For a band called Frozen in Shadows, you’d be forgiven for the expectation they might takes things somewhat slowly, no chance. Officially announcing they exist a mere two weeks ago, they’ve wasted no time in self-releasing their five-track debut, and announcing themselves for Badgerfest in October. Somewhat of a Manchester (UK) underground ‘supergroup’ they were formed by members/ex-members of local stalwarts Footprints in the Custard, Impavidus, Prognosis, Godhand and Vice.
Much like the launch of the band themselves the EP doesn’t waste any time in making its presence and objectives abundantly clear. Taking the old recipe of Melodic Death Metal laid down by the likes of At The Gates and In Flames and make something fresh. Right from the opening track ‘Harbinger’ there’s no mistaking their purpose, it hits home hard. They clearly set out with a vision of exactly what they wanted to achieve and made sure they achieved it. There’s nothing overdone or understated here, a balancing act which is as much a technical exercise as the production or musicianship itself.
The first three songs plough ahead at an enthusiastic pace, the tightness of the performance, razor-sharp riffing, solid drumming, and excellent solos are all presented with an almost youthful exuberance, but tempered with a measured approach. This is all backed up with some incredibly crisp production, absolutely everything is crystal clear and every element of the songs are absolutely spot on where they need to be.
By the fourth track ‘Ashen’, they add some Hard Rock elements to the mix and their sound reminds me of the criminally underrated Finnish melodeath band Gandalf. Final track ‘Behest’ brings a heavier sound, a touch different from the blueprint, and it’s a bit more noticeable the individual elements each band member brings from their respective bands, the notable exception being that Russ Custard doesn’t resort to singing about cocks.
All in all if you’ve ever liked a melodic Death Metal song, and let’s be honest who hasn’t (sit down Varg!) then you owe it to yourself to give it a listen.