Written by: EW on 10/03/2012 18:13:39

Perhaps the truest remaining purveyors today of the original rebellious Norwegian black metal spirit, 1349 have always had an element of the oddball about them, a facet which makes them thoroughly enterprising to listen to as source of blackened delight. "Demonoir" was a 2010 release but this box set reissue was released at the tail-end of 2011 with a selection of live and cover tracks tacked on to the end. As ever we are here for the original recording though and a very different beast it is to the last time I reviewed them on 2009's "Revelations of the Black Flame".

With each 'proper' track interspersed by short atmospheric interludes (entitled "Tunnel Of Set - I" and so on), their hypnotic speed appears amplified and increased as it seems the bowels of hell are emptied on your poor ears when attempting to progress through the record's 49 minutes. The mid-way point through "Atomic Chapel" sets the precedence when it bursts from a chamber of mid-paced chords and piano into a seething cauldron of blastbeats and super-charged riffs. Through "When I Was Flesh" (a track qualified to enter the 100m Olympics sprint final), "Psalm 7:77" and "Pandemonium War Bells" the true spirit of 1349 is unearthed as Ravn lets forth a deep croak and Frost hammers incessantly his kit in support of Archaon and Seidemann's strings. There is little in the way of diversity once 1349 let loose as they do through these but the industrial harshness of the riffs spat out from the furnace are a lesson in black metal nihilism and a necessary catch point separated from the mechanical pummelling being produced by Frost.

The brooding atmospheric pieces in contrast provide welcome respite and in their darkly majesty offer more than just simple diversity for the sake of it (a trap often capturing many extreme metal bands). The title-track as the last track proper stands alone as a modestly-paced traveller amongst the sea of carnage in which it sits and what is a gentle closure to an album that has simply battered and blasted it's way through.

Covers of Morbid Angel, Exodus, Bauhaus and Possessed plus three live versions of "Demonoir" tracks make up the bonus section on what is not only a much healthier and positive release than 2009's but one of the most vicious BM records reviewed on here in some time. Mind the health warning though: it's repetitive hyper-speed attack is not for the initiated however...


Download: When I Was Flesh, Pandemonium War Bells
For The Fans Of: Gorgoroth, Marduk, Dark Funeral
Listen: Myspace

Release date 07.10.2011 (originally: 26.04.2010)
Indie Recordings

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