“The Blind Leading The Blind”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Although not flawless, this is a very ambitious attempt to cover the horrors of World War I in an extreme metal context. WWI is not totally unknown as subject matter…God Dethroned, Asphyx and even Iron Maiden have done songs about The Great War…but this Ukrainian band really tackle the subject in depth and have come up with a powerful metallic history lesson here.

1914’s onslaught is generally tank-like and doomy, but has tons of atmosphere and lots of WWI-related samples and soundbites. Several version of “All Quiet On the Western Front” are copiously sampled and while some might say the band uses too much sampling, the samples they do use all have strong relation to the music. 1914 is primarily a death metal band, but there’s  traces of black metal and punk to be found as well. If you want to hear one of the monster songs of 2018, cue up “A7V Mephisto” This is one monolithic bulldozer of a track, with a crushing death/doom majesty that rivals the best Bolt Thrower. An amazing song and the best one here for sure, although the epic “Hundred Days Offensive” almost matches it. On these tracks, 1914 really does capture the juggernaut intensity of total warfare.

There’s also a cover of “Beat The Bastards” by The Exploited that gives an atmospheric take on the crusty classic. Death metal renaissance man Dave Ingram joins in on “Passchenhell” and fits in with these guys perfectly. The other tunes here are a mixture of slow and blistering fast metal, couple with a lot of the samples I spoke of earlier. “War In” and “War Out” are creepy patriotic war songs taken from the actual time period….it’s unbelievable how such a cheerful face can be put on the wholesale slaughter of young human beings.

Some parts here are more effective than others, but a big tip of the spiked German warhelmet to 1914, a band to keep an eye on.