Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Primalfrost - Prosperous Visions

Primalfrost is the brainchild of Toronto native Dean Arnold. He's the composer as well as the sole musician on this excellent debut entitled Prosperous Visions that was released in February 2014. At just 18 years old, this album is just the beginning of great things to come for this young and talented guy. He has put together a touring band but when it comes to the studio activity it's all him. Yeah, the drums are programmed and these days orchestration is easier than it ever has been, but this guy also plays the guitar like a god and the keyboard work here also includes some nice piano interludes so he's also a good piano player.

Now, you can be all of the above and still not be able to execute good songs. Any musician can play their instrument and some can play with perfection. What makes any musician stand out is the songs that they write. This young man can write some great songs and kick ass riffs but executes the songs with precision. The music here is an epic metal that could be power metal except for the vocals. The vocals are a mix of the black metal style and the melo-death style but with some clean choruses thrown in to add dimension. The riffing can be fast and exciting as well as heavy and epic depending on where you are in the songs. This is one of those bands that takes you on a musical journey so you actually live the music instead of just hearing it. I'm not sure if this is a concept album but the main theme here is epic battles. That's nothing new to metal but it fits this epic style of metal and it just doesn't get old with me.

In keeping with the epic style there is an intro that leads to a seven minute epic number called "Distant Cries of War." This is epic through and through with orchestrated keys leading to an opening riff that's heavy, fast, and exciting. The keys in the background give you that choir sound and the lead riffs and opening solo show you that this guy is the real deal. The drums are set back in the mix a little but I think it's to hide the fact that they are programmed and it actually works. You can hear it sometimes but most of the time you are concentrating on the riffing and epic sounds created here. This guy can play lead guitar with the best of them and the solos on this song, as well as the rest of the album, are just godly. He not only plays solos but incorporates the leads into the melodies and riffs of the songs. There's a male "choir" clean vocal section leading to the proper solo that is just fucking incredible. The song is not over long nor does it become stale because of the hooks and melodies that just pull you in. Those clean vocal choirs show up a little more prominent on "Beyond The Shores and Lands" and shows that this guy is not just a growler but he can sing as well.

Another thing about the songwriting here is that he knows when to pull the long epic number card and when to just rein it in and play a normal length song. Some bands like this try to throw epics at you from beginning to end and some can and some can not. This guy doesn't try to do that but instead uses the songs to create the mood for the whole album. Except for the above mentioned song, there is only one other song over seven minutes and that is the amazing fourteen minute epic called "Cathartic Quest (An End to Tyranny Part II)." This song is a journey from cold landscapes to epic battles. It starts off with a harp playing over a cold wind blowing and if you try, you can actually feel yourself there. The lead guitar slowly makes it's way in leading to epic sounds. The guitar sound on this album is just amazing and with his virtuoso playing just adds so much depth to the songs. This song has a catchy main riff and hooks all over the place. This is an amazing feat for someone this young and shows the sheer depth of this guys talent.

There's also no shortage of just kick ass metal songs on here as songs like "An End to Tyranny" and "Silencing The Empire" just have these massive riffs and are heavy as fuck. But they also have infectious melodies created by this guys lead playing. And even though they are not as epic as the longer songs, the epic metal vibe in there throughout all of these songs. The beginning riff of "Path of the Sky" plays over some orchestral keys that just gives me the goosebumps and this is when I know that this isn't just an album or a song but an experience. This song has massive riffs and an epic quality to it, as they all do, but something just makes it extra catchy. I'm not going to say it's the best or pick a favorite because this is not that kind of album. Once again, the solo work is just fucking godly. I'm officially declaring Dean Arnold as my current favorite guitarist. Yeah...he's that good.

Some albums are a collection of songs and you can say one song is better than the other but there are some albums that need to be consumed whole. This album belongs with the latter because take away one moment of this album and the magic will not be there...and this is a magical album. What can't this young guy do? He can play guitar as good as any of the veteran virtuosos, he can play piano, he can sing as well as growl, and he can write an album that is epic from beginning to end...and he's only 18! And from what I understand, he wrote and recorded the band's first EP at 15. So he ranks up there with Enslaved in that department and that's something to be proud of. This is recommended for epic metal fans but if you are a metal head at all and do not have this album, what the fuck are you waiting for?


No comments: