Rimfrost‘s self-titled album is their third since debuting about a decade ago with the EP A Journey to a Greater End. With their latest effort, the Swedish group offers almost an hour’s worth of traditional black/death metal. Blast-beats, harsh vocals, dramatic arrangements, and the decrying of religious dogmas are all here, but the group brings a respectable liveliness and engagement to their performances, which helps give a bit of freshness to the well-worn designs.
The drumming may be the most impressive part of the music, battering along with furious speed while keeping the individual beats crisp and distinct. While that manic pace characterizes most of the album, there are also a few sections of slower, semi-orchestral moodiness (such as the end of the opening track, “As The Silver Curtain Closes”), which furnish some much-needed contrast and breathers from the usual intensity, while maintaining the sense of grandiosity built by the persistent upward drive. The songs’ titles help on this front as well, naturally, with names like “Beyond The Mountains Of Rime”, “Ragnarök”, and “Frostlaid Skies” providing ample atmosphere in case you feel like just letting the growls wash over you instead of deciphering the lyrics.
While it doesn’t run as fast as the drums, the guitar-work and its snarling tones do a nice job as counter-point to the howls from the vocalist, rippling and sweeping along with clear purpose and firm execution. The foundational bass is no slouch either, but owing to the mixing and sheer fervor of the other elements, it tends to end up the most subtle part of the songs.
Generally speaking, Rimfrost is a well-executed album, with a few dips here and there as the toll of keeping up the blasting speed for such durations saps away at the sense of spontaneity and fiery anger. Oddly, though, this seems to affect the shorter tracks more than the long-runners. The infrequent shifts into slow bridges make for more memorable sections than the majority of the shredding, though there are some parts of the latter that really seize the moment and run with it through some hard and powerful rhythms. Not quite great, due to slightly too much flab, but certainly enjoyable.