|Genre||Symphonic Power Metal|
|Release Date||6 September 2019|
From the frozen north of Finland come Everfrost with their sophomore album, Winterider, which is one of the most expressive symphonic power metal albums of the year. The band bleeds musical excellence and, when their power is directed into over-the-top, cheerfully epic arrangements, they produce a truly unique sound, even by power metal standards. Everfrost’s winter-themed metal shows clear influences ranging from Blind Guardian to late-80s glam metal to Queen, which further pushes the boundaries of what you might expect from this genre.
However, as most things go, Winterider isn’t perfect. There are a few tracks that bring down an otherwise-terrific album, and it’s a damn shame, because everything outside of these songs is fucking awesome. The first culprit is ‘Juhannus in January’, which has some really weak melodies in the verses. Then there’s the closer of the album, which comes in the form of a fifteen-minute beast: ‘A Whisper in a Frozen Tale’. While it has some really great moments, it lost me about eight minutes in. It’s dynamic for sure, but a few sections just carry on for way too long. The final weak song would be the Kesha (Ke$ha? KESHA? I don’t fucking know.) cover ‘Die Young’. It doesn’t go far past being your very typical metal cover, and it upsets the flow of an album that’s flooded with talent and energy.
But then we get to the many, many great things that Winterider so readily gives us. Powerful synths drive the music, and the whole atmosphere of the album is similar to the way Twilight Force showers positivity and majesty over its music, except with a wintery theme thrown into the mix. The drumming, courtesy of Jope Salminen, is nothing short of incredible, with constant switches from colourful grooves to destructive blast beats. Every song also features killer facemelters, both from guitar and synths. Notable mentions would be the solo sections in ‘Winterider’ and ‘Brandy and Antifreeze’.
My favourite songs on the record are ‘Actraiser’, ‘Chainlace Angel’, and ‘Darkwoods Drain Backwaters’. Sure, having three favourite songs on an album of ten might be pushing it, but they’re all cool in their own way. ‘Actraiser’ delivers a lot of glam metal energy, as well as lively vocal layers that give the song a huge Queen feel. Fitting in with a similar theme, we’re welcomed with limitless Michael Jackson energy in ‘Chainlace Angel’, vocals and all. But that last favourite of mine is completely different that the other two. ‘Darkwoods Drain Backwaters’ begins straightforward (and kind of boring), but about a minute in it fucks right off into hyperdrive and unleashes four minutes of double-time power metal bliss.
Everfrost is a band I’ll continue keeping a very close eye on. Winterider shows a lot of development from the band’s debut record, both with regard to the arrangements and musicianship. Despite a few pitfalls, this album’s highs are fucking awesome. Just ignore the album artwork, because Winterider is a must-listen for sure.
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