While all the big, influential Norwegian black metal bands have graduated to a different echelon, a small sect of bands have continued to thrive in their “abscence” by sticking to the code of true black metal. 1349 may not be as familiar as DARKTHRONE and GORGOROTH, but they have made a name for themselves recently with three impressive albums in as many years. Their keen ability to channel that same vicious Satanic savagery as said bands is 1349‘s gleaming essence. APESHIT spoke with guitarist Archaon on the band’s emergence and role in carrying the “real” black metal torch into the new millenium.
APESHIT: Three quality albums in three years is quite a feat. How have you guys kept the productivity of high quality music going? Do you guys feel like you are in a “zone?”
ARCHAON: We are in no other zone than our own zone–meaning that we will release another album when it is ready. The fact that we have released three records with just a year in between, has its reasons. When we had recorded Liberation in February/March 2001, we had problems with the label we were on at the time, and we had to break out and find another one. This is why the album was released over two years later, in 2003.
By that time, we had most of the material ready for Beyond the Apocalyspe, and thus we were able to release the second album just a year after Liberation. Also carrying on working intensively, we had Hellfire ready one-and-a-half years later. However, a new 1349 album will not be released in 2006.
APESHIT: Hellfire sounds like your most confident and solid release to date. How do you guys feel about the growth of the band since Beyond the Apocalypse?
ARCHAON: There have been more and more gigs, and of course one grows on every step one takes, composition-wise as well as playing-wise. So there has been a tremendous growth since Liberation, and even since Beyond the Apocalypse. But we are still extremely proud of each of the three albums, and Hellfire is definitely our strongest album to this date.
APESHIT: The title track on Hellfire is quite a standout song on the album not only for its length (13:49) but its building volcanic intensity. Can you describe how the song came about? Was is tough writing a song that long?
ARCHAON: Actually, I wasn’t a part of writing the material for that song. It was written by Frost, Seidemann, and Tjalve. But I do know how the length ended up to be that long. It was simply because when we were in the studio mixing the bastard, it turned out to be 13:20 long by pure coincidence. When we saw that, it was clear to us that some flames and screaming had to be added…and bang! There it was–13:49 long.
APESHIT: 1349 seems to be carrying the torch of the first waves of Norwegian black metal that took the world by storm. You guys are definitely keeping the pure spirit of black metal alive and well. Do you guys see this as a responsibility that you have consciously taken up?
ARCHAON: It is a great compliment to hear that, for sure. We are most definitely performing black metal, although with new impulses and a bit of new blood to it. The history of black metal is strong, and we are proud of carrying that banner high. It is (in my eyes) one out of a few interesting categories within metal today…and then I mean metal. I see it as part of our mission to continue this evolution.
APESHIT: You guys definitely have an old school black metal feel but with a fresh and original approach. What is your vision for 1349’s style and feel? Do you ever fathom incorporating other influences?
ARCHAON: Your reference to us seems in accordance with the way I see us. Not only are we “real” black metal, but hopefully we’ve succeeded in bringing it into the new millenium with our musical crusade. When that is said, we do listen to other kinds of music, so there’s plenty of influences all together incorporated into black metal the way we want it to sound.
APESHIT: Who do you consider to be your peers?
ARCHAON: DARKTHRONE, BURZUM, MAYHEM, CARCASS, MORBID ANGEL, and many more. Have you heard the NIDINGR album released last year? Fucking awesome, man. And
's debut... There's been a couple of good ones in the past years.
APESHIT: What is the possibility that you'll include guest singer/musicians on future releases?
Well, as a matter of fact we are looking into the idea for the next album. But we won't reveal that yet, and we still have to see how it works out. If if will increase the atomosphere/quality of a specific piece, we don't have anything against doing that.
APESHIT: Frost plays an integral part in 1349's sound. How involved is he in the songwriting? He obviously has a lot of experience having played over 10 years in Satyricon.
ARCHAON: Frost participated to a great extent on Hellfire. He was involved in "Sculptor of Flesh". He wrote everything apart from the opening riff on "To Rottendom" as well as the amazing end of the title-track, "Hellfire". It has always been myself and Tjalve that has written most of the stuff, but this time around, both Frost and Seidemann came up with some good material.
APESHIT: All the track listings on the albums start with the number 11. What is the reason behind that?
ARCHAON: Because the tree of life has two sides with given numerical values: 1-10 is on the light side, while 11-20 is on the dark side.
APESHIT: Besides Frost, do you the other members play in other bands/projects? If so, can you describe how they sound?
ARCHAON: Seidmann does play in PANTHEON I besides 1349, together with our ex-guitarist Tjalve.
APESHIT: American photographer, Peter Beste, has done work with you as part of his Norwegian black metal photography project. How did he get in touch with the band? What was it like working with him?
ARCHAON: The guy really got some fantastic shots taken. He clearly knows what he is doing. There are no concrete plans as far as another session, but we'd have nothing against that. Peter is a pro and generates great results.
APESHIT: You guys have done several tours and festivals in Europe. Are there any plans to come over to the U.S. in the near future? 1349 and CELTIC FROST in 2006?
ARCHAON: That is right. We are coming over to support legendary CELTIC FROST on the first leg of their US tour this autumn. This is something we're really looking forward to, especially as we were supposed to play in New York in May, which had to be cancelled. We're looking forward to making it up for this, as well as coming over to the audience that is completely new to us as of now.
APESHIT: Thank you very much for the interview! We are big fans and are looking for ways help promote you guys. Best of luck!
ARCHAON: Thanks to you for the interview. Hail Satan!