So 2021 has been an incredible year for metal. There have been huge releases, killer debuts and now a last minute twist in the 2021 round up. I reviewed the debut full length by multi talented Canadian Dean Paul Arnold and his project Primalfrost back in 2014. He handles everything from the guitars to all the programming. And when I say he handles the guitars, this guy is no joke. His fretwork is nothing less than astounding…and when that album was released he was just 18 years old! Since that time he was a member of death metal legends Vital Remains from 2015 to 2019 and just finished a European trek as touring guitarist for Austrian legends Belphegor. This guy’s fretwork is in demand! So for that last minute twist in my top ten, after close to eight years, Arnold decides to drop the follow up to that astonishing debut on December 28….yes just in time to find it’s way into my yearly round up because to not add LOST ELEGIES would be a huge mistake.
Primalfrost is a symphonic melodic death metal band with folk and black metal influences. The songs are mostly melodic death metal but there is a huge emphasis on melody while keeping some serious riffing and incredible fret work. We were teased with a few songs prior to release and the album opener “Maelstrom” was one of them. I was hoping this was the opener because it pretty much sets you up for what you are in for with this album. It was melody, speed, riffs, and godly solos! Arnold’s vocal delivery is typical melodic death metal and thankfully stays miles away from straying into metalcore that plagues a lot of the vocalists of this genre. What sets this project apart from it’s peers is the songwriting. Each one is huge and epic from beginning to end and are just simply brilliant. Every one of these songs can stand on their own as huge epics but placed together as he did on this album you are then taken on a musical journey for the next forty-five minutes.
As we work our way through the album we are treated to some monumental moments, including another of the teasers released, “Nomad.” This song took the longest to grow on me and it took listening to it in its place on the album and that’s when I finally “got it.” Being slightly over three and a half minutes in length does not always make an epic tune but this guy seems to make brilliant use of that time to just bombard us with killer riffs, infectious melodies and solos that are beyond godly. The funny things is that I could add that description to every song on the album. This is not just a continuation of what he created on the debut. No, he actually upped the game on this one and has surprisingly surpassed that debut in every way. He is using the same formula but the songwriting has extremely matured and he’s mastered his skills. No where is this more prevalent than on the two longest songs on the album, “Voyage Into Ruins” and the closer “Tenebrous Skies.” It’s not just the songwriting on these songs but the atmosphere created in their execution. The only way to really describe it is perfection.
So at the eleventh hour an album gets released that is so incredibly good that it made me go back and rethink my year end round up. I knew that when Arnold dropped another Primalfrost album it would me huge but I did not expect this. LOST ELEGIES took the best ideas of the debut, added some matured songwriting along with almost eight years to master his fretwork to create an absolute masterpiece. I can’t recommend this album enough!