Friday, August 27, 2010

1349 - Revelations of the Black Flame

Remember all that stuff we were good at? Let's do the opposite

Okay, it's fairly obvious that I have a massive boner for 1349's previous works. Liberation may have had some remarkably thin and buzzy production, but Beyond the Apocalypse and Hellfire are must listens as far as I'm concerned. The band was incredibly good at what they did, which was furious and relentless Black Metal that focused on intensity far more than atmosphere. Sure, it's not what most people prefer, but I'm much more predisposed to that style since I entered BM through the Thrash camp.

So what makes Revelations of the Black Flame so much worse? Frankly, everything the band was good at is conspicuously absent. Instead of the unchained fury, we're barraged with half hearted ambience and slow, dissonant melodies. Of the nine tracks, only "Serpentine Sibilance", "Uncreation", and "Maggot Fetus… Teeth Like Thorns" retain any of the band's former glory. The Pink Floyd cover is interesting if nothing else, but it just goes in one ear and out the other, as do most of the filler tracks. I'm not bitter because the band switched styles; I'm bitter because they're terrible at what they're trying to do here. 1349 is not a group that excels in creating an unsettling atmosphere, nor are they renowned in the world of ambience. Hellfire was a modern classic because there are few bands that can cram as much intensity and aggression into one record as well as 1349 can. It barely let up, so I can't help but wonder why they decided it would be such a great idea to abandon what made them so memorable and enjoyable in the first place. The bottom line is that Revelations of the Black Flame is fucking lame. If you want an ambient soundscape integrated with Black Metal, stick with bands like Wolves in the Throne Room who know how to make it interesting. Disappointment of 2009 by far.

RATING - 18%

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