Review for the latest album from Nordic Frost titled, To Make The Acquaintance Ov Death, is out now and available here!
Imagine if you will, walking into an orchestra theater, finding that one spot where you hear every instrument crystal clear, we all know that spot. That sweet spot that makes your hairs stand up and gives you goosebumps. Now imagine the theater as only the creatures of the night would have it, a full moon illuminating the instruments, casting that silver hue over the stage, that's how the latest offering from Nordic Frost feels. Gothic at times, darkly romantic in other moments, heavy as hell, yet overall powerful and hypnotic while remaining faithful to the musical process Brian Lewis captures with each now release with his central California based symphonic black metal project. The sole captain of this ship, he has created several full length albums with Nordic frost that explore different themes and time periods with each new release. His latest, To Make The Acquaintance Ov Death, is the next chapter in his book of music and I for one found it to be quite different from his previous works, yet he is able to still retain that familiarity of Nordic Frost all while changing things up and adding new elements to an already fantastic catalog of music. So let's explore the catacombs together as we unravel the inner workings of this new music he has released.
The opening track, If Today Should Be My Last, is a very focused song with some imaginative riffing and an almost Dissection-like sound here. Guitar melodies and piano pieces all woven together accompany Brian's signature and unique orchestration that I've personally come to love with Nordic Frost, bring forth a ominous yet beautiful vibe in this album opener. This track happens to also feature the very talented Jamie Souza, formerly of the sadly now defunct death metal band, Bavmorda, lending a hand in the vocals department here adding a nice aggressive touch to the tracks overall presentation.
L'appel Du Vide is up next and retains that true to form sound that I've come to enjoy from Nordic Frost. This one hits a bit harder than the opener but keeps things musically creative in a sense that this track almost feels like a movie soundtrack, although admittedly, the way Brian writes his orchestration, each release of his can be a great film score with his careful attention to musical detail on every level with every instrument he writes and programs. This one in particular gave me haunted house vibes so it would go great with a horror movie soundtrack. This is made more apparent when that nice tempo change hits in the track that brings in the guitar melodies that seem to flirt with the surrounding instrumentation to really fill out the musical space and fully capture your senses. This later to present era Dimmu Borgir sounding song is elevated in a new way for us devout Nordic Frost followers when Brian delivers some clean vocals to this track which bring a new element to his musical arsenal, not that he hasn't dabbled in clean vocals in the past, just not as apparent as in this track and I'm hoping for more honestly moving forward on this album.
Up next is the title track, To Make The Acquaintance Ov Death. This one checks all the boxes of a great symphonic black metal song that any fan of the genre would love to experience. The orchestration is once again simply top notch here and would gladly share your album collection shelf sitting alongside the likes of Dawn or Emperor. the music here definitely brings you on a journey and really comes at you with a solid break down that hits you like a ton of bricks before pulling you back in with raw power and emotions, what a roller coaster of a track here!
Now, the next track may surprise Nordic Frost fans who have only been following Brian's musical career with this project. A Most Lucid Fever Dream is by far the most creative and different approach to a Nordic Frost song that he has done yet. But, if you know of his previous bands and musical projects, then it feels right at home on this album. This one starts out with a very somber and ominous acoustic guitar piece with some soft strings playing in the background before diving into an almost doom metal or gothic metal style song structure. Don't get me wrong, it still hits hard, but it is definitely a unique standout track on this album. The tremolo blasting riff work on this song is fantastic and it makes for the heavier parts of this song to be downright filthy. Don't you dare skip this track just because of the songs intro, it's an experience from beginning to end here, just go along for the ride and hang on because the back half of this song is quite exquisite.
Kinship With The Beast is an absolute stomp-fest here with a nice crushing mid tempo beat that dances back and forth a bit with some blistering blasts. An almost chamber like production on this song truly does harken back to black metals heyday in the mid nineties. I'm thinking that even the most elitist of black metal super fans would enjoy this track. The atmosphere is thick with this track and it is definitely best appreciated with headphones on, you'd be well advised to have headphones on for this entire album to hear every little detail Brian has snuck into these songs for you to devour actually.
A old vinyl effect is added onto a piano opener on the next song called, Born Again, before taking off into the realms of the ethereal. Touching on the more gothic aspect of black metal here, this song presents a painful experience for the listener as in the approach is both heavy and fast, but emotional and powerfully dark and foreboding. A very strong vocal delivery is heard on this song that really drives the point home that ones heart and soul is truly in pain here and leaves the listener in a sort of awestruck state of an emotion of wanting, its really interesting to hear the different dynamics that this album has to offer.
Called to Bear Witness is a interesting spoken word interlude between tracks. It kind of helps to give us a glimpse of what this album is all about all before plunging into the next track, Purge Ov I. This one is very similar to A Most Lucid Fever Dream's opening but expands on it greatly by keeping hold of those emotions and never letting go throughout the songs journey. This one is perhaps one of the deepest cutting songs I've yet to hear Brian create. The goosebump game with this song is real here when that heavy as all fuck of a riff kicks in and just breaks you in half! This is honestly my personal favorite track of this album and I had to listen to it a few times over, it's honestly that damn good!
Rounding things out with this fantastic album as an equally fantastic cover of Dimmu Borgir's Spellbound(By The Devil). Honestly, I felt that this choice in covers was a perfect representation of why Brian started Nordic Frost to begin with. This is an excellent cover that truly pays its respects to not only Dimmu Borgir, but the symphonic black metal genre itself, well fucking done my friend, well fucking done!
Nordic Frost is a blank canvas for Brian Lewis and has been his musical escape in this crazy world, and I can honestly say that I have witnessed this personal project of his grow over the years with each new release, and working with him in the past has helped open up his world of music to me. Sitting down and talking for hours upon hours of this band and that, showing me his favorite tracks off said bands albums, sharing the stage with him, seeing his passion in person for his music, recording with him, having been there bearing witness to this projects creation, and simply being his friend for so long, all has given me a understanding that this is his true passion in life and he uses Nordic Frost in ways that his past musical endeavors almost seemed to suffocate him of. Being his own blank canvas that is Nordic Frost, it allows him to figuratively spread his leathery wings and fly with creativity and musical freedom of expression that doesn't pigeonhole his music into one specific genre. Yes, it is symphonic black metal, but is it? Nordic Frost has many layers and mixes new styles with each new release that explores more of his passions. Brian will always stay true to his roots no matter what and I think that's what I enjoy so much from Nordic Frost, Brian will always bring in fresh creativity with each new song, but you know damn well he's going to do it in a way that will only benefit Nordic Frost while keeping that familiar sound he has created with it. To Make The Acquaintance Ov Death is by far the most complex album to date that Brian has created and I'd say that his hard work here is truly paying off. I give this release a solid 9.5 out of 10(only my second time giving an album this high of a score!). Every single damn album this guy releases under the Nordic Frost banner simply kicks ass and I am looking forward to seeing what's next from this creative mind of his. You can take a listen and also purchase it for yourself here and remember to show your support on all social media platforms.
Review done by Joshuah Jones, bassist of The Obsidian Resurrection.