|Review: Frozen Crown - Winterbane|
Label: Scarlet Records
Year released: 2021
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: April 26, 2021
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Rated 4.6/5 (92%) (5 Votes)
When you hear "Italy" and "power metal", you would not be blamed for immediately thinking "symphonic" or "flowery." But that's not what Frozen Crown are about. This band plays some fast, powerful, crunchy and sometimes epic-sounding power metal that's catchy as hell and doesn't skimp on heaviness. This stuff pounds from beginning to end with a thick, crisp sound that highlights everything from the vocals to the subtlest note—though you'll likely need a few listens to soak it all in as the songs here are pretty busy and there's a lot going on. The band has some fantasy themes and that tends so pop up here in there in the music with catchy medieval tones that never failed to bring a smile to my face no matter how often I heard them. Fortunately, they don't go over the top and don't abuse them, performing a delicate balancing act with some more straightforward, plain old in-your-face speedy power metal. They do a good job of mixing modern power metal with some '80s heavy metal undertones. There are quite a few guitar parts in here that made me think, "early to mid-80s".
Jade, the female lead singer, has a powerful, clear voice with a great range and knows how to successfully deliver anything from the most melodic, syrupy lines all the way to powerful loud shouts that will make you throw your fist in the air. Main songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist Federico also handles some of the vocal duties. I like his clean vocals well enough and they complement Jade's style quite well, but I couldn't help but wince a little when the harsher vocals came on. To my ears they sound somewhat out of place; your mileage may vary.
The band throws in a cover of Judas Priest's "Night Crawler" as the eighth track. It's gutsy to take on a song from one of the most revered albums of the metal legends, but the band pulled it off admirably and it's certainly interesting to hear a version with female vocals. One would think that it would sound out of place with two more original tracks following it, but it kind of fits at home right where they put it.
Winterbane is filled with top-quality, diverse power metal that doesn't forget the music's 40-some-year-old roots while incorporating many modern elements without sounding gimmicky. Power metal fans who haven't heard Frozen Crown yet would do themselves a favour by rectifying the situation immediately.
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