Released: 2011, Candlelight
War, (WWI and WWII more specifically) have been a constant well-spring of inspiration for bands of many genres and styles, from Sabaton to Bolt Thrower and now Eastern Front. Focusing a bit more on the later stages of WWII and the German/Russian lines, this British five-piece have unleashed an eight song, 50 minute conceptual piece.
Eastern Front reminds me lyrically, visually and thematically of Canadians Operation:Wintermist. The similarities end at that point as Eastern Front have a bit more of a riffy Death Metal sound inter-laced into the punishing Black Metal. BLOOD ON SNOW is fairly standard Black Metal but they do incorporate some atmospheric and symphonic elements into the mix adding some variety to the punishment. For example the cut ‘Motherland’ has a delicate acoustic guitar in the intro to one of the slower paced songs, slower being a relative term. Track six, ‘Devenadtzaz KIlometrov Ot Moskvy’ is more of an atmospheric piece with sound effects and symphonic tones, than any real metal per se. It’s a nice interlude and there are many little sound effects that bring the album to life as well. The keyboards are used sparingly and are not as heavy handed as Dimmu or Cradle might employ.
The production, guitar tone, pacing and performances are all quite good. Andy LaRocque was behind the helm and it shows. It’s more accessible than some Black Metal because there is a sense of song-craft as well. I hear a bit of old Bathory at points, maybe some Moonspell, and a nod to the Norweigan sound naturally. The vocals are a mix of some spoken word, the typical shriek/hiss delivery and a gruffer Death Metal sound as well. BLOOD ON SNOW is a dynamic and interesting album. It may annoy some BM purists due to the large number of little things mixed in that could (in the eyes of some) detract from the heaviness and the mission of sonic annihilation, but I enjoy that range of musical influences. It’s a promising debut.