This week I seem to be on a roll with the Bandcamp artists. A few days ago I came across the Spanish black metal band Frozen Dawn and their second album, “Those of the Cursed Light.” As with Crypt of Silence a few days before, I saw Frozen Dawn on a list of new releases, I listened to a song on YouTube, and immediately knew I wanted to hear more.
I followed my usual method of operations when trying to track down an album. I first checked my email to see if I’d received a promo, then I checked iTunes, Amazon, and finally my old stand-by, Bandcamp. More often than not lately, Bandcamp ends up having an obscure band that I’m looking for; I love that site. Aside from being able to find bands one doesn’t find elsewhere, the cool thing about Bandcamp is that most of the albums on there are priced a couple bucks below what you would pay at someplace like iTunes.
I found Frozen Dawn on Bandcamp and bought a copy of “Those of the Cursed Light.” As I began listening to the album I got more and more excited. Sometimes when I hear a cool song on YouTube the rest of the album can’t maintain the same level of quality, but such was not the case with Frozen Dawn. Front to back “Those of the Cursed Light” is a solid album full of old school style black metal with a slightly progressive and modern production.
If I may borrow from the band’s bio page, I think it does a great job of describing their sound: “Frozen Dawn is a Spanish band that performs a cold old school black metal, in the style of the first black metal bands that emerged during the 90s in Norway and Sweden. Its main influences are bands like Satyricon, Dissection, Darkthrone, Dark Fortress, Watain and Necrophobic.” I’m not as sure about the last few bands, but I really hear the Satyricon and Dissection influence, and I’d like to think maybe some Emperor as well in the guitar playing.
One of the things I like so much about Frozen Dawn’s sound is that they utilize the traditional thin and cold sounding black metal production that doesn’t use much low end. As a result the songs have a sharp and cutting sound that I, for one, enjoy very much. However, they do not sacrifice production quality in attaining this sound; the songs are still very clear and well mixed with a bright presence that makes up for a lack of low-end punch. This takes the old school sound and gives it a cleaner more modern sound and I whole-heartedly approve.
The harsh vocal range doesn’t really vary all that much, which might be an issue on a lesser release, but given how well the vocals slice through the music, and the fact that they just sound really good, I don’t find this to be a problem. The guitars are probably one of my favorite things about this album; at times they use a very basic stripped-down 90s black metal style, which I’ve always liked, but they also do lots of those crazy fast melodic runs which are a staple of early black metal. Combine that playing with a nice crisp, clear production sound and I am a happy man.
“Those of the Cursed Light” makes me long for more albums in this style. I was very, very impressed by this release, and when I finished my first listen through, I went right back to Bandcamp and picked up their 2011 first album, “The Old Prophecy of Winterland.” The first album isn’t quite as polished as “Those of the Cursed Light” but it is still far and away better than so many black metal albums I hear. Do yourself a favor: head over to Bandcamp and pick up both these albums. If you enjoy classic black metal you will not be disappointed. Check out the video for the track “Circles of Frostbitten Ice.”