Norwegian black metallers, 1349 have released a new single called Dødskamp, a musical interpretation of a piece of artwork by famed Norwegian artist Edvard Munch.
Dødskamp has been commissioned by Innovation Norway, Visit Norway and the Munch Museum rather than being your standard metal release. They have asked four Norwegian artists from different genres to give their interpretation of any piece of Munch’s work. For 1349, that is of course, black metal. You have to love Norway, and Scandinavia as a whole. The way they embrace metal as part of their culture rather than as a dirty word to be hidden away from plain sight is inspiring.
About 1349 though. They formed back in 1997, determined to bring back tradition to black metal. A genre they felt was branching out too far and leaving tradition behind. The band today is a 4 piece with 2 original founding members still present though all members have been in the band for the best part of 2 decades. The founding members are, on lead vocals, Ravn (Olav Bergene) and on bass and backing vocals, Seidemann (Tor Risdal Stavenes). Joining them, on guitars and backing vocals is Archaon (Idar Burheim) and on drums it is Frost (Kjetil-Vidar Haraldstad), also of Satyricon.
Speaking about Dødskamp, Archaon states – “Munch is arguably the biggest Norwegian artist throughout history, together with Edvard Grieg, I suppose. His works are tremendously dark and eerie, reflecting a lot of anxiety, pain and loneliness, in the way I perceive them. So, it suited us perfectly. I chose the work Dødskamp, which directly translates Death Struggle and speaks volumes for itself. It was an emotionally heavy task, and also a completely new way to compose. As well as some very long nights, bereaved of sleep. In the end though, it was worth it. This is the soundtrack to the dilemmas of mortality.”
Dødskamp is just over 5 minutes long and starts off with blistering drum beats under a higher toned, drawn out riff. The music switches to an even darker tone and the riff speeds up as the vocals come in. They are dark and unclean and of course, very traditional black metal in style. There are some nice musical transitions in the verses as the guitars switch between riffs while the drums pound out relentlessly. There is a big instrumental section nearing the end though it is just a continuation of the same riffs and drum patterns heard so far. Right in it’s dying minute though we get a switch up with a cracking lead guitar line as the drums switch to a more rhythmic pattern. As soon as it comes it starts going again though as it fades slowly for the rest of the songs duration.
I like Dødskamp. It is a decent black metal track that harks back to traditional times. It’s pretty raw in regards to production which suits their style perfectly. The drums are great though the raw production leaves them lacking depth. They are more tap then boom. The riffs are good, vocals are decent but for all it’s positives, Dødskamp lacks anything really unique to make it stand out as 1349’s or anyone’s signature style. It is just a decent black metal song. More of a genre filler I suppose, then a song that is going to make jaws drop but if you prefer your black metal to not to be adventurous or ultra progressive, Dødskamp will please. Seeing as tradition is 1349’s aim, they have succeeded massively while creating a sombre and introspective soundtrack for Munch’s art, notorious for it’s own sombre, dark works.
Dødskamp is out now on on all the usual digital platforms now. You can also grab a copy on vinyl from Season of Mist here. Keep up to date with 1349 at their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by following the links.
Dødscamp by 1349 (Season of Mist)
The Final Score - 7.5/10