Sound — 6
1349 have accumulated quite a lot of prestige from the fans, and rightly so since they have an aura of mystique abut them. But 1349 are not just riling up the Hordes of Black Metal fans by giving themselves a name inspired by the outbreak of the plague in the mid 14th century or by brandishing maces and sword. No. From time to time 1349 seemed to be progressing from the usual black metal band. And then came Demonoir. Indeed Demonoir is a far cry from the previous, ambient album, Revelations of the Black Flame.At the first listen-through I was genuinely impressed.Y ou will hear chaotic riffs consisting of rapid chord-pedal tone progressions and enormous hooks of tremolo picking, in fact you could describe "The Devil of The Desert" as "brutal black metal". Alas, the bewitchment was short and on the third listen-through it was painfully clear that Demonoir was actually only just above the average BM release.The brutality quickly changes places with boredom, brought on by unimaginative riffs and long sections of nothing really happening.In fact not one of the songs on the album truly justifies their respective lengths(the shortest of the non ambient songs is 5:42 long, the rest are around 6 to 7 minutes long). "The Tunnel Of Set I-VII" are ambient tracks which separate the songs from each other, as a concept they are a nice addition to an album suffering from a lack of concept.
Lyrics — 7
One of the few saving graces of 1349's Demonoir are the vocals, which are lower than the usual black metal style. The vocals are even clearly audible in the mix, unfortunately even today that's a rarity black metal-wise.The band should also be credited for breaking the lyrical code of Satan-Darkness-Jesus once in a while with the album opener "Atomic Chapel", which, as the title suggests, deals with Atomic warfare.
Overall Impression — 6
Out of the six songs on the album I could recommend two as good(Atomic Chapel and Psalm 7:77) and one(The Devil Of The Desert) as listenable. The rest are just too deep in the quagmire. Having said all of this, calling the album "ambitious but rubbish" would not do it justice. There are certainly many problems, track length and generic riffs among a few, but also there are truly epic moments like on the title track -"Demonoir". So I'd say that it's "ambitious but misguided".