The sixth offering from the Norwegian black metal 1349 is not overall a bad album. In fact, I enjoy the concept and image of 1349. From their name (which comes from the year the Black Death reached Norway) to their stage show. They’re a black metal band that can stand with the best of them. However, they live within their genre and contain a lot of what I don’t like in the genre. This album is their best work but leaves a lot to the imagination.
The production is great for black metal. It’s a throwback to the classic sound while still being pleasing to listen to and not sounding like they recorded it in a shed on a laptop.
Recording of this record began in October 2013, and the eight tracks are pretty good. The vocal choice I don’t like but you can get over it. If you’re a fan of early Emperor then you’ll really like it, but it takes so much away for me. That is just my opinion.
The drums are brutal and well mixed. I love Frost’s work with Satyricon, so this was a natural move for me. The blending of the guitar and bass work well here. There are no standout moments but nothing awful either. It’s a nice sound for a black metal group to work within. But again, they’re confined to their genre while jumping into thrash elements now and then.
“Slaves” is the first single from the album; it has some great riffs and the voice over in the bridge that is just the best kind of spooky. It also has some cool thrashy bits throughout. It borders of blackened thrash without the vocals. Vocalist Ravn believes that this track showcases “the spirit of the coming album.” He is totally right, there is something very beautifully dark about that song.
“Godslayer” is its counterpoint and a great closure to the album. A lot of the same techniques are found in both.“Postmortem” slows these down a little and is the stand out track for me because of it. It has a nice groove and is heavier due to it. But jumps back into the blackened thrash thing within a minute. It has a great midsection and is freaking awesome!
“Mengele’s” sounds very much like Satyricon in style, composition and instrumentation. Not surprising, because Frost is their drummer. That said, this could have been lighter than the rest of the album and that would’ve been very cool. But the vocals pull the track back into black metal abyss and it loses it’s unique quality.
“Golem” and “Chained” are basically black metal punk. While “Exorcism” is another cool thrashy track that is fast and brutal at the same time.
That’s three major stylistic changes in eight tracks: blackened thrash, blackened punk and Satyricon style blackened hard rock. Yet, they are all black metal. And hey, it works. I like this album. It is something for fans of the genre and I can’t recommend this to your standard metal fan. If you’re looking for something new and interesting, 1349 are a band that you should check out. “Massive Cauldron of Chaos” has it where it counts and is a fun black metal listen.
“Massive Cauldron of Chaos” will be released on October 6th, 2014 via Indie Recordings.
“Massive Cauldron Of Chaos” track listing:
Olav “Ravn” Bergene – Vocals
Tor Risdal “Seidemann” Stavenes – Bass
Idar “Archaon” Burheim – Guitar
Kjetil-Vidar “Frost” Haraldstad – Drums