Frozen Forest - Ancient Ritual
Self released
Melodic Black Metal
9 songs (52'50")
Release year: 2016
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

Sometimes I have to search long and hard for a next surprise unknown band. In the case of Croatian Frozen Forest, one of the bandmembers contacting me to sample their first full-length Ancient Ritual, was that lucky break which made this album fall into my hands. For a couple of weeks now I have been listening to Ancient Ritual and I am still amazed by the combination of maturity, quality and conviction emanating from these Croatians.

You can call Frozen Forest brand of black metal melodic, and even to a degree Dissection inspired, but I would be hard pressed to describe Ancient Ritual as chilled or frozen. Instead, while not warm by any means, especially dealing with the serious Satanism/anti-Christianity subject matter, the album is full of homey Earthiness, so representative of a few others Balkan (Cvinger, Bleeding Fist) or Eastern European (Cult of Fire) black metal collectives. Every instrument here contributes to the sound. The bass is super active, going on bass runs (Spider Cures Fever, Devil’s Grin Retaliation, Endless Cloud), and snappy thick. The drums are significantly up in the mix, constantly shifting their rhythmic signature from furious blasts to moderate pace pounding, reminding me in those sections of modern day Gorgoroth. Guitars are absolutely prominent above this bottom end maelstrom, sometimes relying on tremolo, but not a constant indiscernible buzzsaw sound, and even bordering on clean in a few moments. The melodies and acrobatic soloing are always timely and never self-ingratiating, instead fitting the overall composition flow. Flying off the fret one moment (Cold Light Oblivion, Claws of Infinity), Frozen Forest shows range on an epic intro a la Dark Tranquillity on Isola dei Morti, or plays looser pit raising thrash on Evil Metal. From thrash splashes (Spider Cures Fever, Devil’s Grin Retaliation, Glorious Sun) to some Finnish filth (Glorious Sun) to some NWOBHM (Wisdom of the Accuser) to morose and apocalyptic feeling (Endless Cloud), Frozen Forest best quality may be representing the whole gamut of emotions, shifting throughout Ancient Ritual for over 50 min worth of music, never falling in a rut. That could definitely be the main reason that, after hearing the album a few times to be able to write this review, I continued listening to it just to enjoy it for my own selfish gratification.

Killing Songs :
Devil's Grin Retaliation, Cold Light Oblivion, Claws of Infinity, Endless Cloud
Alex quoted 83 / 100
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