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Enslaved has always been a band that is constantly and progressively re-inventing their sound. Every album has been a step up (or step down in dissident opinions) in terms of writing, musicianship, and maturity. While “Frost” is one of their earlier releases, it is a timeless piece of art embodying a raw attitude that still holds true to this day.
Compared to their epic and freshman full length release, Vikingligr Veldi, “Frost” is a progression. Trym Torson’s drum work is spot-on, offering a dynamic variety of fills, blast beats, and double bass work. Ivar Bjørnson’s guitar playing, while nothing absurdly technical, creates a perfectly droned atmosphere that compliments Grutle Kjellson’s bass work nicely. “Frost” is to the point – each song being crafted around what is essential to be heard instead of forced or overplayed composition found on their previous release. Much of the fat has been cut from the songs, avoiding repetition while getting to more dynamic transitions and movements in each individual piece.
The use of keyboards and various folk instruments always add extra flavor to an Enslaved record and “Frost” is no exception. “Yggdrasil” presents to the listener an array of thoughtful composition and instrumentation showing the band member’s dexterity, while the opening track “Frost” creates a chilling and icy atmosphere with the use of more celestial orchestrated voices. Instead of taking away or distracting the listener from the core elements of the song, these instruments present a different side to the songwriting providing atmosphere.
“Frost” is definitely an essential album not only for heavy metal fans but for music aficionados as well. Anyone can appreciate this piece of art by focusing on the well thought out composition and becoming completely immersed in the beautiful atmosphere. To new listeners who are used to the later, more progressive Enslaved work, “Frost” may be a bit hard to swallow on the first few spins. Simply open your mind and let the music speak for itself – it is quite easy to become addicted to this.