Frosttide is a Finnish band that entered the folk metal stage really successfully two years ago. Awakening album released then delighted the multitude with its creative panache. It won my heart and thus got a very positive review. As February comes to an end, a release date of its little/elder brother Blood Oath is drawing near.

Concept Album

Why „little/elder brother”? Blood Oath, the second long-play by Finns, is – just like Awakeninga concept album. What’s interesting, the concept remains the same and only time changes: the new release deals with our heroes’ earlier fates (and so it’s “elder”). The album concludes with a song written for Awakening and kept unreleased so that it could unite an autumnal Blood Oath with its wintry bro.

390771336

Climatic beginning

Do you remember Winter’s Call? This album brings us a climatic intro in a film music style, too. Only this time under a less fancy title – Prologue. It’s quite spectacular and sounds well in 3D. It’s rhythmic and does what intro should do just fine. However, it lacks a little of the magnificent depth I sense while listening to Winter’s Call. Let me remind you my words from previous review: „The intro is a strong suit of this album and it literally convinced me to join the group of warriors that embark on a mission with the aim of helping a village against an enemy invasion”. This time it made me curious for sure, but it’s a long way to convince me.

What’s surprising (or not) Frosttide

A title track comes just after the intro again. The song is huge and has plenty of majestic temper. What we get is some heavy sounds with an addition of a cosily calm part fitted somewhere in the middle. A good riff and fantastic keyboards are also worth mentioning. The guys from Jyväskylä really know how to arrange keyboard tracks well.

 

Gates Of The Asylum is a very complex, kind of progressive track. At the beginning it’s aggressive, then an interesting and cryptic part comes, followed by interchanging moments of chants, awesome refrain and two completely different guitar solos (the first one is climatic and the second one more energetic) divided by an atmospheric muse. Fate Redefined is a typical hit song that should reach listeners’ ears easily so it’s hardly any surprise that this song is a promoting single. The song is good… but nowhere near as good as Quest For Glory. The composition somehow lost the Frosttide trademark – originality. Let me be honest: it sounds like Ensiferum. Nevertheless, the track is good and, as usually, Felipe Munoz is a walking panacea.

Traitor Within is a nice, fast song. But it’s difficult to describe in any way so I’m not able to tell you why is it good. But it really is and will invite me to come back to Blood Oath more often. Foreshadow is an equivalent of Dawn Of Despair. I am really impressed with both compositions, but my thoughts are all like on Prologue. Still, this track has a small advantage over its brother from Awakening: it matches the next, introduced song even better.

New Reign is mature and complex. It’s a song full of heavy, light, fast, slow, direct, mysterious parts, so melodic and rhythmic, with good riffs, all of these combined in one. And it sounds good! The only thing I can’t stand is group vocals. I love them throughout the album, but something went horribly wrong in this track. All the best starts around 8th minute. There is an interesting, misty part that leads us into an atmospheric muse once again. Then it goes smoothly into a fast and rhythmic motif that probably is to announce Awakening, as it sounds a bit like a battle soundtrack.

And finally we get to Winds Of Winter’s Call, which reminds us of all these beautiful moments we spent listening to Frosttide debut album (it contains some melodies previously heard on Awakening). The song connects both albums perfectly by any measure. The composition is marvellous as it depicts a lot of the band’s qualities. Magical atmosphere, rhythmic drums, smooth transitions between light and heavy sounds, fabulous melodiousness and most of all the originality. The final moments of Blood Oath are like farewells and last looks at the warriors’ homes before they set off to their Awakening fates.

4160199569

Final rating

The whole band have been involved in backing vocals’ recordings, as we can hear each of them in multiple chants and shouts. Guest vocals are Nora Niemispelto’s contribution. The band claims that they wanted to confirm their quality to those who doubted in outdoing the Awakening success. “This has led to better compositions and arranging […] this is all taken to the next level! It is going to be aggressive, heavy, melodic, bombastic and with very deep and beautiful atmospheres”. Did they succeed?

Well, it depends on criteria. It truly is heavier, mature and as melodic as the previous one. Also the arranging is a little better, I guess (it couldn’t get much better as it has already been so freaking masterful before, right?). There are some awesome parts that will make you love the album. But something is missing… There are no earworms here. Maybe the band accidently killed a little bit of music’s assimilability while trying to outdo the Awakening success? The sound is good, better than before as the instruments are recorded and mastered better and it all sounds just more pleasantly now. However, the mixing got a little little bit worse. While everything is perfectly clear and sharp and I can hear it all in a good balance, the spectrum of music lost some of its broadness. It doesn’t sound as deep and huge as Awakening does. All in all, the album is so good that I have to appreciate it. Frosttide made it as good as their debut album. If I were to review the brother albums as a whole, the note would probably be 9 or so. But the review is about the new one only. A resultant of all ups and downs (compared with Awakening) suggests that I should rate both albums equally. And that’s what I do.

 

8.5/10