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Frozen Crown > Winterbane > Reviews > TrooperEd
Frozen Crown - Winterbane

Better than Fallen King, not quite as good as Crowned IN Frost - 82%

TrooperEd, November 21st, 2021
Written based on this version: 2021, CD, Scarlet Records (Digipak)

If you had played me this album and told me nothing had changed about the bands lineup, I'd have believed you. Maybe I'd have thought Alberto took a couple of jazz drum lessons here and there, but Frozen Crown very much still sounds like Frozen Crown without Alberto, Fillipo, or Thalia. On the later, much as I hate to ruin the magic, she had precisely one lead appearance, Kings. That's right on Crowned In Frost, she didn't couldn't be arsed to show up to record one lead. So out goes them, in comes Ikki, Nisso and Fabiola, who is called Sheena. Why is she called Sheena? Don't know.

When Ultraboris was active talked about an album condition called "Defenders of the Faith syndrome." This is a syndrome where the album starts off with a really strong run of songs, and then kind of peters out at the end. That's what we have here. Which isn't to say the second half is awful, just not as strong. Now don't be thinking the band has wimped out due to a lineup change. Because of a female-centricity most people want to call Frozen Crown a symphonic power metal band. I call them a power metal band with subtle thrash tendencies. Look no further than Neverending, which was an early Overkill scorcher with a Rust In Peace sound that just happened to have a female singer. Same story here, Embrace The Night starts the whole album off with a proper thrash riff. Off the top of my head none of these songs do that soft breakdown shit that a lot of these bands seem to do either.

The previous review complains that the vocal harmonies between Giada and Federico are gone, replaced by a multi-tracked Giada. After reading this I couldn't unhear it myself, but Federico claimed an online interview that this claim was preposterous and that their vocal harmonies are still intact. I don't know if this is a matter of the choruses being more memorable on previous albums or just the harmonies being mic'd wrong, but they aren't quite popping like they did on Lost In Time, In The Dark etc.,. The stupid death metal vocals are here too, although once again they are confined to two songs. In my opinion Federico should leave those to Voulturian, since that's the more "modern" project of his.

Highlights: The Lone Stranger is the Iron Maiden song we've been wanting them to write for over a decade. It comes in, smashes everything with devastating melody combined with a half gallap/half bounce and then leaves. Incidentally, it's also the final song of the opening run of tracks I was refering to earlier. First single Far Beyond takes a hard look at signature song Neverending and says "yeah we can go faster than that" and scorches through at such a speed that makes Matt Pike want to re-shroom. Then there's Angels In Disguise, the duet with Voulturian lass Federica Lanna, which is the catchiest song on the album, and the thing I love is that Federico remembers solos in every song or no metal at all, wimps and Disney princesses leave the hall.

Of the others, like I said, I don't like it when Federico's growls show up in Frozen Crown, but I have to admit that a song like Winterfall is so good I can look past it. Crown Eternal and Blood On The Snow are no Winterfall. Crown Eternal seems to take its cues from mid 00's metalcore/melodic death metal (Hey Patrick what am I? Stupid? No I'm Texas! What's the difference?). Now, I think this would have been a brilliant subversion of that riffing style if it was just Giada and Federico singing the whole time, but alas that's not what happens here. There's a Priest cover here too, which the purist in me appreciates, but Giada just doesn't sound menacing here. The whisper breakdown in particular, she sounds like she's telling a really naughty story rather than fortelling some poor shmuck's final moments.

Nonetheless, if you like Fallen King and Crowned in Frost, you'll love this. Get it anyway, if for no other reason to get a good laugh at who they thought was "the coolest guy in metal" in the liner notes.