Self Mutilation Services/Razed Soul Productions, 2012
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
1. Die Architektur des Seins
4. Tabula Rasa
5. LD 100
If you check out one new band in 2012 it better be this band. A lot of great stuff was released this year and I don't want to put it up against some veterans, so this is definitely a must hear new band. Germany seems to be working very hard at producing some incredible Atmospheric Black Metal. I feel like this is a somewhat new take on Black Metal, in the ever shifting world of this genre. Sure, some bands have done something like this before, but I feel like it is really exploding. How does Frostseele fit in against the growing avalanche? I think they have the potential to really stand out in this genre, but "PrækΩsmium" still needs some minor work.
Frostseele play a type of Atmospheric Black Metal that could rank up there with ColdWorld and that is certainly no small feat for a debut album. Frostseele manages to blend together wonderful musical textures to beautiful effect. The one thing I find fairly interesting about this genre is that it took a style that was basically fierce and unforgiving and crafted it into something that was actually quite beautiful to listen to. Sure, beautiful sounding passages have shown up in Black Metal for decades, but I feel the true blending is what we are experiencing today. "PrækΩsmium" starts our journey with some acoustic guitar that builds into a slow and solemn sounding Black Metal song. The rhythm section is beautifully arranged and enhanced fully with the lead guitars. One thing I'll say about Frostseele is that he is a master of layering and writing this music. The songs are absolutely epic in length, except for the closing track, so it really does take a master craftsman to pull this off. However, "LD 100" is more of an outro track it seems. I'm not sure this worked for a closing because it sort of felt like the album peters out rather closing on a fulfilling note.
There are is a minimal use of vocals on this album, so the tracks wind up being mostly instrumental. Frostseele manages to pull this off quite well, because the guitar arrangements are simply that good. I am very glad they didn't use the high pitched wails a la Burzum, like a lot of bands in this genre use. I feel like an attempt at this may have been made in "Du", but to a far less annoying degree. The vocals overall were alright, but nothing spectacular. I feel like there are some missed opportunities for vocals to enhance certain parts of songs, but the music holds up find without such treatment. Luckily there are no clean vocals on this album, I feel like that always ruins things and I love the contrast between harsh vocals and music that sounds beautiful like this. I can only hope he never decides to have clean vocals on anything... it will just ruin the creation.
Since the album is so heavily reliant on the guitar arrangements, I feel like they are too prominent in the mix. Okay, they're mixed fine, but the drums are too far in the background. I would expect the bass drum to be at least far more audible in the mix, but it is actually fairly buried. The cymbals seem to be in there quite well, but for some reason a few parts of the kit got lost in the mix. I find this an odd turn of events, since everything else is actually mixed quite well.
Overall this is actually a very wonderful listen, despite very minor points of contention. If you want a decent picture of this band, I would say it takes elements from Wolves in the Throne Room and ColdWorld. They blend some piano, acoustic guitar, and violin into the mix, so it makes for a very interesting listen. Frostseele is a great writer and I hope that we can see him progress even more in the future. A must hear for sure!