REVIEWED: 1914 - 'Where Fear and Weapons Meet'
With their gloomy meditations on the mud-soaked miseries of World War I, military-themed metal crew 1914 continue their advance into the blasted territories of blackened death with their stunning new opus of destruction, 'Where Fear and Weapons Meet'. Having mastered the bolted-in brutality of the genre to evoke the bloodthirsty aggression of war, the squad utilise its full arsenal - batteries of assault rifle blast beats and rapid-fire tremolo - to transport listeners straight to the terrifying chaos of the trenches. Amidst the scenes of devastation however, can be found rich veins of emotional intensity and melodies bathed in pathos as 1914 strive to tell the very real, human stories of those caught up in the conflict.
Framed by the tinkling, music hall chimes of pacifist anti-war song ‘I did not raise my boy to be a soldier’, the album’s track-list is brim-full with the blood, death and drama of war. Sweeping, classically-influenced epic 'Fn .380 Acp#19074' details the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand - the trigger event that kick-started the catastrophe and resulted in the deaths of millions, the majestic notes redolent with jingoistic folly. 'Vimy Ridge (In Memory of Filip Konowal)' and 'Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines)' highlight famous battles of World War 1, lamenting the loss of so many soldiers with elements of thickening doom that drag like the sludgy battleground mire. Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost lends his gravid vocals to the utterly heart-breaking ‘…and a cross now marks his place’; his gruff, bitter narration emphasising the coldness of the sentiments expressed in a real letter from the War office sent to a mother informing her of her son’s death in conflict. 'Corps D’autos-Canons-Mitrailleuses (a.c.m)' and 'Mit Gott Für König Und Vaterland' are filled with raging death growls and riffs of raw, ferocious anger at the travesty of the sacrifices made for ‘King and Country’ and a bloated sense of patriotism. Plaintive bagpipes echo over the heavy, jarring chords of final track, 'The Green Fields of France', falling like moans of despair across the void of no man’s land.
Reminiscent of the war poetry of Wilfred Owen; the musings of 1914 place emphasis not on the ‘desperate glory of war… the old lie’, but rather the squalor, suffering and grinding, relentless hardship - and the constant fear of death that we must all, ultimately, face. Metal bands have long been drawn to the blood-soaked imagery of war set against our own fragile mortality, yet Where 'Fear and Weapons Meet' finds a particular poignancy at the heart of the storm in its focus on the often very young people whose lives are tragically impacted during these pivotal historical events.
'Where Fear and Weapons Meet' is out now via Napalm