Massive Cauldron of Chaos is the upcoming sixth album from Norwegian black metal horde 1349. After the backlash towards the experimental fourth album Revelations of the Black Flame, they went back to their black metal roots for Demonoir and continue that approach for the new album in a solid slab of traditional black metal.
While the album isn’t as chaotic as the title might suggest, clearly falling in the black metal style, it certainly sounds massive. One can’t deny the talent that’s in the band and when you combine the pounding drums of the legendary Frost with the guitar work of the talented Archaon you have the making of a massive wall of black metal sound. Taking more than a pinch of thrash influence with some of those chunky riffs, particularly on Slaves, but applying the heaviness of black metal to the guitar tone makes for a great sound throughout. The riffs are varied from in your face chunky thrashy riffs to tremolo picked barbarisms and even a dose of groove every now and then, but all at a pace of a thousand miles an hour, making it intense throughout. Perhaps even more impressive is the lead guitar, those fast placed thrashy solos twist through the fretboard at breakneck speed and are just as intense as the great riffs – they’re really exciting to listen to. Behind the sticks the genius of Frost is ever present, from the walls of lightning fast blasts, to the unexpected tempo changes, and the inventiveness of his fills. it’s just a typically perfect performance that rarely relents. Complimented by the way the bass rumbles away with the sound of a massive cauldron under it all, you have a thick aggressive sound throughout from a black metal band that just spits aggression and attitude. When it comes to Ravn’s vocals they are good, if not spectacular, sounding a little like Immortal’s Abbath in his rasp, but unfortunately other than on Godslayer where he really let’s loose, his vocals just can’t match up to the intensity of the music. It’s by no means a bad performance, but it could have been less restrained at times.
And at under forty minutes there’s no filler to be had, though the best track has to be the brilliant Slaves with the superb thrashy edge, but the speedy Postmortem and the riff-fest of Godslayer with it’s ferocious screams are phenomenal too. The production is rather clean, all the instruments are well produced and there’s none of the rawness that sometimes comes of black metal, but that’s no downside. With the guitar and drum performances being as pummellingly heavy as they are the massive tone achieved combined with a great balanced mix means it all just sounds superb.
Ultimately Massive Cauldron of Chaos doesn’t offer anything particularly new to the black metal template, but it’s a solid album of well written songs with a great performance from all concerned and has to go down as a success. Fans of riff heavy thrashy black metal will find a lot to like here and it’s going to be talked about for a while to come.
Massive Cauldron of Chaos is released on 29th September via Indie Recordings
Catch 1349 on tour in November: