1349 - Demonoir
Indie Recordings
Black Metal
13 songs (49:00)
Release year: 2010
1349, Indie Recordings
Reviewed by Goat

After the disappointing Revelations Of The Black Flame, 1349 seem to have rallied and their new album – less than a year later – is a massive improvement over the last, suggesting that the criticisms received have been taken on board. This is still very experimental, but the band have ensured that their deranged darkness flows better than before, and so the album doesn’t feel as disjointed this time around. Interlude tracks (each entitled Tunnel Of Set) now hold the ambience, whilst the tracks between are free to cast their malevolent twisted spells, and it’s clear that the main album songs are better-written than before, feeling more whole and without that former frustrating half-finished air. I listened to Revelations... again in preparation for this review, and the two make an interesting pair, making me wonder cynically if the band didn’t plan to do it this way.

Whatever their thinking, I’m pleased to report that 1349 have returned completely and utterly to their former quality, absorbing experimental structures and flourishes into their traditional Black Metal world to create what may just be their best album yet. First track proper Atomic Chapel is a good example of this true return to form, mixing the technicality of Hellfire with a newly-resurged atmospheric touch that can make the band sound quite chilling at times. There are even hints of post-rock in the hidden melodies, although don’t think of this as anything near the likes of Alcest1349’s violence and malevolence is permanent, from vocalist Ravn’s flawless switches from snarls to whispers to drummer Frost’s typically impressive performance. A lot of praise must go to generally underrated guitarist Archaon as well, however, as his twisted, twisting riffs are the meat over the other musicians’ backbone, and whilst his contribution can sometimes seem drowned out by everything else that’s happening, it’s always there, lurking beneath the surface.

What really impresses about Demonoir is that, however violent and blasting the likes of When I Was Flesh can become, the sheer evil of the atmosphere and hatefulness of the melodies still comes across with perfect clarity. The rhythmic thrashings of Psalm 7:77 are as intense and crushing as the pulverising assault of Pandemonium War Bells, the gruffly furious grandiosity of The Devil Of The Desert as good as the cold militarism of the title track – and all stand together perfectly to create a great, great album that knows exactly what it’s doing. Forget Revelations Of The Black Flame as a misbegotten experiment – Demonoir is the true follow-up to Hellfire, and deserves to be fully embraced by every fan. I’m especially pleased to see a fan wink in the album’s number of tracks and complete running time! Forward-looking without compromise on their past, furious and violent, intense and gripping; Demonoir will survive on my playlist a good long while.

Killing Songs :
Atomic Chapel, When I Was Flesh, Psalm 7:77, Pandemonium War Bells, The Devil Of The Desert, Demonoir
Goat quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by 1349 that we have reviewed:
1349 - Massive Cauldron of Chaos reviewed by Goat and quoted 65 / 100
1349 - Revelations Of The Black Flame reviewed by Goat and quoted 62 / 100
1349 - Hellfire reviewed by Alex and quoted 85 / 100
1349 - Beyond the Apocalypse reviewed by Daniel and quoted 83 / 100
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