Known for its short summers and long, drawn out winters, New England is not the worst starting point for a winter-themed album. Fueled by isolation and frigid temperatures, 1476 hail from the infamous Salem, Massachusetts and their specialty is a mixture of art and stripped-down dark, atmospheric rock. Is this your first encounter with 1476? It’s mine too. Using Our Season Draws Near as my guiding light, I discovered that 1476 have EP and CD releases going back a ways. The highlights include 2010’s release of the tribal/folk inspired Smoke in the Sky, an interesting EP making use of acoustic guitars, bowed and finger-picked stand-up bass and analogue synthesizers. Wildwood followed suite in 2012, relying on ambiance and animalistic imagery to convey it’s abrasive message of contradiction. But I believe it was Edgar Allen Poe: A Life of Hope & Despair that probably got the attention of Germany’s Prophecy Productions. Conceived in 2014 as the Neoclassical and experimental soundtrack to a Poe-inspired art show, A Life of Hope & Despair didn’t actually release until 2016. I have but one question for 1476… Where to next?

Our Season Draws Near is the tie that binds. Drawing synthesizer effects from A Life of Hope & Despair, tribal elements from Smoke in the Sky and varied vocal technique with similarity to Wildwood, 1476 have taken what they do best and dialed it all up to 11. “Our Silver Age” has a stark opening – just clean vocals and acoustic-style harmony. It’s beautiful, minimal but has a tendency to become lost if you’re not in the right listening environment. Lyrically the track speaks of flaws and mistakes, dissipating futures and the only likeness that comes to mind is the tragedy of Woods of Ypres. The slow pacing mimics the dreariness of the cover, and despite the magnificent guitar solo that slowly rises out of the latter half of the track, there’s an underlying current that the song is really just a 4-minute plus perfectly delivered introduction.

“Ettins,” “Winter of Winds” and “Solitude (Interior)” prove that just when you think you know where 1476 are going, you’re in for a shocker. Opening up with guitar-work easily attributable to Ghost Brigade, “Ettins” quickly changes course to gallop with classic Vreid. It’s an interesting and fun stylistic change, but what really has you sit up and take notice is the brash vocal delivery that draws on elements of Danzig‘s charisma. “Winter of Winds” continues on from “Ettins,” but here the band brings in a retro post-punk vibe reminiscent of The Cult blended in with The Cure. “Solitude (Interior)” opens with tribal drumming reminiscent of the band’s Smoke in the Sky outing, backed with an Ulver inspired familiarity. 1476 quickly take ownership of the track with their striking drum-work. Vocals start off clean, delivery not unlike what’s come before, but make an about-turn at the 1:17 mark by introducing the type of guttural growls you’d expect on a Circle of Dead Children outing – instead of these growls appearing in their usual habitat, they’re infused into an album that’s completely melodic.

Each song holds something of interest, uniquely used or positioned. Take for example “Odessa.” At the onset, the track hints at the retro-doom of Pet the Preacher, but makes an about-turn, adopting the post-punk revival style of The Killers – right down to the retro-speaker voice. Barely a minute in, “Sorgen (Sunwheels)” takes a little something from Toad The Wet Sprocket‘s “Walk on the Ocean” dosing you with 90s nostalgia. And then there’s the up-beat garage rock disposition of “By Torchlight,” bringing to mind bands like Foxboro Hot Tubs (Green Day‘s side-project) or The Gaslight Anthem.

Produced by 1476 and mixed by Markus Siegenhort of Lantlôs, Our Season Draws Near is lovingly crafted for your listening pleasure. Songs flow logically from one to the next, and momentum is maintained from the very start of “Our Silver Age” right up to the bitter end of “Our Ice Age.” If Our Season Draws Near is prophetic, I better keep these guys on my radar and so should you.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Prophecy Productions
Websites: | |
Releases Worldwide: March 31st, 2017

Share →
  • herrschobel

    well but it´s spring ! ….finally…someone missed a Deadline it seems…could become a regular somewhere in my playlists…nice review !

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    As general rule i’ll normally try and stay clear of albums with rabbits, clam farms or lighthouses on the cover. I may make an exception for this album. Nice review MadamX

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Could you please name at least one album with a clam farm on the cover? I’m curious.

