Revelations of the Black Flame
25 May 2009
by Tom Gibbons
A series of prolonged torturous screams opens and sets the tone Revelations of the Black Flame, the latest opus from Oslo-based black metallers, 1349. Never a band to give fans an easy ride, the Norwegians long-awaited fifth studio album stays tr00 to their black metal purist roots, but manages to give them a malevolent twist.
Juxtaposed against the old school black metal of yesteryear are bloodcurdling soundscapes and interludes of depraved rumblings, seeped in creepy film noir piano plinking and weird warping effect. The blast-beating and passages of pummelling brutality are fewer and further between than the 1349 of old, but when they come its with the devastating nous of Darkthrone and the murky ambience of Burzum. Revelations of the Black Flame‘s strength lies in its clever use of haunting calm – and its sudden and abrupt abortion by vicious bursts of classic hell noise.
The production team (of which Tom Gabriel Warrior of Celtic Frost is part of) have helped brew a stimulating blend of themes and sounds. They may employ plenty of interesting techniques, effects and ideas, but they retain and honour the hallmarks of 90s Black Metal production, without the results sounding tinny or lo-fi.
Watch 1349 scaring the shit out of Vice TV in their practice room
1349 fans should approach Revelations of the Black Flame with caution. At times it verges on the conceptual – back-to-back pure metal this is not – but the end result is without doubt as evil as the front cover-sleeve suggests. This shit is dark.
1349 – Revelations of the Black Flame tracklisting
Maggot Fetus… Teeth Like Thorns
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
At the Gate…