Band: Frozen Wreath
Title: Memento Mori
Label: Filosofem Records
Release Date: 14 April 2021
Format reviewed: High-quality digital recording
From the oldest recorded city in Hungary, where the verdant hills meet the fertile plains comes Frozen Wreath. A new, but classic-styled atmospheric black metal duo featuring Roland Neubauer (WitcheR and Vrag) on vocals, and Zoltán Szele (De Profundis) on all the instruments.
I’ll admit that I was more than eager to review Frozen Wreath’s debut album “Memento Mori” as I’m an ardent admirer of WitcheR, which is how I became aware of this side-project. For me, experiencing this album was akin to being gifted a wicker basket overflowing with hand-picked forest foods. It feels organic, earthy, and raw, and damn have I gorged myself on this delectable offering. Atmospheric black metal is my audio ‘happy place’ and these guys are clearly immersed and well-versed in the sub-genre. “Memento Mori” delivers exactly what I was hoping for. It feels familiar, old school, and masterfully done, with a respectful nod to the Scandinavian black metal forefathers. I admire when artists crack the code, become proficient in a style, and stay true to the root of a sound.
The album’s strengths lie in the composition of the stunning melodies. The synth is bold, memorable and a stunning parallel to the cold aggression of the guitar and vocals. The riffs are spirited and the interplay of slow-mid to medium-paced tempos is exciting and highlights the subtle, ambient moments beautifully. There are also injections of a folk/ pagan feel throughout, such as the ominous choruses of strong male voices in the powerful track “Ősz / Autumn”. At times though the vocals are truly diabolical, as in “Memento Mori”, where the lyrics could conceivably have been expelled by some sort of two-headed hellion.
Some other standout tracks for me are “Miért? / Why?”, with its sombre mood and strict regimented delivery served alongside relaxed folk elements. The final track “Fagyott koszorú / Frozen Wreath” is possibly my favourite track on the album. It opens with an epic and supremely morose guitar riff before the guttural growling begins. At about the halfway mark the track transitions into a moving and measured acoustic melody with calm and composed spoken word. The interplay between the acoustic and the gnarly tremolo work is magnificent. The track closes the album with the chiming of church bells.
With “Memento Mori” and their elegant old school approach to atmospheric black metal, Frozen Wreath have implanted their icy tendrils firmly into the metal underground. I personally, can’t wait to see what else may be propagated from these beginnings. 8/10 Proua Metallist.
8/10 To greatness and glory!
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre.**