Frozen Ocean - A Perfect Solitude
Wolfsgrimm Records
Atmospheric Blackened Drone/Noise
7 songs (43'01")
Release year: 2012
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

I hate to be sounding like a homey giving all of the records from Ukraine and Russia I reviewed recently high grades. But, hey, if I think the quality is there I am happy to prop up the banner. And it is pleasing to no end that the quality HAS BEEN there as of late, whether the album is a self-issue or supported by a small label.

Russia’s Frozen Ocean A Perfect Solitude actually took a while to get here, but the wait was worth it. Perhaps it is the timing of when A Perfect Solitude and my car player have met (on a cold blustery snowstormy day), but the story woven on this album by a single human being Vaarwel left a mark. Billed as an ambient atmospheric black metal, I have found the album drifting close to the noise and drone edge of things, and all tracks, except a pair, being instrumental helped to form that impression.

It was actually an interesting and intriguing pleasure to listen to a track first, try to guess its meaning and then check that supposition against an actual title. Some of them are superbly on the money conveying the sounds. Sure enough, the atmospheric layerings, the reverberating bass tones, the cold droplets of synthesizers are nothing new. Yet in the hands, eyes and ears of Vaarwel they combine to amount for something special. The rumbling sense of dread on Broken Window is, well, dreadful. Many have done rain previously, but before fuzzy riffs kick in on Somewhere Clouds Debark rain by Frozen Ocean is bone chilling cold and penetrating. Camomiles will give a sense of uncontrollable freefall before Unavailing Steps on Perpetual will startle you, stopping the aforementioned fall with the hardest of landings. The record closes with Cleavage and Emission, the sounds of a busy hospital ICU room before and after the patient crosses over to the other side to meet the angels.

It is actually the vocalized tracks on A Perfect Solitude which I found less appealing. The riffs of Somewhere Clouds Debark layered onto the fuzzy background with the dejected withdrawn voice is the closest to the standard atmospheric black metal palette. Unavailing Steps on Perpetual is of more defined gothic rock structure, the androgynous robotic voice reminding of Tiamat.

The centerpiece for me, as strange as it might sound, were the two middle compositions A Sunflower on the Prison Backyard and Mare Imbrium, the instrumental drone epic and Alcest reminiscent euphoric brightness carried by the most beautiful melody, respectively. With A Sunflower on the Prison Backyard I have not heard a song in a long time where the title was so descriptive of the content. From magma bubbling cavern the tenderest of flowers (represented by keyboards) emerges, only to run into the heaviest grinding humongous slow-plowing guitar riffs, the prison boot stomps suffocating the beauty. Growing louder and more alarmist, the song develops with a full percussion leaving us at a cliffhanger, having to decide by ourselves which force is going to win. Frozen Ocean is actually good at cliffhangers, the whole record not settled whether the patient was going to make it at the end of Cleavage and Emission.

Recommended, if you are in the mood to make your conclusions whether this drone will float your boat.

Killing Songs :
A Sunflower on the Prison Backyard, Mare Imbrium
Alex quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Frozen Ocean that we have reviewed:
Frozen Ocean - The Prowess of Dormition reviewed by Alex and quoted 79 / 100
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