Frail Grounds - Corrosion
Progressive Melodic Metal
5 songs (34'50")
Release year: 2008
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

I can argue with those who think charging 60 Norwegian Kroners (USD$11, we all know how US dollar is these days) for a first ever EP is an overreach. Not to mention that this debut release by Frail Grounds contains over 35 min of music, while some demo bands have nothing but a CDR and a torn case, these Norwegians poured their heart and soul into Corrosion, with professionalism reeking from every bit of this package, something not at all expected looking at the picture full with young faces.

All of the hard work and extra effort which went into booklet design and sound quality would have been in vain if this five-track EP was not interesting musically. Alas, it is, with Frail Grounds again displaying maturity beyond their years. Their songs are long involved progressive stories, all taking time to develop, but all leading to logical pinnacles. If the early efforts were focused on creating music in the style of Bruce Dickinson solo albums (riffing in After … and Darker Glory is so reminiscent of Iron Maiden), the band’s sound is quite a bit more today. Frail Grounds is a chameleon firmly planted in melodic heavy metal with equal parts progressive and extreme elements creeping in. You could find references to less thrashy not so in-your-face Nevermore, less rock song focused Evergrey, with synth and keyboards playing a prominent role in Corrosion, or even Dream Theater, with nowhere near the amount of wankery. The best comparison, however, I can personally give you is early Tad Morose, before the Swedes chose a more square power metal road.

Morten Sobyskogen, the main songwriter, founder and vocalist, can slither away or even growl (After …, War Against the Flesh), but his main ammo is a nicely harmonized high clean pitch, very much evoking Urban Breed. Just like the vocals, songs tend to go from melodic, not distorted, tremolo to classic gallops (Darker Glory), or from quick blasting moments to soaring melodies one can revel in (War Against the Flesh). Shaded is heavier, with a stompier breakdown and Eastern influences in the riffs. On this cut, the keyboards find their best position on the EP, contributing chords clear and fresh as the cold Northern rain. Shaded also has a middle dreamy section, only to have the listener awaken to a nightmare. Guitarist Trond Carlsen is very skilled, as he indulges, maybe overly sometimes, in protracted shredding sessions, Sweet Suffering and outro of War Against the Flesh being the prime examples.

To give in and immerse yourself in the flow of Corrosion, rather than overanalyze it, is actually a pleasant experience. These songs hold up well to multiple listens. Frail Grounds are ready for a professional record deal and would not disappoint. Sensory, whose name is synonymous with quality, could be a perfect place for these Norwegians. (I also wonder if drummer Emil Moen is a younger brother of Tristania’s mastermind Einar).

Killing Songs :
Darker Glory, Shaded
Alex quoted 82 / 100
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