Tuesday, December 18, 2012

EP Review: The Northwinds Rend Flesh by Frosthelm - 8.5/10

       Frosthelm's first release, The Northwinds Rend Flesh came out of nowhere (quite literally) and blew my eardrums through my brain and out the other side. Hailing from North Dakota, Frosthelm pumps out blackened thrash in the vein of Skeletonwitch, and does so with a vengeance. The EP's vocals are attributed to one man, and if Tyler Pfliger is the sole purveyor of Frosthelm's great range of vocals styles, then the man is a talent above and beyond many who have been in the game for many times as long. The frantic guitar work is contributed by Dakota Irwin, and are backed by Jim Cherry on bass. Setting a technically sound foundation of brutal kicks and quick as bullets beats is Ji Peterson. Ji does the drumming on this album, but Brian Helm has taken over since then.

       Introducing Frosthelm to the world, The Northwinds Rend Flesh has four offerings, the first of which is the title track. Channeling the desolation of their frigid North Dakota home and the frozen Scandinavian wilds, this track sets a good foundation for the extreme blackened thrash that the rest of the album serves up at a break neck pace. Presenting the listener with a mix of deep, throaty growls, mid range and high range screams, no song is more perfectly suited to represent what Frosthelm is all about. This is followed up by "Goblindriver", which officially kicks off the thrash party. The introduction of which, a mix of unrelenting guitar work and blasting drums, couldn't be more perfect for setting the song into violent motion. After about a minute of thrash bliss, the song lets up, freeing the listeners ear to acclimate to the jarring shift into what is extremely reminiscent of old school Metallica (save for the vocals, which remain as ferocious as before).

       From here we move into "Reaping The Seeds Of Corruption", wherein you can really hear Frosthelm's black metal influences bleed through. The defining feature of this track is the intense drum work, which serves to drive the song into a brutal frenzy, even into the more mundane, sedated guitar sections. Finally we are presented with "Damage Over Time", the defining track of the The Northwinds Rend Flesh. Amazing riffs make this song stick in your head like a musical battleaxe, and as the track progresses all of the individual elements come together as a glorious whole, making this song a standout among not only this EP, but a whole range of recent releases.

       For me, this EP was over way too soon. I could have easily listened to ten or more tracks and not have become bored. If I had to gripe about something, then it would be that, at times, the vocals became completely over the top, bordering on the comedic. I'll be looking forward to a full release from Frosthelm, but for the time being I will get by with these four amazing songs. In only a few tracks, these guys have shown what they can do, and what they can do is kick your ass and drag your corpse, bloodied and broken, through the cold, unforgiving tundra.

Rating - 8.5/10
Track Listing

1. The Northwinds Rend Flesh
2. Goblindriver
3. Reaping the Seeds of Corruption
4. Damage Over Time



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