@ The Underworld, Camden
19th November, 2014
Review by Caitlin Smith
Photos by Oliver M.
It may have been 3 years since infamous black metal band 1349 spread their plague ridden offerings across UK soil, but they have certainly not been forgotten. Despite being a school night for most, the underworld seemed rife with a scourge of black metal fans packing into Underworld for a night of Norwegian darkness.
It seems hard to miss Liverpudlian black metalers Ethereal [4/5] on the London scene these days, and that is by no means a bad thing.
Having been active for over 10 years now, its not been till a revised line-up last year that the band really started to gain speed.
The past year has seen some serious line-ups for the band; landing themselves sets at both Eastern Front’s launch show and a slot at Candlefest.
Just a year on, Ethereal may not have released their new album yet, but they are already gathering a following with their live performance that is reflected in the audience that night as the stage begins to fill.
Right from the start we are thrown into an assault of sound that emulates from the stage. Grand symphonic gestures are racked with shrieks from vocalist Naut and chaotic drum lines from Mordrath.
Matching blackened aggression with melodic lines, the band may have a distinctly traditional sound, but manage to bring it to the stage in a fresh and interesting form.
It’s a change of pace as second act Atena [1/5] take to the stage. While throwing in a change of pace may work well with some line-ups, the drastic difference between this 5-piece and the other bands. Describing themselves as djent inspired experimental metal, their sound has a way of separating people, there is no in between, you either love it, or you hate it. This was readily reflected in the audience as the bar area began to fill, while a few hardcore fans made their way to front of the stage to enjoy the set.
Opening for the headliners on their UK tour, this band had obviously made an impression with 1349 frontman Ravn who picked them out for the tour. While the band themselves evidently put a lot of passion into what they play pulling out an energetic stage show, this was not reflected in the music which fell flat compared to the opening band.
As the set went on, the stage began to clear and the bar slowly packed out as the crowd began to vote with their feet. The issue was simply this: they were the wrong band with the wrong set for the wrong night.
Finally, as the lights dim and the music rose, the darkened figures of 1349 [4/5] appear onstage. Despite an extensive 17-year career and 6 studio albums, the band remains a staple of any collection for any fan of the genre.
Returning tonight on the back of their latest album Massive Cauldron of Chaos, the band opened with savage classics ‘Maggot Fetus… Teeth like Thorns,’ ‘Sculptor of Flesh’ and ‘I am Abomination,’ moving into groove based tracks ‘Exorcism,’ ‘Golem’ and ‘Cauldron’ from the latest album to close the set.
While the aesthetics are all part of this bands performance, nothing detracts from the quality of the music.
That’s what makes 1349 so successful as a band, the music may always takes centre stage, but they are also performers who genuinely seem to enjoy what they do and love to bring their music to the audience.
This love was mirrored by the crowd as an army of crowd-surfers swept over the audience while others crushed to the front, fists raised and hair flying.
With both the newer songs and older classics holding their own place in that night, 1349 truly go down as a band that can stand the test of time.
While some may argue that traditional black metal is dead, they have proved tonight that it still pulses freely in the underground.
Maggot Fetus… Teeth Like Thorns
Sculptor of Flesh
I Am Abomination
Pandemonium War Bells
Riders of the Apocalypse