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Better but still pretty weak - 55%

Noktorn, April 8th, 2010

I suppose this is marginally better than 'Black Abhorrent Metal'; I can at least remember some of the riffs (the opening riff of 'Ancient Spell Of Doom' being a real traditional German melodic black killer) and the band has focused their sound down to a more precise formula, but that formula is still entirely bland and plain. The three years since that previous demo have clearly not been kind to Fiend, as though they have focused their sound into something more precise and listenable, there's still a distinct lack of original ideas on display and there's very little to elevate this release above anything else in black metal today.

'Black Abhorrent Metal' was a pretty incoherent mash-up of Norwegian grimness, black'n'roll, more technical and more primitive styles, and seemingly everything else in black metal. 'Freezing Funeral Serenades', on the other hand, is a pretty straightforward mix of Norwegian and German styles. A racing drum machine (a new feature for the band) provides a layer of thrash beats that the rather thin, unadorned guitar tone plays over, churning out simple tremolo numbers primarily derived from Mayhem or any number of German melodic black metal bands. Vocals, like previously in the band's career, are a simple shriek just as plain as the rest of the music. Admittedly, the songwriting here is more coherent than on the last material of the band I've heard; they have some actual direction and seem to revolve around a logical set of ideas, but those ideas are just so boring and overused in black metal that they're not really worth hearing.

To the band's mild credit, this is the best release I've heard from them, but that really doesn't mean anything; 'Freezing Funeral Serenades' is still an incredibly bland release that, save for a few riffs, would be a total loss. Even with those bright moments I can't recommend this to any but the most die-hard black metal fans. There's simply too much out there that's better to spend your time and money on this.

High Production but fairly boring. - 55%

AnakwanarSek, January 9th, 2007

Fiend seems to be all about precision and slick production. The drums are done by a machine and well executed, though the kick is a bit high in the mix. The opening track, "Ancient Spell of Doom" plays with some kick drum stop and starts where the guitar drops in and out. I wasn't quite expecting it. The bass guitar is mixed in well and follows with the rhythm of the guitar pretty much to a note. Vocals are typical, but clear and loud.

The second track is a bit repetitive and almost boring. The drums don't really seem to keep up toward the end. Maybe this shows a limitations in programming ability, but at any rate It sounds a bit off. By the time you hear "frostgrave" you're pretty well versed on the sound and what you're being offered. The kick drum is really, really loud on this song in particular. Maybe Fiend stands for "bass fiend"! Hah. It's just a bit distracting to tell the truth. The ending has a nice haunting guitar line but it's very short.

The last track, "Funeral Serenade" is a bit more dynamic than the last two and the swinging chord progressions break up a bit with some solo like guitar tinkering. It's a well layered song. There is even a bit of a guitar solo a minute and half in.

Not a bad effort here, but nothing amazing either. This EP isn't really that dark or grim because of the crystal production. If you're a fan of the Abyss you might like this, but it's not nearly as oppressive or blistering as the abyss.