1914 – Where Fear And Weapons Meet
Release Date: 22/10/2021
Running Time: 01:03:27
Review by Victor Augusto
In November of 2018, about 100 years after the end of WWI, I was inside an aircraft, crossing the ocean, travelling from Brazil to work for 5 days in Sweden, in something related to military training. During this long flight, I had a new album (at that time) from a band who had released it on exactly the same day as the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI. Of course, I had absolutely no idea of all these details when I heard that album. The only thing I was assured of is that I had one of the best albums ever to review.
1914! For me, they’re the best band to have appeared in the last 10 years. I dare myself to affirm another thing about them, but I will save my words for the end of this review. My special connection with the band was not only caused by my love for their music. My review of this 2018 release, “The Blind Leading the Blind”, was the review I showed to Ever Metal when I wished to be part of this team, and it worked! And now I am very happy that I get to review this latest album. So, let’s enter this journey of mass killing to understand (or try) this next masterpiece from these Ukrainian musicians.
First, it is historical. If you enjoy history full of details, here is your place. Calibers, hill codifications, and everything from this war are perfectly explained by 1914’s music. After ‘War In’* I could notice something symphonically on ‘FN .380 ACP#19074’ and again, if you like to know details, you will understand what I am talking about. The band commented about this track; “This track marks the beginning of the entire conflict – the assassination of Franz Ferdinand – the event that triggered the conflict that had been brewing for the last 10 years. The royal houses of Europe wanted this war, it was inevitable – technical progress, territorial claims and dissatisfaction of people led to this. And so, the Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip fired the shots that launched the process. Two shots from a .380 ACP FN Model 1910 pistol numbered 19074, which changed the world forever, collapsed large empires and killed tens of millions of people.” (Information taken from the band’s official video of FN .380 ACP#19074).
Secondly, this is a narrative of suffering. If you realize that every song is a piece of history, you will also realize that these histories are being told from the perspective of those who lived there. As a consequence, the feeling passed on by the band’s music is pure suffering. The music offers a depressive and aggressive atmosphere whilst the vocalist Ditmar Kumarberg interprets all this pain. There are samples of military chatting and sounds of explosions or people screaming alongside the tracks, which increases this feeling. I believe ‘Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines)’** highlights what I just said, especially when Ditmar sounds like he’s gasping for air or suffocating when he is singing. It is like he is holding back tears after seeing all the mass killings described in this track.
Thirdly, it feels like there are biblical references. This third aspect maybe just my impression. Lyrically, there is nothing exactly biblical, just the telling history of many battles, killings, and pain. The previous album “The Blind Leading the Blind” has already had a huge biblical reference in its cover art. There, Death (The horseman) was leading the soldiers to the war, and consequently to their graves. If you’ve ever heard about a painting called The Blind Leading the Blind you will know that it is a parable to the Gospel of Matthew. For this album, the band said that the focus is not only death but the soldiers who survived, too. The cover art here has Death again, but like he is giving back the chance of living to a military man. The Symphonic elements in a few tracks also enforce my impression of the biblical nature here. I guess it could be related to the Seven Trumpets from the Book of Revelation. If we analyze a war with this dimension, maybe it is the Apocalypse from a different perspective.
The fourth aspect of this album is blind faith being as equal as blind nationalism/patriotism. If we are talking about biblical references, blind faith is present in many wars started because of religion, and it still happens. Is blind patriotism similar to blind faith? The lyric of the acoustic song ‘Coward’ starts with “My father said – son, your country needs you”. There are many references in 1914’s music to people who support the war caused by their love for their countries. This track has Sasha Boole singing with no heavy guitars or drums. It is like a Jethro Tull song, but narrating all those who died from a squad. At the end of this beautiful (musically) song, he repeats “My father said – son, your country needs you”.
So far, I mentioned four aspects I noticed about 1914. Musically, they still play brutal Death Metal or Blackened Death Metal. For this album, the mix has the punch of the guitars from Liam Fessen and Walter Wyhovsky a bit lower than before. Probably to open space for the new elements like the symphonic addition, but the heaviness is still extremely high. Rostislaw Potoplacht keeps playing very strong and fast on his drum. He also has Armin d’Harcourt complementing his work with an astonishing bass work.
The essence of what they created on the past albums are still here even with these minor changes on their sonority. This time, the space was opened to many guests like Nick Holmes on ‘…And a Cross Now Marks His Place’. I feel that they are fitting their brutality to something accessible to Heavy Metal listeners. “Where Fear And Weapons Meet” is not completely Death Metal, nor Black Metal. Instead of being so extreme in only one genre, I get the impression that the band looked for a balance between Death, Black, and Symphonic/Melodic elements. The theme of real things also helps to create something more interesting, instead of just repeating all that dated stuff that most bands talk about.
It is almost impossible to describe all the details and history in this album without transforming this review into something as extended as the Old Testament from the bible. So, I do recommend you take the time to listen to the album and check the lyrics (available on streaming services). To make my “War out” of this review, I dare to affirm that 1914 are the most likely band to make a big break into the mainstream in the next 10 years. They are offering something brilliant and new. If they keep surprising their listeners and if they work with good professionals and labels, I know they will reach it.
Вітаємо з виходом найкращого альбому 2021 року!
*’War In’ is the original of the most famous Serbian song of the Great War period, “Tamo Daleko”. Like World War I, the album begins in Serbia and continues on the first track from the perspective of Gavrilo Prinzip, who assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on June 28th, 1914 in Sarajevo and caused the outbreak of World War I.
** Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines) “This song describes the terrible events of the Battle of the Messines Ridge during June 7-14, 1917 in Belgium, one of the most insane episodes of the Great War. Subjects of the British crown and ANZACS dug huge tunnels under the German positions, packed them with hundreds of tons of explosives and blew them up. In one second, in just one moment about 10,000 people have died. They were simply torn to pieces. The human brain is always subject to non-trivial approaches to killing each other. The title of the track is a direct reference to the wonderful book by Jan Passingham – ‘Pillars of Fire: The Battle of the Messines Ridge’, also the movie ‘Beneath Hill 60’, and memories of the participants of this event. Some eyewitnesses described the scene as “pillars of fire”, although many also acknowledged this was indescribable.”
‘Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines)’ Official Video
01. War In
02. FN .380 ACP#19074
03. Vimy Ridge (In Memory of Filip Konowal)
04. Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines)
05. Don’t Tread on Me (Harlem Hellfighters)
06. Coward (feat. Sasha Boole)
07. …And a Cross Now Marks His Place (feat. Nick Holmes)
08. Corps d’autos-canons-mitrailleuses (A.C.M)
09. Mit Gott für König und Vaterland
10. The Green Fields of France
11. War Out
9. Westpreußisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 176, Hptm. Ditmar Kumarberg – Vocals
The 51st Highland Division, 1/9th Bn. 2Lt. Liam Fessen – Guitars
307th Infantry Regiment, Capt. Walter Wyhovsky – Guitars
Le 151e regiment d’infanterie, Cne. Armin d’Harcourt – Bass
K.K. Landwehr-Infanterieregiment Lemberg Nr.19, Obltn. Rostislaw Potoplacht – Drums
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