The roots of the Hungarian Black Metal band Frost go back to 1996, although technically they were formed upon the ruins of the shortlived band Prophecy that started even a year earlier. After quite the number of line-up changes the band has been in a stable formation since 2010. That collection of musicians released their third album together and the fifth in total in 2021 under the title of ‘Winterblood’.
Over the decades that have passed since the formation of the band, they have been crafting and honing their brand of Black Metal. Anno 2021 that is a style of Atmospheric Black Metal with great melodies. The melodies such as in for instance ‘One with the Eternal Darkness’ are quite akin to Rotting Christ, while the opening riff of ‘Against False Saints’ also has a distinct flavour of early Amorphis. The atmosphere in general reminds me of the Finnish Black Metal scene, while the melodies lean more towards a mix of the Swedish and Greek sound.
Regardless of what else it may sound like, the end result is highly enjoyable music with a great deal of frosty atmosphere, mesmerizing melodies, clean breaks and furious outbursts. The Black Metal screams are probably best comparable to Sakis of Rotting Christ as well, although vocalist Deák Tamás lashes out towards grunts quite a bit too. I’m not quite sure if he also provided the clean vocals in the song ‘Without Chains’, but they are certainly a great addition, calling out for Lucifer in a style that reminds me of Bezwering and former Wederganger vocalist Alfschijn. To me, that song is the absolute best the band has to offer, with the vocal battle between on one hand the clean vocals and on the other hand the whispers and screams as the climax of the record. But highlights are not limited to the previously mentioned songs. Tracks like the more epic sounding ‘The Night’, or the beautiful solos in ‘Winter (To Die in the Mountains of Bükk)’ and ‘Forbidden Light’ are highly memorable as well. And maybe it’s me, but the spoken start of ‘Forbidden Light’ sounds like a clandestine tribute to Tormentors ‘Elizabeth Bathory’. The band has also included a piano interpretation of the song ‘Unholy Land’, a song that originally appeared on the band’s debut ‘Extreme Loneliness – Fragments’. It’s interesting to hear how the Black Metal origins seep through, but the song also easily stands tall as a more classical piece of music.
Clocking in at 55 minutes the album might be a bit on the lengthy side, but the music of Frost is diverse enough to hold its own. ‘Winterblood’ is an impressive album filled with atmospheric Black Metal with great melodies and dynamics. It’s evident that throughout the years of playing together the band has crafted a sound that takes the best of Amorphis and Rotting Christ and worldwide Black Metal scenes into a very enjoyable sound to call their own.