Frostvore – “Drowned By Blood” (Testimony Records)
Battle Helm Rating
If your neck muscles still ache for Dismember, Entombed and Grave then prepare for the HM-2 bloodbath of Frostvore – Swedish death metal band from Tokyo, Japan!! Releasing an EP entitled “Scavenger Of Human Dignity” under the name Frostbite in 2012, the band then went through a hiatus for the next 7 years before returning with fresh blood and a clear vision to record an aggressive and dark, old school album without frills and compromises. Without a doubt, “Drowned By Blood” is that in every regard, showing this band’s youthful love of Swe-death and fuelled by Japanese anime and gundam! During their break, it’s evident from the strong material and musicianship that Frostvore have had plenty of time to work on the 9 songs here, so it’s little surprise that they are perfect in every aspect and realise the quartet’s vision superbly, offering an authentic homage to the old school while blending in their own eastern originality here and there. Following the somber intro of wailing funeral death guitars from Satoshi Fukuda and Taro Ikemoto, ‘Blackfield’ blasts in with a huge, buzzsaw sound although graced by plenty of melodies reminiscent of The Black Dahlia Murder, while Fukuda’s monster roar matches the rhythmic bombast from the gargantuan bass of Natsumi Yatabe and Shigenori Tamura’s drums. Hitting the HM-2 pedals on ‘Extreme Cold Torture’, the twin chainsaws scream off, again topped off by melodic icing, but it’s the huge, cascading Swe-death waves ripping and smashing that do the business, especially when slowing down to earth shaking proportions while the melodies hit and wail magnificently like on Metallica’s ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ – superb! Injecting in some crust-core on ‘Eroded Mind’ to Fukuda’s matching twisted vocal drawls, Yatabe’s bass adds its colossal depth to the twin dirty guitars radiating reverb before a neo-classical solo followed by diddly-dee frenzy à la Death tops off this exquisite track, and indeed album, showing plenty of pride in this gamely take on the old school from a new Japanese generation.