Frozen Sun is the debut album from the Nova Scotian band Arcane Threat. Frozen Sun is eight songs of smooth melodic death, filling your head with tight riffs, lion like growls and good music writing. There are other aspects of course to Frozen Sun that are hidden, but well placed within the album. Without throwing in some curve balls every once in a while melodic death metal can sound the same at certain points. Arcane Threat throw in the curve balls to catch you off balance, and keep you listening for the remainder of the album.
Frozen Sun starts off with the third longest song on the album titled Perfect World. While Perfect World shows you a lot of what Arcane Threat has to offer, it does not offer up all of the tricks that Arcane Threat has to offer. The blistering tremolo picking, almost thrash like riffs, hyper speed drumming and thick sludgy vocals are forced upon you whether you like it or not. And also whether you like it or not, the songs are groovy and transition well from one to the next.
As I mentioned above the riffs are smooth and transition into silky guitar solos on most of the songs. For being a death metal band they have a certain thrash aura about them. They are not entirely down tuned and they don’t chug along like a train-or chug like a drunk on a Saturday-but instead they have a swiftness to them allowing them to be more nimble. The riffs are just a fourth of what makes the album up. The drums are on point and are not overtly technical or in your face. They feel natural and not forced, and the blasts are not over used but only used when needed. The bass is noticeable and there to provide a back bone to the songs. The filthy vocals tie everything together. They are low growls-no shrieks are present-but they are not guttural or inaudible. A growl is not exactly the right description, instead they are more of a roar. They are a roar that would make a lion jealous. At certain points the vocals shift into clean singing. The clean singing does not happen very often at all through out the album and it is placed in spots where it would be acceptable to have clean singing. While I have nothing against clean singing, I feel that it takes away from the song in the very minimal places that there is clean singing.
Other than musicianship, song placement is key as well. Injected into the middle of the eight track album are the two longest songs. The Crusader followed by Power of the Gods showcases the complete bag of tricks that Arcane Threat has to offer. With the pacing of the songs done right, they don’t feel over bearing or almost seven minutes in length at all. They feel like two great stories placed between other shorter equally great stories. With the tight fret-tastic guitars, the roars of the vocalist and the over all tight musicianship these two songs bring home all of the ideas that Frozen Sun is trying to offer. In both songs as well, there are some breaks in which acoustic guitar playing breaks up the metallic fury, but soon gives way to the onslaught once more.
The acoustic guitars make more appearances in other songs as well breaking them up nicely without compromising the rhythm of the songs or the album. While Frozen Sun is already melodic, the gentle sound of the acoustic guitars gives you a break from the thrashing drums and sonic riffs that are the staple of the album.
Debut albums are statement pieces for bands. They stake their claim of the heavy metal pie with a debut, letting others know that they are here and not going anywhere soon. Arcane Threat stake a claim with Frozen Sun and their unique brand of melodic death metal.