1349 - Dødskamp - (2.5/10)
Published on May 25, 2019
There’re a lot of bands that have survived the heyday of the Norwegian second wave of black metal. Surely we all know the big’uns- Mayhem, Emperor, Immortal, Darkthrone, Gorgoroth, Enslaved, etc.- but there’re also other bands that don’t get as much traction, and yet were still a part of that infamous movement. Groups like Thorns, Limbonic Art, and Strid soldier on, in some form or another. One of those bands, formed around the time when the scene was petering out, is 1349.
1349 are, if anything, just a pure black metal band who seem to reuse the same template over and over. They’ve managed to stay active since 1997, and no one really seems to be complaining. At least not out loud. This latest release, Dødskamp, is their first since 2014’s single, Tornado (a Voivod cover for their contribution to Decibel’s Flexi Disc series). Given it’s been, what, five years since we’ve heard from them, I can say that the absence was… okay, I didn’t notice they’d been gone. 1349 aren’t one of the better practitioners of the genre, with their discography being bland in many regards. They haven’t done a whole lot in terms of variation, which, I theorize, has worked against them in recent years.
And after all these years, Dødskamp doesn’t promise a whole lot in terms of a return. Here are two tracks, the new title track, and a live version of Atomic Chapel from their Demonoir album. Listed as an EP, this really is a mere single. The title track is… fine? It feels so similar to everything else from 1349. The song itself isn’t written badly, but the law of diminishing returns has seriously kicked in here. I can’t say that it’s technically a bad song. I also can’t say that it’s worth plunking down the cash for essentially a single. As for the live track, it’s fine. Demonoir is a decent album, nothing amazing, and Atomic Chapel is one of the better songs from it. Some songs, fortunately, hit harder when played live, and I have to admit, it does sound better here.
What else do I even say here? I guess I should just say that I’m giving a low score for the absolute lack of content, and then selling it as an EP. This isn’t an EP, it’s a single, and not very good one. The actual music here is just… mediocre, at least by black metal standards. Not even worth the four bucks, unless you’re some kind of 1349 completion. For the die-hard-to-a-fault fans only.