1349: Demonoir

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1349: Demonoir
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1349: Demonoir
Black Metal
Indie Recordings, Prosthetic Records
April 26th, 2010
Release length: 48:46
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After a rather dismal studio release with Revelations of the Black Flame, it’s time for 1349 to redeem themselves. Demonoir is the band’s fifth full-length offering, and it definitely makes up for what appears now to be more of an experimental blue-print album then anything. With this release, 1349 changes things up once again, but in a much more positive aspect, bringing in more structure to their songs then just constant blast beats or unneccesary atmosphere. Instead, we have a solid, furious Black Metal album that does a good job at standing out through the band’s own terms, while still retaining that musical rage showcased on the group’s previous efforts.

While Demonoir still isn’t the more original Black Metal release out there, the band still incorporates enough ideas into the music that changes up the pace a bit, bringing the act into a new spotlight once again. Much of the band’s music on this release is still composed of blast beats, but on top of this, there are added layers where the music has the same intense feel, but has music that will break into sections not comprised of repetative fast guitars and pounding of the drums. Sometimes the music on this release will actually slow down and branch off into a normal beat that, while still fast, allows the band to show a little complexity with the guitar chords with matching drums that don’t sound like everything else you heard on the release. “Atomic Chapel”, “When I Was Flesh” and “Pandemonium War Bells” have these sort of moments, though not every track has these elements, such as “Psalm 7:77” which is just a furious song that actually uses concepts from the previous album on some of the guitars near the end to introduce the guitar solo, as well as during it, through heavy distortion. It sounds good, but as you near the end of the solo you just want it to end thanks to the migraine inducing distortion and higher pitch it causes. Of course, you also have the title track, “Demonoir”, which is just a slower paced track that really relies on a very haunting atmosphere to push the song along, which is done well right from the start, making this the most stand out track off the entire release and well deserving to be the title of the album.

This release is composed of thirteen tracks, however every other track on here is a short instrumental that is composed mostly of low noise to introduce a song. While this isn’t the worst thing the band could have done, and doesn’t anything to hurt the flow of the album, even though it doesn’t really enhance it that much either, 1349 seem to utilize these moments to (one would assume) show the music is following another path all together from the last track, but in the end it seems a little ridiculous. This is where the band really steps back to the blue-print of their last album. Traces of the atmospheric attempts of Revelations of the Black Flame can be found throughout the album in the actual songs, such as the brief musical ambience prior to the closing of “Pandemonium War Bells” and during “The Devil of the Desert”, but is mostly incorporated into these short interludes. These little clips do work out in some sense if you approach them as a haunting introduction before a hellish madness begins, and it appears the deeper into Demonoir you get, the creepier the segments become. Either way, these still feel like a cosmetic addition with only “Tunnel of Set V” really having any overall impact on the enjoyment of the material. The only time this element seems to work against the music is some of the deep moaning during “Atomic Chapel”, which just sounds like it was done without enthusiasm and comes off a bit silly.

Demonoir is the 1349 album that Black Metal fans have truly been waiting for. This release showcases the band’s best abilities and really brings the band into a whole other light that is far more enjoyable then any of their past attempts, and even brings the band’s recent artistic side into a useful effect for some parts. With only the odd haunting moans of “Atomic Chapel” bringing any harm to the album, it’s safe to say that the band has finally started to grow in a positive aspect, only having to take an artsy, experimental downfall to find their way. If you have found the band’s previous material to be a little pretentious or overly repetitive, then Demonoir will be a warm, yet shocking, surprising change for you.

01. Tunnel of Set I – 1:05
02. Atomic Chapel – 6:25
03. Tunnel of Set II – 1:01
04. When I Was Flesh – 5:45
05. Tunnel of Set III – 0:40
06. Psalm 7:77 – 5:42
07. Tunnel of Set IV – 1:03
08. Pandemonium War Bells – 7:49
09. Tunnel of Set V – 1:16
10. The Devil of the Desert – 6:30
11. Tunnel of Set VI – 1:33
12. Demonoir – 6:19
13. Tunnel of Set VII – 3:53
Overall Score: 8.5/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Prosthetic Records.