Sunday, February 23, 2014

Primalfrost – Prosperous Visions

Given the long, harsh winter that occurred in the Great White North this year, it is only appropriate that Canada unleashes some great melodic death metal for those metalheads that love the cold, snowy approach of bands like Wintersun and Norther. After an EP a couple of years ago, Primalfrost makes their debut full-length with “Prosperous Visions”. This album is an epic journey driven by the vision of multi-instrumentalist Dean Arnold, who handles every instrument on the record, including the vocals.

After an intro track, the album really gets going with “Distant Cries of War”. You’ll immediately notice how razor sharp the guitar tone is, as the opening riff of this track is inhumanly quick. This song displays a ton of melody over top of other riffs, and this proves to be quite effective, as it prevents the track from being one 7-minute riff. In fact, there is one section that is repeated a few times where Dean does some inspiring shredding beneath the vocals. The guitar work as a whole is really impressive, as there are riffs more complex than Wintersun can deliver (and often even delve into black metal), and leads that are equally as technical as Jari’s. Wintersun is also an appropriate comparison for the vocals. Dean’s growls show an upper register that makes them somewhat understandable. The clean vocals could definitely improve, but they often manage to give off that epic, chanting feel that some Pagan bands deliver. 

The next song after “Distant Cries of War”, "An End To Tyranny", provides the most ripping moment of the album. After a couple minutes of the melodeath sounds described above, Dean yells “mosh”, and immediately breaks out into a riff that will cause sheer chaos if played live. One unique track on the album is "Tale of the Hero", which is a quasi-ballad driven by Dean's clean vocals. Aside from these examples, however, most of the tracks on “Prosperous Visions” follow a similar formula to the first two tracks. Even the centerpiece of the album, the 14-minute “Cathartic Quest (An End To Tyranny Part II)”, does not differ too much from the other songs. It adds more blatant symphonics that are not as present in other tracks, but unless you really put the effort in to get to know every track, it will likely blend right in. Nonetheless, there are no parts of the album that can be considered disappointing in any way, as Primalfrost provides plenty of great riffs, brutal moments, and glorious sounds. “Prosperous Visions” could benefit from cutting the length a bit, as there is plenty of material to digest here. A lot of people complain that Wintersun was wrong to cut “Time” into two parts, but that’s part of what made the first half so great. It didn’t overwhelm you with content, and it gave you enough time to appreciate the songs on the record. With that said, “Prosperous Visions” can provide an equally enlightening experience, you’ll just have to spend a bit more time with it.

Be sure to check out and like Primalfrost on Facebook!

"Distant Cries of War"
"An End To Tyranny"
"Beyond The Shores and Lands"

Final Rating
4.0/5 or 80%. 

Written by Scott