Far Beyond - A Frozen Flame of Ice
Self released
(slightly Gothic and) Moody Melodeath
6 songs (51'16)
Release year: 2016
Reviewed by Chris
Album of the Year V2
I know I rarely review lately and I’m sorry about that, but having shifted my entire life in trying to build a SciFi novel writing career as had a negative impact in the amount of time I can listen to new material and find time to write reviews on the site my brother and I created back in early 2000. Has it been 16 years already? I guess it has... Still, in the last fourteen months I’ve released 4 new full size science fiction novels and a novella in the same universe, so yeah, reviewing has been next to impossible to get back into that busy schedule. And I won’t lie to you, I enjoy writing books about a hundred times more than I enjoy writing reviews. Still, when I heard Far Beyond was about to release a new album, I knew it in my guts I owe it to myself to review it, so here it comes.

It seems it’s been forever since Far Beyond, the brain child of musical genius (as far as I’m concerned that is) Eugen Dodenhoeft from Germany has released a new album called A Frozen Flame of Ice. While I was not a huge fan of the very first album, too many black metal influences for me, his follow-up EP called Songs of Sorrow and Hope, which I reviewed on the site was a killer EP. But I’ve listened to it to death, literally, to the point where I needed to wait a few months in between listens to fully enjoy it in the last few years. I still think it has it’s place in my top 25 albums though. Three out of the four songs on it were really great, with two of them being instant classics. So it was with great anticipation and perhaps even unmasked expectations that I delved into A Frozen Flame of Ice.

Speaking of expectations I was worried the album wouldn’t match them, but it didn’t take long to put my fears to rest. After three minutes I knew I would love the album. It starts with a killer and epic song called Evernight part I that clocks at nearly 12 minutes! What a way to start an album my friends. The album contains 6 songs but they’re all long ones except Last Farewell, which is the “shorter" song at couple of seconds short of 6 minutes. The others are all 8 to 8 and a half minutes long. So basically most of the songs are long and epic one and the album is over fifty minutes total.

Far Beyond is very unique. The best way to describe would be melodeath with a pinch of gothic mood. Sorrow is part of Eugen’ sound also. Things gets intense in most songs and I really love that this band elicits a lot of emotion while I listen to it, the mark of musical genius if you ask me. There’s also a healthy dose of electronic arrangements, some of them quite orchestral. Where Far Beyond shines is in it’s guitar work, and I must command Eugen for his fantastic riffs and guitar melodies. But the vocals, both clear and harsh, are second to steal the show here. If I would have to sum up Far Beyond with just two words, I would have to say Epically Sorrowful, or Sorrowfully Epic. 

I love that the songs are progressive in nature, it’s not your usual metal song structure, there is tempo changes, alternating between fast and slower moments throughout all of the songs, usually climaxing into extremely powerful and emotionally charged choruses. And those who read my reviews for years know how much of a sucker I am for a good chorus. It can make or break a song as far as I’m concerned, but Far Beyond excels in delivering those.

This album is very layered, and you can tell Eugen took a very long time crafting his masterpiece. I sense a perfectionist in him, and this results in songs that are never predictable but always epic and highly melodic. I love how he makes his guitars cry at the right moments. You have to understand that pretty much 98% of this album has been created, played, recorded and mastered by Eugen himself. He received a little help in some back vocals and a few guitar solos. That’s about it. The rest is all made by him and that alone is just unbelievable to me. 

If you like bands like Wintersun, Eternal Tears of Sorrow or Ensiferum, you should feel right at home with Far Beyond. Eugen is one of those musical genius like Jari Maleempa as far as I’m concerned, and it amazes me how much emotion is transmitted through his music. It’s a shame he is not more well known in the metal scene, as I truly believe he should be at the very least as known as the aforementioned bands. Hopefully his hard work and talent will be recognized by more people soon. 

The album will be available on September 1st, 2016 on BandCamp & iTunes. You can already pre-order the album on BandCamp as well as to listen to one of the songs (the 2nd on the album) called The Song Remains The Same, which is an awesome track, even though I slightly prefer others on the album. But it’s one of these albums that I consider a masterpiece from beginning to end. There is no filler, not a minute, heck not even a single second I would skip. The album will be available in limited digipack as well as a super limited digital edition as well. I will get both despite the fact that my budget for music is low nowadays. Once again I prove I can’t write a short and to the point review, I guess that’s why I write novels now (sorry about that :) ). A Frozen Flame of Ice is without a doubt my current favorite album for 2016. I know it’s still early, but I also know will enjoy this album for years to come, and I truly hope Eugen gets more recognition so he can deliver albums more often in the future. I already can’t wait to hear what he comes with next (I guess the next Euphoreon album, another project he works with singer/songwriter Matt Summerville, another underrated killer band right there!), but if the improvements in his music keep evolving at such an impressive pace with each and every new album, I can only imagine what he will come up with next. In any case it WILL be a long wait. Do yourself a favor and go listen to the song on BandCamp right now, bearing in mind that it’s not even in the top 4 tracks on the album (imho). A truly beautiful and emotionally charged album that no metal fan should miss.
Killing Songs :
Every single one of them, but my favorites are Evernight part I & II, A Frozen Flame of Ice and Unrelenting Force.
Chris quoted 96 / 100
Other albums by Far Beyond that we have reviewed:
Far Beyond - Songs of Hope and Sorrow reviewed by Chris and quoted 90 / 100
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