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venerdì 17 febbraio 2023

Frozen Dawn - The Decline of the Enlightened Gods

#FOR FANS OF: Swedish Black, Dissection
The Spanish trio Frozen Dawn, founded in Madrid in 2006, hasn’t been tremendously prolific in releasing new albums, although we can’t complain as every single opus met our expectations. Since its first album, 'The Old Prophecy of Winterland', the band showed some serious talent and clear ideas. The evolution of this project has been as solid as its music and managed to catch the attention of an increasing number of fans, and finally a deal with an international and respected label as Transcending Obscurity Records. Releasing a new album with a such active label can always be the milestone of a project, in its seek for success and a higher attention. After six long years and, I guess, a remarkable amount of work and dedication, the trio finally released the new opus, 'The Decline of the Enlightened Gods'.

The first thing I would like to remark is the eye-catching artwork, a captivating painting created by the Polish artist Mariusz Lewandowski. I have always said that a good artwork is the first key element to draw the attention of the fans, especially in these times where a ton of new albums overwhelm us. But let’s focus on the most important thing, the music. Frozen Dawn’s music is unmistakably and firmly rooted in the black metal, and more particularly in the melodic black subgenre. The production isn’t particularly clean, or at least it isn’t too polished, something I am quite sure that many fans will approve. Both the vocals and the guitars have a slightly dirty touch, like a particular raw touch that I find quite adequate as it makes them sound heavier and darker, something that the genre should never lose. Musically, the album is an authentic beast. The pace is quite fast and the songs sound truly heavy and relentless. From its very beginning to its end, 'The Decline of the Enlightened Gods' is a real punch in the face. We obviously will find some exceptions, as the title track for example, where the pace is slower in its greater part. The guitars truly shine in these slower sections, even though it must be mentioned that their work is faultless in every single song. The riffing is pure melodic black as legendary bands like Necrophobic (of which you will enjoy an excellent version), Dissection, or early Watain can come to your mind. The aforementioned influences are quite clear in the album opener "Mystic Fires of Dark Allegiance". These raging vocals, the tasteful melodic yet heavy riffs, which lead the song in every moment, and the super solid rhythmic base create an addictive song, which brings us back the best of the genre. Things go even heavier with the second track "Spellbound". A devastating composition with a faster pace yet keeping the omnipresent melodic yet biting guitars. Albeit the pace is generally fast, there are small ups and downs in the pace, which are very precisely and wisely placed small changes through the song. The variations make the composition interesting, as it never becomes a succession of monorhythmic sections that would make it sound too predictable. "Frozen Kings" is probably one of my favourite tracks of the whole album. A particularly catchy melody accompanied by a very headbanging inducing pace, makes it a truly highlight, as this track will remain in your brain from the very first time you listen to it. "Oath of Forgotten Past" contains a great solo guitar, which proves that apart from a relentless dose of incredible riffs, the band also knows to introduce solid solos without making it sound out of place. As you may imagine from this description, each song has something that makes it unique, even though the ingredients are the same in all the album. This proves that a band which has inspiration and works hard, can mix the same elements, and still create compositions with its own personality, although they apparently sound quite similar. The level is very high in the whole album and even the already mentioned cover doesn’t disappoint, as it is a devote homage to the band and the genre itself.

All in all, 'The Decline of the Enlightened Gods' is an awesome work by the Spanish band Frozen Dawn. The full thing sounds inspired, focused, and full of greatness in all its elements. Every single fan of the genre should check out this opus and I wouldn’t be surprised if it appears in may top lists of this year. (Alain González Artola)