway's 1349. While 1349 may not be the most original, atmospheric, or technical band you're bound to come across, they sure as hell are one of the most intense.
Listen to the sonic explosion at the beginning of "Sculptor of Flesh", or that incredible buildup in the last minute of "From the Deeps". Hellfire never relents in its assault, and stands as a contender for best of 2005. I'm not even entirely sure if Frost is human or not, because he is probably tied with Max Kolesne from Krisiun as one of the most consistently fast drummers in the business. I'm sure there are many people who can blast just as fast as he can, and many for just long as well, but I haven't heard many make it as powerful at the same time. And that's all 1349 is in the end, an extremely fast, powerful, and menacing, riff-centric Black Metal outfit. Ravn's vocals are terrifying, Frost's drumming is relentless, and the songs never let up once they start going. The only flaw with this is that most of the songs go on for too damn long for what's in them. "Hellfire" is prefaced by pointless ambience in order to make the track extend to thirteen minutes and forty nine seconds. But it's really a small hindrance when there are still nearly ten solid minutes of thrashing to behold. But these ten minutes are full of the same handful of riffs spread thinly over the duration of the track. See now, repetition is the only nagging problem with the whole record, as many songs are plagued by a lack of riffs stretched out over a long track length. One of the things that makes 1349 special to me is the fact that they can write honest to goodness riffs as opposed to simple tremolo picking, and they unfortunately chose not to write too many of these fantastic riffs. So is it any surprise that the shortest song, "Sculptor of Flesh" is also the best one? Not really. It only contains about four riffs, but you are probably too busy getting your face ripped off to notice or bitch about such a thing.
High tempo triplet blast beasts, borderline Death/Thrash riffs, and top notch Black Metal screeching? Sounds to me like this is what Black Metal is supposed to sound like. If you can forgive 1349 for using only a few riffs per song, this is one of the better riff-centric, not intentionally produced to sound like garbage, Black Metal albums you're bound to find. Hell, the first five tracks pretty much define what auditory hatred sounds like. This is Black Metal made for thrashers, or as the band calls it: audible hellfire. Highly recommended.
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