Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Wintersoul: Frozen Storm Apocalypse (2010)

Wintersoul is a blackened death metal band from Great Britan that I discovered while reading MetalFRO's Rock & Metal Review. They sounded good, so I picked up their debut LP Frozen Storm Apocalypse.

England is not exactly known for its black metal, and Christian bands (like Wintersoul) rarely get it right, but this is convincing stuff. Maybe that's because of all the winter, frost, and ice references, but more likely it's because they're talented.

The sound is mostly a mix of two parts Behemoth to one part Dissection, with absolutely relentless (but memorable) riffs and drumming that alternates between mid-paced and brutal. There are some very nice Slayer-style solos, too (see especially "The Awakening").

The only time they let up slightly is on "Dark Winter Skies", and that is seemingly to introduce a very Celtic Frost element: ethereal female vocals. They are off-key, but in a compelling, very cold-sounding way, and show up numerous times on the album. The frontman is talented too, and tends toward a black metal voice with some death growling here and there.

MetalFRO noted some keyboards--outside the intro and outro, I didn't really notice them, so that's a very good sign.

My only complaint, really, is the production on the female vocals. They should be elevating this from "very good" to "freaking amazing", but they don't quite do that. They seem like they were mixed in as an afterthought, and they got lazy with it. They turned everything else down when her voice comes in, like a radio DJ talking before the lyrics start. The problem is most pronounced on "Shades of Terror".

Highlights include "Dawn of Ice Hearts", "Shadows of Death", and "Blood on Ice". As far as song titles go, they're pretty much one-note, but it's a good note.

The Verdict: Aside from poor production on the female vocals, everything about this is excellent, despite the unlikely source. It's going to give Norma Jean a run for their money on Christian metal album of the year, and I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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