The Decline Of The Enlightened Gods
Review by Felix on April 25, 2023.
Frozen Dawn from sunny Spain – sometimes the combination of origin and genre rules lead to strange results. Either way, nobody can deny the icy flavour in the sound of the band from the Iberian Peninsula. And it is not vanilla or chocolate, but Necrophobic ice cream. I am sorry that I mention the main influence of Frozen Dawn immediately, but especially the wonderful 'Wanderer Of Times' is heavily inspired by the Swedish authority. The degree of velocity, the spooky, expressive guitar lines and the smooth flow – Sebastian Ramstedt’s must have two half-brothers in Spain and one in the Netherlands (the drummer). That’s good, because they are technically competent, their song-writing skills are very profound and the entire layout of their (already fourth) full-length speaks for their attention to detail.
The Decline Of The Enlightened Gods relies on a very clean sound, but here clean does not mean harmless. The transparency of the mix does not kill the natural aggression of Frozen Dawn. Furthermore, it does not prevent the right atmosphere. In particular 'Frozen Kings' with its fine melodies and the harmonic leads provide the listener with inspiring thoughts. Nevertheless, The Decline… works as a whole. Frozen Dawn have a knack for arrangements that find the golden centre between progressive confusion and boring conventionalism. Therefore the level of variety does not affect the accessibility of the single songs in a negative manner. The single parts of the songs blend seamlessly with each other. Furthermore, the occasionally rather excessive solos are cleverly embedded.
Of course, the calm intermezzo ('The Fall Of Aeons') and the cover song are more or less useless. 'Blinded By Light, Enlightend By Darkness' is a great monument, no doubt about it, but I guess we have already known its original (and best) version. Anyway, I appreciate the fact that Frozen Dawn do not run out of breath during their own eight full songs. Additionally, they are able to create epic songs without falling victim to their own ambitions. Given this situation, it feels good to experience that the bombastic 'Cosmic Black Chaos' on position seven does not stand in the shadow of songs such as 'Black Reign Awaits' on the third place of the song list. Instead, both pieces reveal the mature approach of a band that seems to know its trade very well. From this follows that dynamic, density and belligerence do not come of badly.
Maybe the final kick is missing from time to time, but this minor flaw cannot hide the fact that The Decline… is full of devotion, integrity and creative thoughts. Naturally, Necrophobic cannot be beaten on their own territory, but honour to whom honour is due: the business card of Frozen Dawn which they give us in form of this full-length should not be misplaced. Maybe they allow themselves 10% more individuality on their next release. Only the sky is the limit.
Rating: 8.3 out of 10825
Review by Michael on December 24, 2022.
The new Frozen Dawn album The Decline Of The Enlightened Gods which will be released via Transcending Obscurity Records is something I just stumbled upon because I really love the paintings of Mariusz Lewandowski (who unfortunately died this year). So this is how the band got my attention but they really deserve it for a different reason. With their fourth full-length (although its predecessor was a pure cover album with songs from 1st and 2nd wave of black metal bands) the Spaniards go straight into the same melodic death/black metal direction as mighty Necrophobic. And to anticipate a little bit - this album is going to be the first big highlight of the releases in 2023.
Started as a more technical death metal band (and so they did on their debut The Old Prophecy Of Winterland) the course became pretty clear with their second output released in 2014 (Those Of The Cursed Light). I wouldn't call them a Necrophobic rip-off because the arrangements have slightly more melodic parts and there's some more black metal elements in their music just as Dissection or early Sacramentum did back then. Starting with 'Mystic Fires Of Dark Allegiance' the band shows their technical skills right from the beginning. The atmosphere is very cold and the tension during the track is kept high all the time because of its many twists and turns and the surprising melodic arcs they built in the song. But they can do pretty different things, too. The fast tracks are pretty brutal and the riffing in those (such as in 'Black Reign Awaits') might have been on the last Necrophobic albums, too. 'Frozen Dawn' is one of the more hymnal songs with some galloping drums and very catchy riffs. The song isn't that tricky like the others - it is kept quite simple and just a frosty stomper which makes it fun listen to. 'The Decline Of The Enlightened Gods' is a very atmospheric and creeping track until 1:30 and I have to say that the break there is pretty awesome. I wished they had kept up this tempo and the style there because in its further progress the song becomes pretty technical. Not bad but they could have made a real killer song out of this. But this is complaining on a very high level. The regular album closes with a very calm acoustic guitar track called 'The Fall Of Aeons' which is the only song on the album that lets you maybe guess the Mediterranean origin of the band because of the way the guitar is played. But before The Decline Of The Enlightened Gods ends the guys have an icy topping for the listener. 'Blinded By Light, Enlightened By Darkness' (a cover version of guess who? Of course Necrophobic from their fantastic “Hrimthursum” album) which is kept quite close to the original blasts you with some blizzard-like riffs into your freezer.
I can simply recommend this album to everybody who likes the aforementioned bands (and if you don't know them, nobody can help you anymore). You can find real perfection here, passion for the music, a great atmosphere (at least I do have the feeling right now with some frozen landscape around me these days) and some really great melodies and ideas. Check the album – you will like it for sure!!! Only one question is remaining – this is now the second Spanish band in a short time I listened to who play this cold Nordic style of metal – do they all like their warm climate down in Spain or would they rather prefer to shovel away snow and scratch their car windows??
Rating: 9.5 out of 10 frozen cojones825