There are many unsavory topics that metal and even rock manage to tackle without even stopping to think about what’s going on, and war has long been a topic bands love to come to every now and then. But it’s very rare that we see a band use war as its main focus without straying into other topics, yet that’s precisely what 1914 does with their vicious mix of black, death, and doom metal. They have delivered the goods in ferocious style ever since their debut three years ago, but it’s with their sophomore full-length that we see this Ukranian act blossom into something so much more. To say that “The Blind Leading the Blind” sees 1914 become something else entirely wouldn’t even be the tip of the iceberg.
It’s not hard to see that many bands with any sort of gimmick be it silly or serious like to create some sort of rollercoaster from one song to the next as the album progresses as the band in question shows off the many different sides to their style. With a topical range that stays strictly within the events of World War I, you’d be forgiven if you think 1914 wouldn’t be able to create more than one album of interesting songs. But that’s extremely far from the case as this quintet shows off their power one massive track at a time. Then with that, we see a wide variety of stylistic approaches as “The Blind Leading the Blind” isn’t anywhere near afraid to take on the persona of a blackened death record right off the bat, but later on you see 1914 implement doom elements that add a truly heavy aspect to an already massive album. Pepper in emotional weight, period songs that add a sense of stark contrast and odd realism, riffs that sound louder than a machine gun, and an absolutely unrelenting attitude that keeps this whole record going and you’ve got not only an album but a fucking experience!
The thing that really gets me with “The Blind Leading the Blind” is how 1914 brings the horror of war right to the front stage immediately, which is what you’d expect, let’s be honest here. 1914 happily goes across the names of various weapons in exemplary fashion, the arrival of new soldiers on a harshly worn battlefield, and the sight of bodies strewn in barbed wire as commonplace. But it’s as the war of this record tolls on that we see the human aspect of “The Blind Leading the Blind”.We seasoned veterans shows privates how to kill more efficiently and we get see an officer talking to cadets and encouraging them to kill the enemy with joy with all of this being backed up by the highly intoxicating performance that 1914 puts on as they march right through with their absolutely vicious performance that puts you right into the action at the peak of chaos. But then it’s with the penultimate song that we see the exact opposite of the human element: a weeping soldier in immense grief over the horror he’s wrought. It’s an extremely sobering listen that shows what “The Blind Leading the Blind” has been leading to; all the faces of war. From the glee of killing Nazis demonstrated through powerful riffs to intimately beating the enemy simply because they’re the enemy to crying over those who’ve been slain and begging for mercy, 1914 puts on a display that’s nothing short of spine-chilling as well as massive in every form!
It’s usually very easy for a person to know when they’ve found one of their favorite albums of the year simply because of how much the album in question hits the listener. The last time I felt so enthralled by a record from 2018 was Arkheth almost ten months ago, but it’s with 1914 that a unique euphoria is invoked in exquisite detail. There’s nothing about “The Blind Leading the Blind” that doesn’t hit home wit1914 being the absolute perfect conductors of this train that takes us through every level of war one at a time. This is without a doubt one of the grandest albums we’re to get all year with everything from sheer presence to execution of concept put on at peak performance with this record, and there’s no question in my mind that “The Blind Leading the Blind” should be hailed as one of the greatest WWI themed metal albums ever put down!
“The Blind Leading the Blind” releases on November 11th via Redefining Darkness Records and Archaic Sound!
LISTEN to advanced tracks from “The Blind Leading the Blind” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE 1914 on Facebook here.