Sep 112010

We’re way late with today’s post. There’s a long story behind the delay, but it’s not very interesting, so we’ll just save it. Again for uninteresting reasons, we’ll probably be late tomorrow, too. And because we’re late delivering our product, we’ll be refunding 15% of your NCS subscription fee, no questions asked. Now that we’ve done something that makes us feel better about our tardiness, on with today’s post:

Is it possible for something to be both cold and hot at the same time? If the subject is the temperature of some piece of matter, including the molecules of the air, the answer is usually no. It’s either hot or it’s cold or it’s something in between, but not both hot and cold at the same time. Unless it’s fried ice cream, of course.

But once you get away from describing the temperature of matter, the answer changes. Take people, for example. Some people can be both “cold” and “hot” at the same time. It’s in the eye of the beholder, but some people can be hot precisely because of their coldness.

When it comes to extreme metal, music can definitely be both cold and hot at the same time. You can’t touch music, of course, but music produces sensations and emotional reactions that can be described with adjectives, such as “cold” and “hot,” that typically apply to tangible things.

Frozen is a metal band from the ancient town of Cadiz, which is situated on a narrow spit of land on the sea-coast of southern Spain. Frozen describes its music as “cold black metal”, and there is indeed an icy quality to the music. But it also burns, and the band’s latest album, The Unborn, has become one of our most-listened-to black-metal finds of the year.  (more after the jump, including a song to stream . . .)

Frozen is a 3-piece band consisting of Carnage (bassist and lead vocalist), Demonized (guitarist and backing vocalist), and Markdarkness (guitarist and backing vocalist).  They add session drummers for recordings and performances.

They released a two-song EP in 2007 called Evoking Shadows, and then a four-song EP later the same year called The Unborn. Last year, they signed to a Swedish label called Downfall Records, which then reissued The Unborn — but with the songs from the EP remixed, and with the two songs from the previous EP included. Those six songs add up to about 35 minutes of music — and it’s all very, very good.

The songs are drenched in tremolo-picked cascades of melody, dense and indigo-dark in their mood. The monolithic chords wash over you, establishing an ambience of ominous power rising up and rolling relentlessly forward, carried along by hammering blast-beats and whumping double-bass.

The songs are accented by rhythmic breaks and by the unexpected pealing of clean guitar leads and solos that shine through the tremolo haze in this unusually sharp production. What’s even more unusual, given this genre of music, is the prominent role played by the bass.

Big, thundering bass chords and even arpeggios step forward to play a lead role in many of the songs, and the bass is never out of earshot. The bass rhythms are an unmistakable source of the musical dynamics in every song, and that’s a very cool break from the black-metal norm.

The usually high-pitched vocals are like an ice storm of cold shards, but the singing often drops down into death-metal territory with deep, growled proclamations of power.

The Unborn is dark and cold and beautiful, but an ice-blue fire burns intensely within its depths. We’ve been coming back to this album repeatedly over the last six months when we’re in the mood for a black-metal fix, and so it’s only fair that we finally decided to write about Frozen.

Here’s a song from the album. Hope you dig Frozen’s music as much as we do:

Frozen: Endless Circles of Blood

For more info and more music to hear, this is the link for Frozen’s MySpace page, and their official web page is at this location. The Unborn is available as an MP3 download for less than $6 from both iTunes and Amazon.  Amazon also offers the physical CD.

Frozen also reports that they’re working on a second album for release later this year. We’ll be waiting for it . . .

  3 Responses to “FROZEN”

  1. I didn’t care much for the song the first time I listened, but a second pass helped. I think the problem is the unrelenting drumming at parts. It’s kind of like I’m being shaken lightly while trying to focus.

    While they’ve gathered their existing songs for this release, an album of new songs should be the real testing ground. Any band can take stuff from demos or promotional EP’s and put them together (as-is or remixed) as a new release, but a full album of new material should show what these guys really have to offer.

    • I’m glad you gave it a second chance. Agree completely with your comment about a new album. I’ve e-mailed the band to see what I can find out about its status, but no answer yet.

      • There’s a lot of good stuff I’d miss out on if I didn’t give a second listen. Not sure if Frozen’s my kind of band, but I’ll be interested in hearing what they can do next with a full length that isn’t recycled material.

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