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Frijgard - Chapter Zero

Frijgard
Chapter Zero
by Gary Hernandez at 09 July 2019, 6:50 PM

It’s been five years since FRIJGARD released their second full-length album, “Bellum Aeternum Est.” The long wait ended June 14 with their unleashing of “Chapter Zero,” a dense slice of Blackened Metal which tells the story of a fated starship setting out to save the last inhabitants of earth.

Whenever I encounter a band that intrigues me, I like to backtrack through their discography to see how they have changed over time. FRIJGARD is one of those really satisfying bands whose trajectory has been steadily upwards since their demo days. With each album, FRIJGARD’s songwriting has matured and their sound has become crisper and heavier. Very early on they dropped the keyboards—always a wise move for a Metal band. Lyrically, they’ve moved from Pagan themes to historical wars and now to sci-fi. Lineup-wise, “Chapter Zero” sees the departure of Timo (guitars and vocals), the introduction of a new guitarist, Alex, and the addition of lead vocal duties to Sandro, bassist.

There are a lot of surprises with “Chapter Zero.” The first is just how good a vocalist Sandro is. His vocal styling is guttural, but clear and articulate. You won’t need a lyric sheet for this album. You can understand every word Sandro growls out. The second is how effortless this band can jump from melodic to thunder blasting to mosh-inducing riff grinding. This band shifts gears as smoothly as Harley Fat Boy, and twice as fast. The final surprise is that the album is all in English. This might annoy purists—previous FRIJGARD albums have been in German, including their demo—but you can’t fault a band for trying something new.

“Chapter Zero” is packed full of standout tracks. My personal favorite is “Blurry Horizon.” In this part of the story, the ship has crash landed on an inhospitable planet. From the wreckage emerges our heroine, fighting her way through the smoldering carnage. Sandro shouts, “Wake up, your time is yet to come / Fight your way through the ashes” which plays the dual purpose of moving the story forward as well as acting as a metal call to arms. Other massive tracks are “Crimson Skies,” “Red Lines Crossed,” and “Aftermath.”

If you have the extra funds, hit the FRIJGARD website and pick up their entire collection. If you just have enough for a single album, I highly recommend “Chapter Zero.” On one hand, it’s a great metal; and on the other hand, it tells a compelling sci-fi story. Either way, you really can’t go wrong.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Blazing Ark
2. Blurry Horizon
3. Falling Stars
4. Crimson Skies
5. Haven
6. Red Lines Crossed
7. Aftermath
8. Tilia 
Lineup:
Sandro - Bass, Vocals
Michael - Guitars
Alex - Guitars
Maxi - Drums
Record Label: Art Gates Records
     


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