I waited on tenterhooks last year for 1349’s new album, not really knowing what to expect. 2010’s Demonoir was not as well received amongst fans longing for the more traditional feel of the band’s older material, instead channeling the industrial-tinged black metal that was popular for a while. Massive Cauldron of Chaos, or MCoC, retains an industrial feel in some of the rhythmic techniques, but without compromising any of the sheer force that 1349 is known for.
The industrial tinge to the rhythm sections, in terms of meter as well as percussive elements in the drums and guitars, are readily apparent on “Exorcism” and “Post-Mortem.” In particular, “Post-Mortem” creates an unusual blend of styles, as it likewise is one of the most old-school feeling tracks on the album. Along with “Slaves Shall Serve,” it goes far towards assuring listeners that the 1349 they remember is back and more brutal than ever.
Once again, long-time black metal god Frost is behind the drumkit, exhibiting strong control in the albums more odd and shifting parts, and completely tearing shit up in others. “Golem” provides an excellent example of the latter; clocking in at 1:39, its pace is dizzying in its ferocity. Likewise, “Slaves” is mind-blowing in its showcasing of Frost’s talent. Of course, that’s not to say that the legendary drummer is only good for non-stop pummeling. “Chained” sees a much slower tempo put into effect, and “Godslayer” features military-esque drums at the beginning of the track.
MCoC’s guitars are another of the album’s enjoyable features. With tremolo picking reminiscent of Immortal’s mid-era work and the occasional surprise solo, MCoC never strays from its roots while always keeping interesting. The ending of “Godslayer” is particularly melodic and triumphant, ending the album on a great note. And of course, you can’t ever go wrong with a cover of Possessed’s “The Heretic.”
The album artwork is also fun, as it’s white, an artistic move reminiscent of Immortal’s Battles in the North. Although the traditionally black and white low-fi album covers is a trend that has long been broken, the starkness of the cover and its professional-looking red trim is a far cry from the Darkthrone-inspired cover of Beyond the Apocalypse. The image in the center of the cover is really gnarly-looking in a appropriately chaotic design that reminds me of the artwork on Teitanblood’s first album.
Massive Cauldron of Chaos is a huge win for a Norwegian black metal scene that increasingly seems to be overshadowed by third-wave giants Sweden and France. Innovative and uncompromising, this is a brilliant feather in 1349’s cap, and proof that True Norwegian Black Metal still lives.
REVIEW BY: Hagalaz
Find out more at ALLHEAVYMETAL.NET