Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2014
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Ingenious arrangements, though a bit cheesy. - 85%

Zodijackyl, July 12th, 2012

Frost Giant put together an interesting and unique blend of styles that were prominent in the early-mid 2000s yet somehow weren't beaten to death hard enough to prevent a band from coming up with a good blend of them. Any comparisons that follow come with the caveat that it's not just a lame clone of those bands as so many are, rather I'm using them for reference in a positive way.

The style is a mix of the melodic hardcore side of early metalcore - simple and catchy guitar parts, energetic songs with fast d-beats, and shouted vocals mixed with gang vocals, except rather than hardcore gang vocals, there are harmonized sung choruses that utilize the rhythmic and melodic styles commonly found in European folk music that gets mixed with metal. Thankfully, there are no gimmicks to the folk side, no bagpipes, accordions, or costumed dancers, just some nice harmonized vocal parts. There don't need to be any gimmicks, because there are actually guitar riffs.

The vocals take the lead most of the time, but the guitars lead more towards being an active supporting cast that can take the lead at times, like on Fates Warning's early stuff, rather than being stagnant boring chugging that could occasionally burst into a harmonized lead, like Ensiferum or one of the dozens of forgettable bands that all produce the same crap. Enough complaining about that stuff, if Frost Giant produced crappy folk metal that sounded like Ensiferum, this review would look like my recent review of their fellow Pennsylvanian's Lör with words like "disjointed" replaced with "stagnant". Frost Giant are none of those, except Pennsylvanian.

The vocals are a bit inconsistent - the variety is welcome in that it prevents the music from being stagnant and makes up a lot of the character of the band. They vary from huge, sung choruses that sound like a band of vikings all singing while playing, to a smoothed-out hardcore shout like Ray from Full Blown Chaos, but less percussive. FG and FBC both have fat, bald, bearded hardcore shouters with lots of tattoos fronting the bands, and both of them are pretty damn good so it's a valid comparison even if this guy is much more dynamic. The vocals also sound a bit spoken at times, specifically in the introduction to one song where a nice harmony isn't emphasized and over-pronounced like many great vocalists take the liberty to do.

The style isn't easy to pigeonhole, but it's possible to describe via a series of references to bands that you have probably heard of. The folk influence seems to primarily come from how it appears in metal, and it is almost exclusively heard in the vocal arrangements - harmonies and rhythms. The music is a mix of melodic death/power metal - think of Children of Bodom circa "Follow the Reaper", with less lead guitar work like the earlier stuff and none of the boring chugging/groove stuff that became prominent later. The hardcore essence is something like the melodic hardcore style of AFI in 1999 but happy instead of gloomy, but really not like the band before or after that. The upbeat and powerful style also reminds me of the DC hardcore band Battery. The feeling that folk metal choruses are replacing gang shouts in old school hardcore describes it pretty well, and that is awesome.

The production is clean, the vocals are sharp and precise, but don't feel excessively polished. The guitar tone has bite, and it fits in the mix quite well. The drums sound mechanical, at times the cymbals stand out and I'm pretty sure it's a drum machine, although the band apparently has a real drummer. Regardless of that, at times it sounds like some of the drums are recorded with microphones that have the dynamic range of a light switch. They don't stand out too much, and other than a few moments, they're solid.

There's a cover of a contemporary pop song, but I'm not going to go into much detail because I just wrote a bunch of words talking about how this band is different from Children of Bodom. It sounds like heavily produced pop punk played by an extreme flower metal band, the band does little to adapt it to their style, and the singer finally finds something that he doesn't do well. Since I'm pretending this doesn't exist, this EP is awesome all around.

Frost Giant put together a surprisingly strong blend of styles that have otherwise been worn out in recent memory. Creative arrangements and writing highlight a very good band and a versatile vocalist, perhaps exemplified by how they polish some old school metalcore and replace gang shouts with folk metal vocal harmonies and breakdowns with melodic death/power metal. Perhaps the length of the EP format serves them well, because the four songs offer enough variety to be refreshing, but not enough to be wandering or misdirected. Highly recommended if you enjoyed listening to music between 2000 and 2005.