1349

BM battalion lights a commemorative pyre

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1349 is the year the Black Death reached Norwegian shores.

It’s now been 666 years since and 10 years since the band released their signature Hellfire album – and tonight they’re celebrating by playing the album in full. The sound of crackling flames builds up as the album’s closing title track is turned into an intro, but initially this grand anniversary seems under-rehearsed and lacking in brutality. I Am Abomination continues in the same vein, but as Sculptor Of Flesh blasts through on a blastwave of aggression, revealing the raw essence of 1349, it becomes a turning point.

From here on in, the hellish screams and growls and apocalyptic hatred of the album are in full effect. Finishing off with Slaves To Slaughter, they whip the audience up to a righteous and requisite fury, bringing a worthy end to the performance of Hellfire . The true hero of the evening is battery legend Frost. A merciless machine, his aggression behind the drumkit proves a terrifying spectacle and a counterbalance to the halting vocal performances and imbalanced sound that was so apparent early on.

Ravn emerges triumphant

Ravn emerges triumphant (Image credit: Jørn Veberg)

The encore, in the ruthless shape of Golem from Massive Cauldron Of Chaos, fully atones for the shaky start. It’s an impressively brutal end to the show as the screams, blastbeats, shredding guitars and surrounding flames prove that 1349 are, in the end, the kings of pure aural hellfire.