Frosthelm – The Endless Winter (2015) – I’ve been waiting for a new Frosthelm record for quite some time now, especially after hearing the band’s debut EP …. a few years back. Admittedly, it’s taken a bit of time for them to get everything fine-tuned and ready to go and The Endless Winter is a fine example of what happens when all of that extra time is spent wisely. Mixing black metal along with bits of thrash and death, these guys may very well have crafted one of the best albums of the year. It’s certainly better than Thulcandra’s third attempt and makes Ascension Lost look like a steaming pile of garbage. Additionally, those expecting a black/death/thrash performance in the vein of Skeletonwitch are also going to be taken by surprise with this album, because every single track on this disc sounds better than an anything I’ve heard from the aforementioned, bar none. The melodies are sharp, the drumming is inexplicably tight, and the vocals are downright threatening. In simplest terms, this is definitely one of the best extreme metal records I’ve ever heard. The record even features quite a few memorable solo efforts, which only help to further accentuate these already formidable pieces. There are very few records that I can remember from front to back and will say, “Hey, I really want to listen to that again.” and this is definitely one of those records. The atmosphere of the disc remains frostbitten and true to the nature of black metal, yet it manages to upgrade and innovate the style by offering listeners much more than what we’d normally get at face value from a black metal act. The band thrash just as well as they utilize melody and I’m very much reminded of Dissection, as I’ve mentioned before with my Thulcandra reference. The songs might not be all that long, but they don’t need to be. Frosthelm isn’t the kind of band that needs to make extremely lengthy and perplexing cuts. They’ve got enough skill and muscular musicianship to catch your attention in the first few minutes and you’re going to notice that immediately. The record itself is also very short as well, but in all honesty; I’m just not complaining. I can’t find one problem with this record, no matter how hard I’ve tried. The quality of the performance is noteworthy, the production is crisp and clear, yet still a bit erratic and the vocal approach seems to fit right in with some of extreme metal’s absolute best frontmen. Simply put, you may not have heard that much about Frosthelm yet; but you will. If no one manages to notice this album among the spring flood, then it has truly become a very sad time in metal. Don’t walk, run to the nearest record store or jump online and order this album just as soon as you can. Talent was heard and talent was respected. Skill was noticed and skill was respected. I can simply say no more about the greatness uttered forth on this incredibly grim and worthwhile release.
(9 Tracks, 34:00)