Perhaps no longer the most brutal black metal act around, the Norwegian juggernauts known as 1349 still pack a mean punch. Their latest effort for Season of Mist, Cauldron of Chaos, sees the bands sound continuing to refine itself, though the massive pummeling attack that 1349 has always been known for is ever present.
The evil vocals of Ravn are fairly distinguishable this time around, as the singer spews his venom on the crushing opener "Cauldron", a real gem of a black metal ripper that brings the band close to territory occupied by the great Inquisition. Frost's relentless blasting is all over the manic "Slaves", and Archaon's absolutely monstrous riffing takes "Postmortem" and "Mengele's" to near thrash metal realms. That's really the key throughout Cauldron of Chaos, the band not afraid to take some chances and deliver their brand of furious black metal with elements of thrash as well as technical death metal at times...and it really works. There are some fabulous grooves from Frost and bassist Seidemann on the churning "Chained", and "Godslayer" features some of the most intense, weaving, undulating arrangements you'll hear on a black metal release this year.
Cauldron of Chaos is quite simply a killer set of extreme metal from veterans 1349, as they once again prove why they have been one of the most respected and beloved bands on the black metal scene for so many years.