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Enter the Underdog - 80%

thejoker, August 31st, 2011

With Vaakevandring being a long-distant and extremely cherished memory, when it comes to the current acts in Norwegian unblack, it's always Antestor that hogs the spotlight. Frosthardr, that other Norwegian Christian black metal band, chooses instead to sulk in the darkening woods whilst Antestor hogs all the glory upon the mountain tops. It's sad in a sense, but to be expected - most casual black metal fans will take more kindly to Antestor's more polished and melodic sound than a band as defiantly old-school in sound such as Frosthardr.

Frosthardr seem to have little time or care for frills - the band plays traditional, old-school black metal with a certain reverence akin to latter-day Darkthrone or Carpathian Forest's mid-period, with a little Satyricon thrown in. Unlike the Swedish sound, Frosthardr don't overload on blast beats or raging speed - everything here is very, very minimal. Guitars, bass, drums, vocals, with a few very minor keyboard parts here and there, all played with a real reverential nod to the past. Jokull's vocals are as grim as it gets, frostbitten and haggard-sounding, and defiantly wretched. Instruments are all played well, with the guitars opting for more of a middle ground between abrasive and chunky. Drums are very old-school in sound, not tinny or overly tight but definitely metallic.

Really, "Makteslos" is just a three-song EP much like their latest release "Varg". The first and last tracks are very fitting and ferocious-sounding industrial noise-fests, "Koma" and "Ravneskrik" speed things up a little, and "Death = My Relief" slows things down to a doomish crawl (imagine a black metal band imitating Incantation).

Overall, not a spectacular release, but a promising one. It's good to see a band that is very retro in sound, yet not simply succumbing to Darkthrone-imitation, instead creating their own sound that still hearkens back to black metal's turgid past.

A Pretty Solid Release - 95%

josephatx, July 3rd, 2008

The Maktesløs EP by Frosthardr is a pretty decent venture into a realm that follows a black/viking metal theme. When looking at the track list, you see five tracks, but in reality what you have is an industrial sounding intro and an industrial sounding closer. So what you actually have is three tracks and two one minute fillers (that don't really fit with the real material in my opinion).

The production used on the album is pretty decent. They obviously went for the retro black metal sound of the early 90s on purpose, and it works quite well with the material. It sounds just like any recording you would have found during the times of Euronymous and Mayhem. This can be a turn off for those who favor the new, cleaner sounding recordings of Dimmu Borgir, Dark Fortress, or Naglfar (to name a few), who spend time polishing their sound in a recording studio; but I myself enjoy the old "recorded in a few days" feel. Every instrument and the vocals are easily distinguishable, so that's all that matters to me.

The music itself is a black/viking metal sound in the vein of Taake. In fact, when listening to this ep, Taake is a thought that continually comes to mind. There is that familiar buzzing guitar sound that goes through desolate riffing, to the more epic sounding landscapes commonly associated with the more viking/folk side of metal. Furthermore, Frosthardr does experiment with a few spots that get more in the progressive realm (think Exhausted Prayer).

The guitars paint a vivid picture throughout the tracks. When they are grim, you feel the icy chill and depressing atmosphere. When they are in the viking phase, you are ready to head off into war. The vocals are more or less your typical black metal highs with a seldom death growl. Nothing spectacular about the vocals, but they do accommodate the music, so there is no room to complain.

Overall, this ep is well put together and likeable in several aspects (if you can get past their Christian beliefs - which is never a bother of mine). My only complaint is that there are only three tracks of real music, but that's why it is an ep after all. I definitely recommend this for anyone who is a fan of epic black/viking metal in the vein of Taake and Windir.