“The Prowess of Dormition”

By Dr. Abner Mality

The press release for “The Prowess of Dormition” makes the claim that Frozen Ocean is one of the best kept secrets of the metal world. For once, there’s not an ounce of hype to that claim. This is some of the most beautiful and epic black metal I have heard in 2015.

Frozen Ocean is one man, Vaarwel, who does EVERYTHING on this album. This Russian gentleman is one hell of a musical talent if that’s true. It sounds like the work of an extremely talented band, with all instruments being played and performed to maximum capacity. Vaarwel puts his talent in the service of beautifully melodic yet aggressive black metal that creates some phenomenal soundscapes. There are four long tracks on “The Prowess of Dormition” and each creates its own magical world. “No Blizzard” starts with ice cold, elegant synthesizer tones before tearing into powerfully fast but tasteful BM. The merging of clean, enchanting synth with droning, buzzing riffs is just mind-blowing and the track flies by.

“Once Aglow” is faster and even more aggressive, with a sound somewhere between epic pagan metal like Moonsorrow and the blasting power of Wolves In The Throne Room, laced with Vaarwel’s harsh vocals. The most epic tune of the album. “Det Siste Snofallet” harkens back to Satyricon’s “Nemesis Divina” album and comes across as a tribute to the best of 90’s black metal. The album ends with the title track, which is different with a great emphasis on melodic hooks and some restrained sections that recall folk and shoegaze influences. But make no mistake, this is no wimpy Alcest and proves Frozen Ocean is never far from the metal realm.

This is simply one of the best crafted and most inspiring black metal albums to be released in a long time and a triumph. Vaarwel should be a household name in BM circles!