"The Endless Winter"

By Dr. Abner Mality

As I write these words, it's a brisk -3 degrees outside and the snow is still piled up past my window. "The Endless Winter" is not an album title, it's a way of life. Still, I think North Dakota's Frosthelm is up to the task of personifying the bitter cold in sound.

Met these guys at NYDM Spring Bash 2014 and was impressed by their set there. "The Endless Winter" fulfills much of the promise I saw from them. They play a freezing kind of blackened thrash much in the vein of Skeletonwitch, only maybe they lean on the black metal influences a bit more. The harsh, bleak vocals are there, along with raging riffs and juggernaut drumming.

This is the first effort from the Black Work/Alkhemy Brothers label, which is headed up by producer Matt Hyde, and it has the look of a class outfit. The cover art is excellent and encapsulates the band's approach. The production is clean and powerful....probably too much for those into real shitty black metal, but appealing to a wider audience. There's a good mix of neck-snapping thrash and trebly BM dirgery. The title track and "Silent and Dark, the Everlasting Sky" hew more to black metal, while "Hell Among Us" and "Storm of Teeth" seem to have more of a thrash feel. Skeletonwitch casts a vast shadow upon Frosthelm but at least they do their inspiration proud.

Definitely a good accompaniment for those miserable winter evenings. Keep an eye out for Frosthelm.