Review: 1914 “The Blind Leading The Blind” [Redefining Darkness Records/Archaic Sound]

Review: 1914 “The Blind Leading The Blind” [Redefining Darkness Records/Archaic Sound]

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Today 1914 is one of the most impressive Ukrainian bands. Deep immersion in the theme of WWI (which has already grown from just a hobby to something bigger), visual performance, symbolism and of course the music: an intertwining of Doom, Death and Black Metal. This makes a stunning result in total and literally dissolves the listener in the music. The band’s new album The Blind Leading The Blind is also ready to stun and dissolve.

While Marduk indistinctly yells something about victories, 1914 in the same form but much more persuasively shows another side of war: not the marches in slightly uniform, but dirt, blood and distress. The album’s artwork, an allusion for eponymous Peter Bruegel the Elder’s painting, shows it in a best way: blind soldiers from different countries follow after death.

An album contains 11 tracks. Like its predecessor Eschatology OF War here we got here an intro “War In”, epilogue “War Out” and eight songs. Plus one extremely cynical soldiers’ song of those years; however in that war there were many things have happened, so cynicism is quite light reaction on what happens.

Musically, as I mentioned, The Blind Leading The Blind is an intertwining of Doom, Black and Death Metal. Of course, musicians can be easily blamed for triviality, for they did not bring something new to music, but it’s unlikely that they set themselves such a tusk. There are no some abrupt transitions between the genres, music is woven seamlessly and has very heavy. Guitar riffs moving from machine gun to howitzer and back. Drumming is off the charts too: it’s dense, fast paced with energetic delivery. The quantity of blast beats and double pedals time to time create doubts that drummer is a human being and not some Death Metal machine. Unfortunately I can’t pick out vocals for something outstanding but on the other hand it fits the music so I can’t say something bad as well. However, you can hear a Death Metal legend David Ingram in “Passchenhell”.

Well matched songs of those years, especially propagandistic “Your King And Country Wants You” and quotes from old black and white movies add an atmosphere to an album. They also help to put all the songs in a whole picture: arrival of recruits to front, grime of trenches, first battles, cynicism that somehow helps to protect yourself from surrounding hell and finally – moral devastation without any hope. A striking example for it is an epic ten minutes song “The Hundred Days Offensive”: started with heartrending monologue from 1930 movie “All Quiet on the Western Front” with acoustic guitar riff, the song becomes heavier and with changing mood for a couple of times it turns to one big cry of soldier. It’s a moral agony, when everything is lost, including human face, but it still not clear for what reason.

And you know, maybe years later this album will stand on one shelf (or rather will be in one folder or cloud) with lost generation trilogy: “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Remarque, “A Farewell To Arms” by Hemingway and “Death Of A Hero” by Aldington. If there will be someone to put, of course.

The Blind Leading The Blind will be released evenly in hundred years after WWI end: 11 November, 2018 via Redefining Darkness Records (North/South America) and Archaic Sound (Europe).

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