What happens if I mix multiple cups of coffee with multiple cans of Monster? I bounce off the walls whilst making sounds like a smurf on Helium, in a microwave. I’ve got a thing about smurfs at the moment… I don’t know why. Anyway, that’s much the same reaction as I had when I the promo CD for this album arrived at my house. You see, I’ve been excited about this album for a while.
Frostwork’s previous EP – 2008’s “The Rites of Winter: The First Storm” (reviewed here for your convenience) – had me hooked. It was just the right combination bleak atmospheres and raw intensity. I found myself comparing Frostwork to bands such as Burzum, Bathory and Forest Silence and, while those comparisons are valid this time around, “Lore of Winter: Ealdspell” is a very different beast, with its own character.
The album opens with “The Winter Raven”, an atmospheric piece that gently breaks you in, leading the way for “On White Carrion Wings”. “On White Carrion Wings” is a fantastic track that makes me want it to start snowing so that I can frolick in the snow, whilst holding gardening tools in a menacing manner (a certain Ghremdrakk photo has clearly effected me greatly). I love Dagon’s vocals in this (and throughout the album as a whole) – they sound tortured, pained and as if they were being created by an ancient, haunted forest itself.
The monk-like chanting throughout “Cast from His Wings” lends the track an ethereal quality – it almost feels sacrificial. I now have the image of robe-clad figures taking part in a candlelit procession through the aforementioned ancient forest. “When Raven Claws the Sky” is another atmospheric piece that sets the scene for “Frozen Veins Shed No Blood” perfectly. This track is slow and haunting – you can almost feel winter creeping through your bones and laying claim to your soul. Perhaps this ghostly apparition is the result of the candlelit procession? Perhaps I am reading too much into this? Probably.
It’s at this point when things start to get really interesting. “The Essence of Darkest Winter” is an incredibly dark piece that chills me even more than “Frozen Veins…” does. I seriously need to find a snow covered forest so that I can listen to this album properly. “The She Wolf” is an odd little track that tells the story of – what I’d imagine was – the she wolf. It does a brilliant job was captivating the listener and building up the suspence for the eight and final track on the album – “This Woman Wolf Skin Clad”. This track is – in a word – perfect. It’s creepy, yet, at the same time seductive. You can’t help but have the feeling that you’re being lead towards some undisclosed horror (somewhere deep inside that ancient forest, I’d assume) – but you’re not being coerced. You’re walking towards this nightmare willingly, in a trance-like state. Or, perhaps it’s just a fantastic Black Metal track and I’m letting my over-active little imagination run away with me. You can come to your own conclusion
This album has been released at the perfect time – winter is just sneaking up on us and “Lore of Winter” will provide the perfect soundtrack. Is it as good as I’d hoped? Damn right it is. Possibly even better.
Check out “Frozen Veins Shed No Blood” below:
The album is due out next month, but you can pre-order it from Ƿodfreca Soncræftas (Wodfreca Records) now. If you get in quick, you may be lucky enough to bag yourself a free patch.
Rating: 100% (I like it… a lot…)