Review: 1914 -The Blind Leading The Blind 9

  • 1914
  • The Blind Leading The Blind
  • Blackened death/doom
  • Ukraine
  • 11th Nov 2018
  • 9/10

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This band certainly caught my attention and knew exactly how to exploit my curiosity. 1914 are a blackened death/doom band whose themes both lyrically and presentation wise deal with stories from World War One. This is their first LP after a series of minor releases and it is on Napalm Records! Home of bands such as Ahab, Conan, Candlemass and even Australian prog metallers Be’Lakor. I’m not surprised 1914 ended up there, this is a high quality product with some really compelling pieces of music and a really tight presentation of concept. Many metalheads may have missed this last year, so now’s a good time to fix that.

Love this album cover by Smerdulak. It does a really good job at conveying the senseless and automatic nature of groups of people. They’re setting up for war with fellow man and this mythic figure – Death – thrives in his natural element. The choice for WW1 as a theme here isn’t as simple as donning a pirate hat and calling it “pirate metal”. There’s actual exploration of ideas here from the emotional to the horrifying and they are paired with music apt at telling stories. They also come from a part of the world where that history has more importance, so it provides a sense of levity at times that feels authentic.

The vocals are pretty strong across the board, though the cleaner ones didn’t interest me quite as much as the grizzly depths of the growls and gurgles. The highlight of the record for me are the parts when they effectively build up to a peak – you’ll know what I mean when you hear what sounds like a musical call to action. It’s not as significant as Gabriel’s horn but it’s of a similar ilk in energy and delivery. They build around those key moments well.

The Blind Leading The Blind has good use of samples throughout the record. There’s a lot of good approximation of sounds from battle and the time in general, some pipes and horns. They tie in nicely to the soundscape of angry and chaotic doomy gloomy. “Hanging On The Barbed Wire” is a good example of ambient story telling, where it starts with soldiers drunken and cheerful in the night but is gradually overcome by subtle and foreboding sounds, twisting the moment into something tragic or terrifying as they are ambushed in safety. There’s a lot of references to several war movies contained within the lyrics, something any war buffs might want to take a read through.

It’s the sign of a good album when the first tracks are solid and contain the single, but then your favorite tracks are at the end of the album in these long form doom songs. I’d expect some massive things from 1914 in the future – they’ve got a great sound that often possesses the unique. Got to love the humorous end note of “War Out”, a play on the farewell phrase “Peace out”. If anything about this sounds cool to you then definitely get on it because it doesn’t disappoint. It manages to deliver on every front. Even the blackened aspect didn’t take on the form I was expecting.

This one’s still fresh.

9/10

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