      • I think he’s referring to Calm Hatchery, which I always read as Clam Hatchery.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Don’t we ALL read Calm Hatchery as Clam Hatchery?

          • Grymm

            Hell, I STILL read their name as Clam Hatchery!

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Thankfully I’ve been spared the horror

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Well, I guess we can safely say that NOT everything has been done… yet. We might still live to see the day when an album with a clam farm on the cover is released.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            Looking into my Crystal Ball I can safely predict for you that Ale Storm will be the first. The album will be entitled “Shore Leave”.
            It will, I predict, become known as a low water mark for the band and fan boards into the future will rue the “Clam Hatchery raid” concept album.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Wouldn’t that “Clam Hatchery Raid” thing be a split between Alestorm and Clam… erm, Calm Hatchery?

  • This is a weird but interesting little album.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    1476? Just 12 more edgy points to 1488!

    • [not a Dr]

      That’s February 1476’s ROTM

  • Treble Yell

    4.0? Ulver? My loins are aflame! Sold!

  • Drew Music

    Of all the obscure and unexpected reference points I’ve seen here, the Toad name drop might have been the first to induce a spit-take for me. If the Goo Goo Dolls didn’t have such a strong grip over the non blackened shreds of my heart, I’d probably say Toad the Wet Sprocket were my favorite 90’s band, you never hear about them around hyah though, hyah being Maine of all places.

  • I am trying my best to keep my mind open, but based solely on the embedded track, I just do not like this. I cant get over the production and vocals. I love the breakdown around 2:55, and there’s some good atmosphere in the music though. Maybe with a different mix and a stronger vocalist, I could like this. To each their own though…

    • What about the production put you off?

      • Sean Sky

        Personally, I find the vocals are a little too far back in the mix, coupled with the fact that the vocalist is kind of weak to begin with, it leaves something to be desired. I’d almost rather this album were instrumental a lot of the time except when he starts to emote like he does on tracks like “Odessa”… then I actually enjoy his vocal style much more. It’s the soft monotone style that isn’t working for me in his singing.

        Overall, I don’t think the production is a problem. It’s a pretty solid album that I have some nitpicks for (I’m only on my first listen, though.)

  • This sounds like a hot mess.

  • lennymccall

    Been listening to them since the first release and I don’t think they ever surpassed it. Was much more of a horror punk, dark wave kinda thing and I can’t get into their more folky stuff. Cool you’ve found em and are enjoying it tho. See also The Hunt who was on Sacred Bones but long since broke up…

  • Tom Hardy

    Head’s pounding from listening to that embedded track, bloody hell and it isn’t the jet lag. They sound like an almost Katatonia-Anathema blend of a band, the kind of coffee blend that’s supposed to keep you awake, but would rather leave you comatose. Hats off to you Madam for going through the entire thing and going into an in depth analysis of the songs and lyrics.

    Woods of Ypres I do hear some of, they’re a far better band aren’t they?

    • Lol I’d be bleak if this was the latest 1349 outing. Being that it’s 1476, I’m very ok with it.

  • rumour_control

    “And then there’s the up-beat garage rock disposition…”<—THIS; excellent descriptive writing, overall.

    • Thank you kindly.

      • rumour_control

        You’re welcome.

  • The vocals sound a bit weak on the embedded track and the song is rather dull. I listened to Ettins on YouTube and that was a little better. I hear some Tiamat in that one. It’s all a little flat from what I’ve heard, but I’ll probably give it a few more listens

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    This might be good (or not) but it is not Metal.

    • It has metal moments.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        It uses Metal as a spice, not as the main meat in the stew. ;)

  • Serjien

    Leave it up to Madam X to give us some obscure band from Salem, MA! Thanks for putting my beloved home state in the metal(or not) map!

  • GWW

    Like. Review good.

  • Sophocles

    OK, interesting…. Now where is the new Damnations Day review?

  • Ta2dlam

    I’m enjoying this and the entire back catalog at this point. It’s rare to find something my wife and I both agree with aurally but this fits the bill. Great review as always and thank you for the new find!

    • This is the kind of stuff that makes reviewing worthwhile.

  • Norfair Legend

    Man, this is seriously good. Pre ordered. Forgive me wallet, it’s been a great few months for music.