1349: Massive Caludron Of Chaos (Indie Recordings)
Out: 29 September, 2014
Norewegian black metallers 1349 return with new album, Massive Cauldron Of Chaos, that sets new standards of heaviness.
It’s been four long years since the last album release from Norwegian black metallers, 1349.
Not that the band have been lying dormant, there have has been numerous tours and festival appearances but now they have crawled back out of the darkness to unleash their latest ‘aural hellfire’ upon the world.
Their previous album, Demonoir was a competent and satisfying Black Metal recording but personally I thought it lacked the bite and utter sonic carnage of 2005’s groundbreaking Hellfire.
So what of this new album Massive Cauldron of Chaos, then? After such a long gap, expectancy runs high and 1349 deliver. And then some.
Massive Cauldron of Chaos is a spectacular return to form and is everything a bona fide Black Metal album should be. Frenzied riffing, inhuman blastbeats and a superbly cold, rasping vocal performance from Ravn. 1349 have well and truly returned and laid down a serious statement of intent with this album.
Opening track Cauldron sets the pace at a breakneck speed with some intricate riffing and some quite ridiculous blasting from mythical drummer, Frost. It’s immediately apparent that the production is absolutely top notch, every instrument is perfectly mixed and stands out with great clarity.
First single, Slaves, follows in the same vein and features as close as you’ll ever get to a chorus in a Black Metal track. Some nice chopping tempo changes break up the relentless assault of blasts to keep it interesting and varied.
My personal favourite on the album, Exorcism, is a study of how speed and aggression should be used and the solo at the three and a half minute mark is not only a beautiful face-melter but breaks down into an amazing crunchy riff that gets the head nodding.
‘Postmortem’ ventures into more thrashy territory but keeps the blackened flame burning whilst another album highlight Mengele’s is a slight respite from the relentless speed that has been constant on the previous tracks. The blast is still there but the overall tempo of the riffs is a little slower but in the process loses none of the heaviness and general malice.
At under two minutes, Golem is a short, thrashy sprint, the aggression never giving up.
Chained has an almost punk feeling to begin with before we’re back into the more traditional Black Metal sound. A superb breakdown in the middle of the song once again keeps things from becoming a one dimensional speed assault.
The album closes with the epic Godslayer and sets new standards of heaviness as well as giving the listener a genuine sense of unease. Some of the riffs present on Godslayer defy comprehension, such is the complexity and technicality.
1349 have returned with an absolute gem of an album. The standard is ridiculously high and will make any doubters who were possibly starting to write off the Norwegian scene in favour of Black Metal from other areas of the world take immediate notice.
The level of conviction is staggering and individual band member performances quite stunning. I’ve long been an admirer of Frost’s work with 1349. Freed from the somewhat regimental constraints of his other band Satyricon, he puts in some of the most incredible drumming you’ll ever hear. As for Archaon’s guitar work, it’s up there with the very best. The riffs he generates are jaw-droppingly vicious and cold.
Massive Cauldron of Chaos is exactly that and comes under the category of ‘essential listening’ for all fans of Black Metal and extreme music.
Massive Cauldron of Chaos is released in Europe on Indie Recordings on 29/9/14 and can be pre-ordered here.
1349 are embarking on a full European tour in November…
“It is with great excitement that we present the Chaos Raids Europe tour. Not since 2005 have we done any proper tour in Europe, so it’s about time we get back in the saddle and offer our European fans some nights of unholy black metal. This tour marks the release of our brand new album Massive Cauldron of Chaos and will feature several cuts from the album, blended with some good ol’classics from the rest of our catalogue. Prepare for the Aural Hellfire Legion to strike!”
Having seen 1349 live several times, I strongly recommend checking them out.
All words by Andy santiago, find his Louder Than War archive here.