World War One is one of my favorite history topics. It’s an obscure war, despite being known at the time as the Great War. It gets overshadowed by the war that followed, WWII. It was a war that was romanticized about until the fighting truly began. When I discovered 1914 I could not believe my luck. I found a band that was not only technically proficient and downright nasty, but also one that covers one of my favorite topics, largely from my viewpoint on the war. How often do the stars align so perfectly?
I think I’ve listened to Eschatology of War (that which concerns matters of death, the End, Judgement, etc.) by now. It’s an absolutely fantastic album. It fuses black metal, death metal, and doom metal all into one album. It’s nasty and grimy, describing in detail trench warfare and the feeling of death literally around you. The music and the lyrics work in perfect concerts with some ambient war background noise to give the listener the truth: this war was the nastiest, goriest, and downright most terrifying war any nation has ever fought.
It starts off with a lie, that the men fighting are going off to fight for God, glory, and country. It dives straight into reality, trench warfare was nasty, dirty, and filled with death. There was no god or glory to be found on the battlefield, and one’s country glorified your deaths as heroic, even if you died screaming.
World War One was nasty, and so was the music. It moved rapidly like speeding horses only to be shredded ruthlessly by tanks and machine gun fire. There is no honor, there is only death. The album moves through the phases of the war, taking an almost sludgy slow approach to “Christmas” in the trenches. You can feel the limbs cracking from the cold and smell the rotting frozen flesh.
There is no beauty in this album. But that’s the fucking point isn’t it? What’s so heroic about battles and wars like this? Fucking nothing. There’s nothing heroic or glorious about freezing to death or suffocating under a pile of your dead comrades or having your face melt off from gas attacks. It’s reality at its worst. That’s why 1914 is such a wonderful band. The riffs aren’t catchy and melodic; they aren’t meant to be used to make metal cool. They are headbangers but not only in the most brutal sense of the word.
1914 and Eschatology of War is definitely worth checking out because a) it blends three of the four extreme metals into a magnificently coherent album, b) it takes a real world look into a largely forgotten war, and c) this album is crafted with the utmost care, it’s not random samples thrown in against a wall of sound and fury, there is real musicianship here.
Listen and support!