posted on 12/2009 By:
Obvious anus jokes aside, a name like Rimfrost at least lets you know pretty clearly what you’re going to get. The band call it Scandinavian black metal. Because that’s where they’re from and that’s what they play. The Swedes’ debut album, A Frozen World Unknown, was five songs of unabashed Immortal worship that ripped and rocked with all the cold ferocity of that band’s mid-period stuff. A bunch of teens at the time, Rimfrost made their first LP a little more than mere tribute by playing in that borrowed style with sincerity and tenacity. Now their second album, Veraldar Nagli, provides the opportunity to answer the inevitable question of whether these corpse-painted emulators found enough inspiration from within to grow beyond the bounds of their mentors.
It’s clear from the first notes of the opening title track that, though this new record was forged in the fires of the northern black, its songs were hewn with the tools of melodic death metal. Even as the Immortal inspiration remains, several new influences are at play here, from Amon Amarth to Quo Vadis, and they pay respectful tribute to Bathory on “Legacy Through Blood.” So, while they are obviously comfortable bringing the full on assault of icy tremolo and light-speed blast beats, Rimfrost also make ample use of epic melody and tight, choppy riffing. And they give it all shape with dynamic variations of tempo and time that reveal maturation in songwriting, especially on closing pair, “Scandinavium” and “Void of Time.” Veraldar Nagli’s major strength, much like its predecessor, emanates from Rimfrost’s natural knack for rippin’ riffs but the band has clearly grown in their ability to build them into compelling songs. Hravn’s vocals have also improved, as he has taken his approach from nearly exact Abbath imitation to embrace a wider array of higher and lower pitched growls and even some heroic clean vocals in the spirit of Moonsorrow. Rimfrost’s time at Sonic Train Studios with Peter Laustsen and Andy Larocque resulted in a record that sounds sharp and clear. The guitars have plenty of rimy grit and the balance of these with the heft of the rhythm section creates an expansive sound, though the bass guitar could use a little more love, as usual.
It would have been very easy for Rimfrost to rest on the strength of their riffs. A sequel to the debut might have been satisfying enough to garner a little more attention and perhaps even provide some momentum along the path previously blazed by Immortal. As it stands, they clearly are not content to ride those coattails, and while their sound continues to draw from stalwarts in the field, it owes much less today than it did three years ago. This still young band of Swedes seem primed to make their own indelible mark on the world of heavy metal. Take heed.
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