Five years removed from 2014’s triumphant return to form in Massive Cauldron of Chaos, Norwegian Black Metal masters 1349 return with new offering The Infernal Pathway, out now on Season of Mist. And much like its predecessor, the latest album hits hard, it hits fast, and goes for the jugular every chance it gets. Don’t believe me? Fire up the opening track and full-on riff assault weapon “Abyssos Antithesis,” and see what I’m on about, okay? That type of riffage, courtesy of guitarist Archaon, is prevalent throughout the entire disc, and the solo on this particular number is hotter than Satan’s Hellfire! Frost’s blast beats and Seidemann’s bass provide the fuse for this stick of dynamite and they too can be heard everywhere.
All of that intensity and venom bleeds over into “Through Eyes of Stone”, everything you could possibly want in a Black Metal song. “Enter Cold Void Dreaming” features that dissonant guitar riffing we know all too well while “Towers Upon Towers” once again sets it selector switch to PUMMEL. Amid the heavy there is also an atmospheric feeling underneath the music with “Deeper Still,” while it also heads in a few different directions. “Striding the Chasm” is nothing short of brilliant from start to finish and it is without a doubt one of the best cuts found here. Be sure to pick your face up off the ground when it’s over, willya? And once again Archaon simply goes off come solo time!
“Dødskamp” is very melodic, but not at the expense of any heaviness. Ravn sounds positively evil, and I love that. The overall feeling is one of standing out in the frigid Norwegian winter, wind and snow whipping all around you, something my cold, black heart also loves. Closing the album is eight minute and change epic “Stand Tall In Fire,” which is another fantastic song on an album full of them. With every spin I found/find myself hitting REPEAT before I would start the whole thing over again. Simply a magnificent track and I hope to hear it live one day. All in all, I will definitely say this new record was totally worth the wait. Welcome back, 1349! It’s been too long, but you’ve unleashed The Infernal Pathway upon us, so all’s right with the world now.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Stand Tall In Fire”, “Striding the Chasm”, “Abyssos Antithesis”, “Dødskamp”, “Towers Upon Towers”