Review: Frozen Land – Frozen Land

Frozen Land is a new player in the metal scene in general and in the (symphonic) power metal scene in particular. Initially started as a solo project musician Tuomas Hirvonen made an effort to materialize his vision of bringing back the nineties, the golden age of Finnish power metal. He started writing songs and forming a band, which was done lightning fast, taking his project, called Frozen Land, to the next level. Apart from Tuomas on guitar the band nowadays consists of Finnish talents Aki Kuokkanen on drums, Lauri Muttilainen on keyboards and Juhana Heinonen on bass. To complete the quintet they have recruited Italian YouTube find Tony Meloni as their vocalist, who happens to be an Italian singer with an acceptable accent. A rare and great find indeed. Lightning fast seems to be the recurring theme here, which, considering their favored musical time, is not really a surprise. The year the band was founded a demo called Loser’s Game was released and the next year, this year, the band released their debut full-length called Frozen Land. Speed usually kills, hopefully that does not apply to this release. We’ll see.

Now, those of you that have read more of my reviews know I’m not exactly an intro-buff, I usually find them useless and not fitting, so the start Frozen Land provides is right up my alley. They leave no room for doubt or guessing, but instead they immediately make their intentions clear as opener Loser’s Game comes thundering through your speakers. There’s no introductory strumming or drumming, there’s no warning whatsoever. The guys kick into highest gear from the first note, simply skipping all other gears, exploding into a full-blown power metal song that indeed has a distinct nineties vibe to it. Imagine what a power metal song should sound like and you’ll end up with Loser’s Game for sure. It has it all: speed, power, double bass drums, recognizable, easily accessible rhythm, multi-vocal singalong-choruses, a screaming solo and high pitched vocals, although the latter two do not border the insane which normally is the case in power metal. Apparently Frozen Land has chosen the path of subtlety with both the solos and the vocals, which as far as I’m concerned is just as well. I do like power metal, but I often feel the extremely high-pitched screams and over the top solos were a bit too much. Kudos to Frozen Land therefore.

Another plus is the fact the band does not maintain the same high speed at all times, thus avoiding boredom, in my opinion a common enemy of high speed metal. With each of the next three songs the speed gets turned down a notch, starting with Delusions of Grandeur and ending with Underworld, which in all honesty is not a power metal song at all. The trio of songs have some nice features, the most surprising to be found in The Fall, where a vague King Diamond bell begins to toll in the back of my head. And just when you start to reconsider the genre these guys operate in, they speed up again, picking up where they left off with the ending of the opening track. The result is a cluster of four great songs, The Rising, Unsung Heroes, Orgy of Enlightenment and Mask of the Youth, that are the embodiment of power metal with, in my opinion, the latter as the pinnacle. Great stuff to completely lose it to, before being dragged in a melancholic mood with ballad I Would, a traditional power ballad complete with solo, that serves as point of rest and can be considered a preface to the explosive end of this release, which comes in the form of an E-type cover called Angels Crying. A somewhat remarkable though conceivable choice, and one very well executed at that.

With their self-titled debut the guys from Frozen Land deliver a great album, clearly showing they are capable of both composing and playing great music. Their power metal is as it should be, at least if I have anything to say about it: fast and bombastic without sounding over the top. In my opinion they managed to either overcome or prevent a few well-known flaws in their genre by adding subtlety and variation, making this release, though not particularly innovating, stand out from the majority of power metal releases. Add to that the succeeded quest to bring the nineties power metal vibe back to life and into their music, and it’s safe to say this release is pretty damn’ decent. Power metal purists will get what they’re after when listening to this, but it doesn’t stop there. I think this will appeal to a wide variety of metal fans, simply because the sharp edges of the music have been expertly softened, making it more organic as a whole. Well worth your time.

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