For a decade and a half, Spanish trio Frozen Dawn have been delivering their stirring brand of Melodic Black Metal with a distinctively Swedish Black/Death Metal edge to their sound. Reminiscent of Dissection and very much in the vein of Necrophobic, given my love for both of those bands and that particular genre, I’m very intrigued once again.
Frozen Dawn – The Decline Of The Enlightened Gods (Transcending Obscurity Records)
Release Date: 10 February 2023
Words: Jools Green
I first crossed paths with them back in 2014 when I reviewed their Those Of The Cursed Light album for MetalTalk, and I’ve been enthralled with them ever since. In 2017 they dropped a great covers album, Unearthing The Black Arts. I’m not usually a covers fan, however that release contains some rather good interpretations of great classic tracks and was a great stop-gap album.
Now they are back with their latest studio offering, The Decline Of The Enlightened Gods, and it’s definitely as good as Those Of The Cursed Light, possibly even better, a difficult decision for me to make immediately, given my love of that aforementioned offering. Ultimately only time will be the judge.
Once again, they have delivered a mesmerising release that is powerful and sharp yet emotive with a balance of subtle melodic and atmospheric elements. The result is a bone-chillingly good listen.
Opening on Mystic Fires Of Dark Allegiance with its dramatic and haunting opener, switching up to that classic Swedish Black/Death drive with thrashy squealing bursts and haunting melodic swathes, immediately you are completely engulfed and entranced.
This is followed by the mesmerising Spellbound, an intense driver with an impressive drum delivery. Black Reign Awaits continues the driving onslaught, coming in darker than its predecessors and packing a massive punch. It does ebb back midway, followed by some sublime thrashy leadwork, and then we get to Frozen Kings, a magnificent beast of a track. Uplifting and engaging, probably my favourite of the album, with superb riffs, leadwork and haunting melodic elements.
The next piece, Wanderer Of Times, opens with sinister intent and continues with a sharp, dark, unrelenting drive, taking no prisoners. Oath Of Forgotten Past initially pares the pace back a little but soon resumes that breath-taking momentum and drive of its predecessors but with well-placed, dramatic but brief pauses and the second-half leadwork is just superb.
Cosmic Black Chaos is a dark, eerie builder with sharp riffs and with a complexly convoluted mix of blistering drive and meandering melodies fused together in the most engaging way imaginable and a massive chunk of second-half leadwork. Utter brilliance.
The title track, The Decline Of The Enlightened Gods, is the album monster at over seven minutes duration. Building with eerie intent and developing into a strong plodding rhythm with an undercurrent of sinister intense riffing, the pace continues to build with frantic rapidity and ebbing with dark intent across the duration of the track to dramatic effect.
The penultimate piece, The Fall Of Aeons, is a short but sublime acoustic guitar piece by guitarist/bassist Antonio Mansilla and would have been, in effect, the outro if it weren’t for the final cover piece, Necrophobic’s Blinded By Light, Enlightened By Darkness. A pretty brave track to cover, especially as it’s my all-time favourite Necrophobic track, so I’m judging critically but, like Frozen Dawn’s other past covers, they have stayed true to the original but added their own subtle flair and interpretation, and I have to say that once again I rather like it.
The Decline Of The Enlightened Gods is an essential listen for fans of bands like Dissection, Necrophobic, Thulcandra, Naglfar and Sacramentum. The artwork is worth mentioning, too, one of the final works by the late great Mariusz Lewandowski.