1349 – Hellfire
Candlelight Records – CDL181 - October 4th, 2005
By Josh Phillips
If there has ever been a more fitting name for an album than 1349
came up with for their latest release, I can’t think of it. 1349
has made their way to the top of the extreme metal horde with their last two releases and I believe that Hellfire
is a match for those as well as any other black metal output this year. Returning with a record that is as harsh, caustic, vile, brutal, ice-cold, vicious and pleasantly unpleasant as any other, 1349
have really unleashed Hellfire
This is truly extreme metal, in every way, the essence of the term. From the primal, uncivilized, razor sharp production that ices over the entire release, to the shrieking, demonic vocals to the battering drums of Frost and the dicing guitar work of Tjalve and Archaon. The album marches in with “I am Abomination”, another piece with a fitting title and it scathes the listener with some of the most blistering, cruel music on the planet. Enough to make the mainstream listener shit themselves upon impact to be sure. This four minute hyperblast of a song is exactly what I look for in this type of music. A frenzied, yet coherent aural assault, that while being brutal as all hell, still has substance and riffs and vocal lines that the listener will remember. The half-clean yell of “I Am Abominationnnnn!” sticks with me as I write this. As the solid opener fades out, “Nathicana” begins with an attack that will make brutal death fans grin before spinning into a mid-paced riff, mimicked by the vocals in an epic passage, tossed into the eye of the storm. “Sculptor of Flesh” is another quick burst of energy featuring some of the grooviest riffing this side of hell. From here, the song length increases to about six minutes or more a shot, but the music continues to devour the listener with hatred. “Celestial Deconstruction” even gave off a little Deathspell Omega
vibe during its more mid-paced sections, and that can only be a good thing. “To Rottendam” thrashes away in the vein of “Sculptor of Flesh” and ranks as one of the album’s best tracks, though this record is pretty even in its song quality. The final highlight is the closer, “Hellfire.” Clocking in at 13:49, this track is more of a throwback to a pure black metal sound that these band members have been around and involved in throughout their career and are continuing to create every day in this excellent band. This final track is by far the coldest on the album. The vocals feature their most tortured frailty yet, the drums blast and the freezing guitars weave a distorted web of sound. Around ten and a half minutes is my favorite portion of the song as an almost uplifting riff rises out of the muck and brings an incredibly epic close to an amazing album. Everything in this song is in place, the drumming, vocals, guitar work, everything is just perfectly the way it should be and the final three minutes are good enough to make it one of the top ten songs of the year. A 13:49 track that ends with the sound of flames and maniacal laughter, absolutely as good as it gets.
For fans of extreme metal, from brutal death, to old school black metal, this release is right up your alley and should rank as one of the best albums of the year, as it certainly does for me. A solid record that far and away exceeded my expectations, this is another gem of a band hailing from Norway and it wouldn’t surprise me if this record is able to make it’s way into my Top 5 albums of the year. As the year gets closer to the end, the quality material continues to pile up. Check this one out, it deserves to be heard by anyone with an interest in extreme music.
Official 1349 Website
Official Candlelight USA Website