1349 is a band that has flown under the radar for years now, despite having one of the most skilled drummers in the world - Frost of SATYRICON fame. Even their Norwegian brethren KEEP OF KALESSIN have grown more popular than these blast masters. While 1349 turned off a large percentage of their fan base with the experimental Revelations of the Black Flame album, Demonoir returns to proper form with unrelenting, ugly black metal, the way it’s supposed to be. As with Revelations of the Black Flame, Demonoir features ambient tracks, but the ambient passages on this album should be looked at as completely separate “music” from the actual songs. This works to 1349’s advantage as the flip flop of ambient tracks and regular songs breaks up the speed and intense battery of Frost’s hellfire to avoid the monotonous blast formula as evidenced on some MARDUK releases. Demonoir consists of seven ambient parts which alone make up an amazing horror soundtrack, as well as the six actual songs to assault the ears with. “Atomic Chapel” starts the chaos with blazing double bass and blasts reminiscent of Hellfire with SATYRICON riffs thrown in. The intense non-stop blast fest of “When I Was Flesh” pushes speed and beats per minute (bpm) to the limit before peaking with “Psalm 7:77,” which incorporates a thrashy main riff, insane drum fills, and can be best described as “controlled chaos.” Hints of Beyond the Apocalypse and Hellfire can be found in “Pandemonium War Bells,” but these riffs still sound fresh and Frost’s use of the high hat and ride cymbals are best heard when listened to at maximum volume. “The Devil of the Deserts” shows where SATYRICON would be if they continued with the style of writing as witnessed on Nemesis Divina - great riffs, balanced with the brutal machine gun blastbeat attack is definitely not for the faint of heart. Although the piano piece is oddly placed at the end of the track, it creates an atmosphere fitting to lead into the last track, “Demonoir.” The final opus slows down the pace, and takes the approach of latter SATYRICON-era riffs – the simplistic yet heavy riffing that would make even Satyr jealous.
Demonoir can be characterized as the typical fast Norwegian black metal album, but 1349 is still underrated and underappreciated in the extreme metal circuit. As always, the best part of 1349’s albums is the fury that Frost unleashes, and unlike being told what drum beats to play, like for the OV HELL project, he doesn’t hold back this time around. Demonoir is uncompromising, raw, with no pretty melodies, and anyone opposed to that style should stay clear of this brilliant piece of work. (Prosthetic Records)