1349 - Hellfire
Black Metal
8 songs (52'13")
Release year: 2005
1349, Candlelight
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

If nothing else the newest release Hellfire by 1349 can point to one thing. You can invest in production, make it sound big and modern, yet not deviate from the underground nature and raw feeling with your black metal. Another point made with Hellfire – as maligned as Norwegian scene has become by some - there are strong, up-and-coming players remaining, and 1349 are one of them.

Having previously delivered Liberation and Beyond the Apocalypse, 1349 came into its own with Hellfire where atmospherics and grimness of black metal laid over tight rhythmic structures and combined with variety of guitar melodies and riffs. This album is just as fast as it is schizophrenic, switching from one black metal style to another not only in between songs but within individual songs themselves. The whole feeling created by 1349 is quite unsettling, human hysteria being the best words to describe it.

1349 manages to provide their healthy dose of pummeling with both conviction and a reason. Most of the songs on Hellfire do not stagnate within the boundaries of individual framework, instead showing how many ways there is to skin the cat in modern black metal. Up-and-down the stairs riffing of I Am Abomination and the first two minutes of pounding on Nathicana give way to what I can only describe as Deathspell Omega moment of utter reverence. Blasting is replaced with deliberate war drum beats and superb melodic tremolo riffs. Sculptor of Flesh sounds like the swarm of angry wasps while To Rottendom is a churning Hell machine which careens out of control towards the end with its superfast blasting and sound-off guitars. The band can be “rocking”, in the Carpathian Forest sense of the word, with Slaves to Slaughter, only to finish the song with some monumental sounds. Celestial Deconstruction builds in Moscow Nights overtones in its tremolo, for all I can hear. This album is very much a testament to the fact that a little diversity never hurt anybody, no matter the style of metal you play.

The most powerful moments are created with the most melodic songs on the album. The aforementioned moments in Nathicana are incredible, and so is the Hells Bells drum intro and atmospherics of From the Deeps, before hysteria takes over. The epic title track closer is putting the band on another plane altogether. While some may find this Norsecorish, the end-of-the-world creepy intro, the monotone rhythms, melody moving along tremolo chord sequences – the song is memorable and, I guarantee it, you would want to take it out for multiple spins.

Ravn’s vocals sometimes are not typical shrieks, they almost have a degree of cleanliness to them. A lot of fuss surrounding the fact that Frost (Satyricon) is drumming for 1349 is justified. Without his myriad different fast drum patterns (i.e., I Am Abomination) non-stop mayhemic machine of 1349 would have been missing an engine. The production I mentioned above does not make Hellfire into a Death Cult Armageddon, it makes the music powerful without falling into a gimmicky theatrical trap.

Without inventing a new style 1349 produced a solid album with the moments of greatness in it. To borrow from 1349 website – Hell Awaits!

Killing Songs :
I Am Abomination, Nathicana, From the Deeps, Hellfire
Alex quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by 1349 that we have reviewed:
1349 - Massive Cauldron of Chaos reviewed by Goat and quoted 65 / 100
1349 - Demonoir reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
1349 - Revelations Of The Black Flame reviewed by Goat and quoted 62 / 100
1349 - Beyond the Apocalypse reviewed by Daniel and quoted 83 / 100
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