1349 - _Liberation_
by: Pedro Azevedo (
If venomous, shrill black metal is not your thing, then you might as
well forget about 1349. Otheriwse, you are likely to feel at least
somewhat intrigued by the insanely fast drumming courtesy of
Satyricon's Frost (it really needs to be heard to be believed) and the
way _Liberation_ sometimes sounds like a mix of Ulver's black
masterpiece _Nattens Madrigal_ and Satyricon. The emotional charge is
not quite the same as that of the Ulver album, but the similarities
between the two go a bit deeper than the extremely harsh production:
the shredding guitars are by no means devoid of well thought-out riffs
and leads, and combine with the often almost disorienting speed of the
drum patterns to create a structure of considerable potential. If
guitars, vocals and drumming are all barbed wire, rusty razors and
machine gun fire, the more rocking Satyricon-like riffs and choruses
that occasionally surface (e.g. "Riders of the Apocalypse", "Legion")
help balance things somewhat. Make no mistake, however -- this is not
an easy album to like if you are used to bassy death metal or clean
melodic metal. The production is not such that the guitars or drums
are devoid of power, but it takes some getting used to before you can
enjoy all the technicality and fury on offer. Indeed, getting past the
production barrier opens up rewards in the shape of some great,
memorable guitar passages (e.g. "Manifest", "I Breathe Spears"), often
hysterically fast but impeccably tight drumming, and ultimately an
album that strikes the balance between uncompromising extremity and
musical enjoyment quite well -- much like Anaal Nathrakh have done
recently. _Liberation_ is definitely worth checking out if you can
handle its barbed wire.
(article published 10/27/2003)
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