1349 @ Camden Underworld, London

19th November 2014
Review by Ben Spencer
Videos cutesy of  Oliver Manso

1349 @ Camden Flyer
After wrapping up some insightful interviews with two of the band’s playing tonight, Ethereal [3.5/5] enter the stage in a timely manner and unleash their symphonic slab of Black Metal to the gathering crowds.

The ferocity barges onward with high pitched shrieks, sonic driven riffs and tight sounding drum work that had the audience nodding along in approval.

The eerie sounds of ‘Bloodstained Matyr’ build gradually, enticing the crowd, before launching into a metallic assault of speedy guitars and blood soaked rasps. Meanwhile, ‘Unholy Ungodly’ remains one of the band’s strongest offerings as the chaotic drum work and symphonic grandeur compliment each other flawlessly. The band also showcase their impressive use of solos as the lead guitar sections elevate the their sound to new heights as a mosh pit begins to stir from the gathered crowd.

Ethereal are one of those band’s that come with a vast amount of potential with their dark sounding textures and well refined aggression. With a highly anticipated debut album on the horizon, you can expect to be hearing a lot more from them in the near future. They were indeed a great band to set pulses racing for tonight’s onslaught of Black Metal.

After a promising start to the evening, expectations dissipated fairly quickly within the opening minutes of the misplaced second band Atena [1/5].
Right from the outset of growls and the riffs, their music had fans walking away in disappointment as their angst driven metalcore failed to captivate the venue.

As the stage area emptied and the bar began to fill up, the predictable formula of their songs quickly fell flat with a combination of lifeless growls and generic guitar work. The band did have a strong stage presence with their constant emphasis toward jumping around, it was just a shame that the same thing couldn’t be said about the actual songs themselves.

Towards the end of their set the band turn their backs to the crowd and collapsed to their knees as the sound effects of a baby crying could be heard which seemed to mirror the general feelings felt toward them. It was that bad.

While these guys were definitely the weakest addition to the bill, they certainly seemed to be convicted in what they do, it was just a shame no one else seemed to be on the same page. Perhaps they would have sounded more formidable on a bill with bands of the same nature. However, tonight they remained something of an undesirable addition to what was a solid start to the gig.

As the light’s dim down and the Norwegian Black Metal champions 1349 [4.5/5] assume positions on stage.
The night was quickly redeemed as the gritty sounding guitars of ‘Maggot Fetus…Teeth Like Thorns’ carves a destructive path in its wake. The guttural vocals and consistent drum work maintain momentum throughout as the band’s loyal following raise horns skyward as the blast beats erupt with full vitality.

Next up, the savage sounding ‘Sculpture of Flesh’ came with a complex array of drum work, technical riffs and heavy drum pounds. The relentless pace of the track glided along with ease as a mosh pit broke out within the opening minutes of it’s chaos.

What became quickly evident from the band’s performance was their dedication to their craft as their devoted followers remained at the forefront of the stage with raised firsts and several crowd surfers proceeding over them.

‘Chasing Dragons’ remained a strong contender for one of the band’s strongest offerings, with a tight sounding drum attack and speedy guitar work remaining at the front line of the vocalist’s vicious sounding narrative.
Meanwhile, their newer material such as ‘Exorcism’ proved to be equally as formidable. As the sinister sounding guitar grooves and double kick pedals carry everything forward. Weighty and full of anguish, the band show signs of diluting their sound anytime soon as the crowd nod along in approval to the abysmal sound.

The exhilarating ride of ‘Atomic Chapel’ swept over the venue with cathartic guitars and deeper sounding shrieks, showcasing 1349’s density and violence to that of the highest order. The vocalist really shined here, with a greater range of shrieks and tortured sounding snarls that remained entitely distinctive throughout.

Serving up one final dose of destruction, ‘Cauldron’ races ahead with energetic riffs and consistent drumming. The pace is matched as vocalist plunges the elated crowd into one final descent of darkness, leaving the crowd utterly awestruck.

Without a doubt, 1349 were not only the strongest band on tonight’s bill but they were also a prime example of how powerfully the early sound of Black Metal still resonates today. What’s more is that these guys are a band whose newer songs not only lives up to their earlier material, they are also able to hold their own as memorable classics that will no doubt be looked back on in the same way in years to come. Their style is one that remains as uncompromising as their set, marking it as by far one of the best performances of 2014.

Setlist:

1. Maggot Fetus… Teeth Like Thorns
2. Sculptor of Flesh
3. I Am Abomination
4. Slaves
5. Chasing Dragons
6. Pandemonium War Bells
7. Postmortem
8. Riders of the Apocalypse
9. Exorcism
10. Serpentine Sibilance
11. Atomic Chapel
12. Golem
13. Cauldron

 

 

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