Monday 6 October 2014

1349 - Massive Cauldron of Chaos (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 29/09/2014
Label: Indie Recordings/Season of Mist

‘Massive Cauldron of Chaos’ CD/DD/LP track listing:

1). Cauldron (04:24)
2). Slaves (04:54)
3). Exorcism (05:37)
4). Postmortem (04:36)
5). Mengele's (06:00)
6). Golem (01:40)
7). Chained (04:53)
8). Godslayer (06:05)

The Band:

Seidemann | Bass
Ravn | Drums, Vocals
Archaon | Guitars
Frost | Drums


1349 has been at this for over 10 years at this point, and with only one detour; they’ve been about as solid and consistent as can be. They’ve never been earth-shattering, nor have they been a band people really include on the high end of their year-end lists. But, they’ve always given you a good way to scratch that early 2000’s blast-centric black metal itch you might have had. 2009’s ‘Revelations of the Black Flame’—the bands sole diversion from its general musical theme—was a bizarre, uneven and poorly executed experimental album hampered by a messy production and partially-formed ideas. I’m not sure if there was a panic or a rush to musically apologize for the album, but a little less than a year later ‘Demonoir’ put them right back where they were before they’d tampered with the formula.

The “hardcore” fanbase generally seemed to forgive and forget about the previous year’s faux pas, though the album was a bit more straightforward and almost plain when compared to earlier works.

‘Massive Cauldron of Chaos’ the band’s first album in four years, sees the band making some slight alterations to their overall sound, but it’s really more of a return to what worked early on in the band’s career. Evidence that the band have returned to a sound that more closely resembles their 2003-2005 apex comes in the form of a heavier reliance on rhythm in the guitars. Riffs start and stop suddenly and there is a frequent use of palm muting and galloping to provide a sense of heightened technicality. They do a nice job of weaving the maelstrom into cohesive songs, thus avoiding any inclination that this is just an arbitrary assemblage of individual ideas.

Where ‘Massive Cauldron of Chaos’ has a leg up on the band’s previous works is in its production quality. They’ve put together what is easily the best sound in their discography, with everything having plenty of power, and the whole album having a sound that gels perfectly. While drum production has often been my biggest beef with 1349 up to this point, that isn’t the case at all here. There’s plenty of heft behind each hit and the snare doesn’t ring out for so long that the blasts become one big blur. It’s really a joy to listen to because it feels like 1349 have finally achieved something that they haven’t previously, albeit not in the song-writing arena.

For people who’ve never really gotten into 1349 before; there isn’t really anything new to rope you in and make you a fan. If you’re someone that ran for cover after ‘Revelations of the Black Flame’; come back home. All of that scary ambient noise and weird semi-industrial stuff has long since faded into distant memory. What you’ll find on tap with ‘Massive Cauldron of Chaos’ is likely what you’ve wanted for a while now: an album that sits comfortably next to albums like ‘Hellfire’ or ‘Beyond the Apocalypse’. It’s a safe album, in terms of not ruffling the tail feathers of the conservative black metal base, but for someone looking for 1349 to try something outside of their comfort zone; you’ll want to try again next album.

Words by: Daniel Jackson

You can pick up a copy here