"Massive Cauldron of Chaos"

By Dr. Abner Mality

It's been four long years since we've heard anything from the 1349 crew. They've finally returned in 2014 with a new look and a blasting new album. This is a band that you can never quite predict. "Massive Cauldron of Chaos" again throws some curves into their black metal assault.

This is almost completely the opposite of their album "Revelation of the Black Flame", which outraged many fans by being 75% ambient soundscape. Where that album seemed like all frills, here they've stripped everything down to utter essentials. No intros, no soundscapes, no keys. The titles are all single words and the cover itself is stark. But for those looking for a lot of speed in their music, the album does not disappoint. There is a very cold and machine-like feel to the way the riffs are churned out here. Notorious drummer Frost has never sounded more robotic in delivering ultra-precise beats. Even singer Ravn sounds drained of all humanity with his harsh croaks. There's also more of a thrash feel to the speed this time around, instead of the typical Norwegian blizzard attack.

This will start more debates within the 1349 fanbase. I think this takes a few spins before it really sinks in and you appreciate the way its all laid out. "Postmortem" has a very unique structure to it but the riffs are mesmerizing. The closest to the typical Norwegian BM sound comes with "Mengele's", where the freezing chords remind one of past glories. "Golem" is a raging blast lasting less than 2 minutes while "Chained" features a pure heavy metal guitar solo that is also something new for 1349. Overall though, the feeling is one of bleak mechanistic chaos. It is compelling but unexpected...this band is trying hard to keep itself moving forward.