Frost Giant
The Harlot Star

US based folk/epic/viking metal is somewhat of a rarity. I’d have to go back to maybe Hammer Horde to find one that really hit everything on the head. But here comes Pennsylvania’s Frost Giant and their ambitious and often down right brilliant debut.

Listen- there is a lot going on here- not just epic folk /viking metal with some tangible  Finnish (Turisas/Ensiferum/Brymir) and Canadian (Nordheim/Vesperia/Blackguard),  blackened, power metal influences. There’s prog ,thrash and even some hardcore thrown into the mix. You could look to fellow Pennsylvania act Lör for some reference as far as all the elements delivered here.

At the heart of Frost Giant‘s epic varied sound is the vocals of Matt Frost, who amid typical blackened screams are some superb clean ‘wiking’ vocals (along with gang chants, growls, female vocals etc), which really give many of the standout tracks some depth. Case and point , second track (after the instrumental opening title track) “Forgive Me Not”- a simply gorgeous chorus and vocal line bolsters some Finnish blackened epic riffage and rousing keys. “Curse of Doubt” delviers the same sound but adds a somber mid section and solo. After an interlude (more on that later) we get “Prisoner of the Past” , where the album takes a fun, romping Finntroll-ish turn, complete with kazoos. Yes, kazoos.

While the whole album is damn good, the album’s standout is easily, “Of Clarity and Regret”, a 7 minute, almost full on power metal number that delivers more  superb clean vocals and a second half that will end up making it one of the more uplifting songs of the year. The album closes (outro not withstanding) with the almost 10 minute “Monuments to Nothing”, a rangy, epic number that covers all the bands bases with some excellent female vocals and added lei lei lei’s (admittedly a guilty pleasure of mine) thrown in for good measure and damn good fun.

On the very minor downside, Frost likes his interludes, with 5 of them appearing on the album. I get the opener and closer (“Perpetuum et Aeternum”), but the other three  break up the rip roaring momentum, other than “An Exile in Storm” which utilizes Frost’s voice, so I’m OK with that. But ultimately the album kills and is none of the more promising US debuts I’ve heard in a while, and certainly a band I will be keeping and eye on.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
February 16th, 2018

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