Death Metal/Doom Metal
Archaic Sound/Redefining Darkness Records
After listening to Heavy Metal for many years, I have heard plenty of albums about war or conflicts with a political slant, but this is the first time I have found a concept band like the Ukrainian band 1914, who are totally immersed in themes about World War I. 1914 gives an astonishing history class about the fight that slaughtered millions of people over four years. 1914 does not defend any side, or any desire, from the countries that were involved. They just produced a soundtrack of this mass killing that presents a dark and depressing feeling of war.
The first song “War In” is a piece of a popular British song “Your King and Country Want You”, from Helen Clarke, used for recruitment at the beginning of the war. The happiness fades as soon as the “Arrival. The Meuse-Argonne” begins. This song starts powerful, fast and heavy, representing the first battles and the huge numbers of soldiers that died there. The lyrics change in the chorus from “I know what we are fighting for” to “What are we fighting for?” illustrating the soldiers’ desperation and confusion as the military death toll grew.
Although The band plays Death Metal like Bolt-Thrower, sometimes they play Doom or Black Metal parts, like Marduk. All of it combines to increase the dense feeling of sadness in the music.
The details in this album are the most impressive part. The band shows that they deeply study the armies, guns and historical facts surrounding WWI. For Example, the details 1914 present in the doomy song “A7V Mephisto,” a song about a German tank, the description of the tank, down to the gun caliber (Caliber 7.92), give a sense of the important role that weapon played in the war. Other songs catalog the various technological advances that led to the human devastation during the conflict.
1914 describes more than weapons. In “The Hundred Days Offensive” they describe a depressing scene of soldiers crying from the deaths of their enemies caused by their gas and bomb attacks. Some intros include military songs in a training camps giving a contemporary feeling of the war in the songs.
The album includes an Exploited Cover from “Beat the Bastards” and invited Dave Ingram (Benediction, Bolt Thrower) as a guest on “Passchenhell”. Although all the songs have a mix of fast Death Metal with doom parts and depressing melodies, none of the tracks beat the great song “C’est mon dernier pigeon”. The intro to this song is a humorous chat where soldiers are asked if they are ready to kill that turns into a totally killer track with a heavy chorus.
Musically, the band was able to produce a clean record that showcases the heavy guitars without hiding the excellent bass parts and the versatile drumming. The vocals are reminiscent of Dave Ingram but have their own identity.
The last song “War Out” is actually a Reinald Werrenrath song, “Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag,” another famous song from the time.
Along with the music, the overall album provides a scarring feeling about death., from the first look at the cover, that features the fourth horseman of apocalypse walking among the soldiers on the battle field.
The music itself presents a strange feeling about this mass killing that lead me to obsessively want to know more about this war. I really felt like there was an obscure power feeding this killing desire about WWI.
“The Blind Leading the Blind” is one of the most impressive albums that I heard in my life and probably the most difficult one that I reviewed so far. 1914 was able to make me feel all the pain and suffering that a war can cause and it is possible to affirm that we have a masterpiece album.