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Released: 2004, Holy Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
The land is barren, snow is everywhere and you can see your breath as the cold, bitter air nips at your face. This is the image conjured by most black metal music, however Frozen Shadows doesn’t hail from the northern parts of Scandinavia; they are from Montreal, Canada. HANTISES (French meaning “an obsessive fear”) is the band’s second full-length release after 2001’s DANS LES BRAS DES IMMORTELS. Drawing inspiration from traditional black metallers like Dark Funeral, Emperor and Immortal, Frozen Shadows’ music is chock full of blastbeats, raspy, incoherent vocals and killer riffs. The production is the standard for black metal purists who like it thin, full of treble and light on the flashy stuff, though it is better than many I have heard. This is, after all, the “accepted” sound of black metal. What separates Frozen Shadows from the pack is that they aren’t afraid to incorporate a melody or take a break from the monotonous screeching.
The sound of a phonograph needle on an old, scratchy vinyl LP opens and closes the CD in, what I believe to be, a tongue-in-cheek ode to being “old school.” “As Old As Time Itself” is a lightning-fast track with a sharp riff. “Des Siecles D’Epitaphes” brings things down a bit to a mid-tempo pace. This is where Frozen Shadows excels. “A L’Ombre Du Mal” features an intro of classical music played on a keyboard over the heavy track, which flows into a hyper-speed black metal extravaganza. “Strangled By Fear” has a Sabbath-y passage with some great riffing. The band also breaks out two instrumentals, “Darkness Unfolds” and “Towards The Chambers Of Nihil.” The se are both dreary, mid-tempo numbers that are placed well amongst the rest of the tracks. Who says track order isn’t important?
HANTISES is a tasty slice of black metal that will meet with approval from the fickle elitists as well as those of us who aren’t afraid of a keyboard or, Satan forbid, a melody. Frozen Shadows waves the flag of black metal high and proud, only this time it has a big red maple leaf on it!
KILLER KUTS: “As Old As Time Itself,” “A L’Ombre Du Mal,” “Strangled By Fear”
1. As Old As Time Itself
2. Des Siecles D'Epitaphes
3. Battered Souls
4. A L'Ombre Du Mal
5. Through Fields Of Mercilessness
6. Darkness Unfolds (Instrumental)
7. Strangled By Fear
8. Towards The Chambers Of Nihil
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