Album Review: Where Fear and Weapons Meet by 1914 (Napalm Records)

Where Fear And Weapons Meet is the title of the brand new album from Ukrainian blackened death metal band, 1914.

The World War One themed band’s new album is the follow-up to the remarkable, The Blind Leading The Blind, and is set for release on the 22nd of October, via Napalm Records.

1914 Where Fear and Weapons Meet Band
Photo Credit – May Lee

Speaking about the new album, 1914 says, “Where Fear And Weapons Meet continues the theme we started on The Blind Leading The Blind – with one major difference: these are the stories about hope where most of our characters are staying alive, becoming heroes, and returning back to their homes.

Yes, it is still about fear, death, and senselessness of war, but the hope is the only thing the soldier holds on to. And a good portion of luck as well. Even the album cover reflects this – the man lays wounded, bleeding in the trench, reaching his hand to death begging for relieve, and death declines to take him. He deserves to live.

The album starts with the assassination in Sarajevo, leads you through the bloodiest moments of the Great War, and ends up with the monologue on a grave of a young man killed in his first battle. This time we did have even more hard digging into the historical background while making the tracks. We are not singing the songs, we are telling the stories!”

To say I was a fan of The Blind Leading the Blind  would be a massive understatement. I adore that album and felt it was the darkest, most realistic portrayal of life fighting in The Great War. My anticipation and expectation for Where Fear and Weapons Meet is through the roof and 1914 do not disappoint. We get underway with the intro, War In. War In is an original, famous Serbian  World War 1 song called Tamo Daleko. It sets the scene, transporting you back in time, ready for what follows. We head straight into FN .380 ACP#19074 (try asking Alexa to play that one) and the familiar sound of gritty, dark black metal arrives in your ears.

Where Fear and Weapons Meet by 1914 logo

The combination of crunching drum blasts, powerful guttural vocals, crushing bass lines and riffs with atmospheric orchestral backing is one I have always loved and 1914 master the dark end of it. Its hard, heavy and all encompassing metal that swallows you up and conjures forth images of bleak battle scenes and death. Despite all the darkness penetrating you, you do get a sense of the hope and light that band wanted to bring forward. Often it comes in the higher tones lead guitar lines, lifting you up from the gloom, just a bit.

Vimy Ridge (In Memory of Filip Konowal) has a fantastic crunchy groove to it’s early parts. It really slams hard, the drums in particular vibrating through your bones while the vocals reach deep into your conscious with their visceral power. It really epitomises the album title I think, Where Fear and Weapons Meet. Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines) is amazing and intense. The authentic sounding spoken word lays the scene before a huge wall of impactful metal slams down on you. Huge guitars, backing atmospherics, crunchy drums and gritty bass combining to wash over you.

The arrivals of the vocals pushes the song to new levels of intensity in a song that may be the best 1914 have pulled together yet. The orchestral elements are perfectly placed and utilised and the longer song, at 7 minutes, gives them even more time for inventiveness and to toy with your emotions. The drawn out slow down is genius, giving you time to think on what you are hearing. The gentle build back up with more orchestra is genius before the battle ensues again with vicious vocals and booming drums and riffage.

How do you follow that masterpiece up? Well, with Don’t Tread on Me (Harlem Hellfighters) of course. Starting with a spoken word passage related to the American army’s Infantry Regiment, the Harlem Hellfighters, we get thrown into a faster piece with screaming guitars and hard hitting instrumentation. Despite the obvious heaviness, there is a really catchy rhythm to the track and the lead guitars are mesmerising. Coward comes next and features Sasha Boole (Me and That Man) telling a story from one the British Empires shameful passages. Its a bit of an intermission with a Country/Folk vibe and plenty of harmonica.

…And a Cross Now Marks His Place drops us back into battle with a dark and hard hitting track featuring Nick Holmes (Paradise Lost/Bloodbath). There is a real slow stomping darkness with punchy bass lines and drawn out guitars. The vocals are powerful and the guest vocals add a lot to the track as we move from the slower stomp into chaotic passages of blasting drums. The harmonised vocals with cleans backed by gutturals sounds immense. Corps d’Autos-Canons-Mitrailleuses (A.C.M) starts with some wartime music that fades away to be replaced by ominous guitars and some backing atmospherics.

The boom of drums in the intro is a perfect addition and the emphatic orchestral section coupled with the dark metal instruments is both grandiose and sombre simultaneously. The slower slamming music jam packed with atmosphere and feeling works so well and I love the more heavily used symphonic sounds. Some choirs make there way into the song merging beauty with the gritty reality pushed upon us by 1914. Its masterful music.

Mit Gott für König und Vaterland brings more of the same and by that, I mean it is brilliant. A little intro kicks us along into a ferocious rhythm with blasting drums, deep riffs and vicious vocals. The heaviness on show is impressive but what impresses even more is that somehow 1914 manage to pack a song with groove and rhythm despite the aggression levels. And so we reach the end of Where Fear and Weapons Meet but what an ending we have to look forward to with the 11 minute long The Green Fields of France before we hit the outro.

This track has everything. From bagpipes in the intro we move to into the heaviest section of the whole album with vocals that aren’t far off terrifying when heard upon the bed of ridiculously low tuned guitars and bass. Wow. The bagpipes return but as an undercurrent below the darkness creating an interesting sound. Being a longer story to tell, the band get to play around with different phases with the drum pace really signalling transitions. We get sped up sections that are no less brutal, slower stomping parts and story sections that see instruments fade back to leave samples and distortion at the forefront. It is truly epic.

So the story closes with the outro War Out just book ending the album nicely and giving you a few seconds to pick your jaw up from the floor. I do feel like I listened to the whole of Where Fear and Weapons Meet with my mouth open in awe. Make no mistake, this album is phenomenal and this band, 1914, are exceptional. Not just as musicians but in their insane ability to tell a story. To create a visual image in the listeners mind. You feel the emotion, the passion, the horror and the triumph with every note, every beat and every lyric.

A remarkable album from a phenomenal band, Where Fear and Weapons Meet is a triumph of music and all that is good in metal. Powerful music telling powerful stories that make the listener feel like maybe just for a moment, they understand the true darkness of war.

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Where Fear and Weapons Meet can be preordered in different formats from Napalm Records here. You can also grab a digital copy from Bandcamp, here.

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Where Fear and Weapons Meet by 1914 (Napalm Records)

By Artist: 1914

Album name: Where Fear and Weapons Meet

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