1349, Ruins, Pestilential Shadows @ The Factory Theatre, Sydney, 26/02/2016

The Chaos Raids tour hits Sydney and unsurprisingly... chaos ensues.

1349 is one of those bands where the tag “underrated” is more than appropriate. If they had started up 10 years earlier they could easily have become one of the world’s most influential black metal bands. They have a slew of great albums, their 2005 effort Hellfire being a particular standout. So, when I heard that they were coming to Sydney as part of their 2016 Chaos Raids tour, I geared up for an evening of quality black metal.

Entering the Factory, drinks in hand, we made it just in time for first band of the night, Pestilential Shadows. Aside from the fact that I had seemingly no ability to pronounce the word “pestilential”, I was also rather embarrassed by the fact that I had never heard of this Sydney band despite the fact they have been around for over 10 years. This is something I will have to remedy because Pestilential Shadows is a kick ass black metal band. They specialise in the depressive, Cascadian offshoot of the genre, which relies heavily on long, drawn out passages that eventually burst into emotive crescendos. Music like this can become tedious in a live environment if not handled correctly, but fortunately the band showed good judgement in their pacing, having the ebbs and troughs of their music preventing things from getting too monotonous. A good start to the evening.

Next up was Ruins. It was good to see them back in Sydney after their show supporting Abbath in October and it must have been good for them too given that this was the one show of the tour where they were acting as supports. Their set was a typically strong performance from these Tassie devils; even if not much was different from the last time they played here a few months ago (save for vocalist Tim Pope’s spiffy new haircut). But hey, it’s always good to throw down to A Lesson In Ruthlessness and we got a bit of a teaser for their upcoming album in the form of a new song. Which is definitely something to be excited about.

Speaking of excitement, 1349 managed to generate quite a bit of it after taking to the stage. They opened with the thunderous salvo of I Am Abomination and promptly set the venue ablaze (well, not literally. Venue regulations would never let so much as a wet match near a stage in this country). Each of the members put on a blistering performance that should be expected of musicians of their calibre. A particular highlight was Seidemann on bass, who was cloaked and hooded looking like Voldemort had taken up the 4 string. The songs were great too. They had a selection of classic cuts such as Atomic Chapel and Sculptor of Flesh as well as some newer track from their latest excellent album Massive Cauldron of Chaos. They ended with the absolutely epic title track from Hellfire and an encore of Slaves. They left my soul thoroughly blackened and beat. Two big thumbs up.