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Frosthelm – Pyrhhic Award winner

by James Brizuela at 29 May 2019, 2:23 AM

FROSTHELM, a thrashened black metal outfit out of North Dakota, return with their second full length album, “Pyrrhic”. With crushing guitar riffs, brutal blast beats, and adding elements of thrash and death metal, FROSTHELM present an accomplished heavy and melodic sophomore album. The opening track “A Gift of Razors” kicks off the album in the perfect way, showcasing a slowed down melody that immediately turns into a blistering thrash-like song. Not typical to the black metal styled music, the second track “Serpentine Embrace” begins with a brutal opening that sounds like it came from a Cannibal Corpse album. I always appreciate when bands can blend sub genres into a fluid way.  Also, something that you don’t often hear is the presence of more than one guitar solo in a song. I love that element in this track. “Serpentine Embrace” is the amalgamation of the album as it presents the bands’ ability to put together a harmonious blending of thrash and black metal that delivers in every way possible. “The Sorceress” slows things down a bit but still shows off some beautifully done guitar work. The end of the track is what intrigues me most as the harrowing vocals are placed over a very skillfully done guitar solo. Even when the tempo is brought down a bit, the technicality of the musicianship shines.

There is something special about being able to deliver a simplistic melody that still has the ability to present such a well-rounded sound like in the track, “Immortal Nightfall / A Dreamless Lust. The chunky bass line and simplified drum beat leading back into the main tempo of the track is incredible. This track has so many elements to it that I was completely taken back by the end. The instrumental track “Pyrrhic I: Hollow” starts off with a beautiful melody that falls right back into the technical guitar work that has been present in the entirety of the album. I loved the option that band took in adding an instrumental track to this album. You can never go wrong with just having some fun and showcasing some musicianship. At least to me, that’s what this track represents. The final track on the album, “Pyrrhic II: Looming Dusk” ends the experience with a gritty and very black metal theme. But there is also a surprise that comes at the end of the track. An acoustic guitar is heard paired with some light drumming and clean vocals. I can’t say that I was prepared for it, but it seemed to fit so well. There was a great deal of charm in the way that it was crudely recorded.

Even though the production value for the entirety of the album is high, the crude ending did not bother me whatsoever. I found it to be very relaxing and gave me a sense of great relief. “Pyrrhic” is hands down one of the most technically sound black metal albums I have ever listened to. From start to finish I found myself impressed with all the elements that were put together in this album. I will definitely be listening to more of this album. I want to go back with a fine-tooth comb to catch all the other nuances that I missed while being blown away by the musicianship.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. A Gift of Razors
2. Serpentine Embrace
3. The Sorceress
4. Pisslord
5. Immortal Nightfall / A Dreamless Lust
6. Pyrrhic I: Hollow
7. Pyrrhic II: Looming Dusk
Bernard Pfliger – Vocals
James Cherry – Bass
Dakota Irwin – Guitar, Vocals
Brian Helm – Drums
Billy Zahn – Guitar
Record Label: Revenger Records


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Edited 04 December 2022

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