BYFROST – Of Death

Another Norwegian Black Metal band has stepped onto the battlefield. This time it’s BYFROST. This band was founded in 2007. A first release, the “Byfrostmetal” EP, came out in 2008. Some line-up changes occurred, but that didn’t stop BYFROST from carrying on. Anno 2009 the Norwegians worked on their debut album, “Black Earth”(released in 2010), which was produced by Herbrand Larsen (ENSLAVED) and Bjørnar E. Nilsen (VULTURE INDUSTRIES, BLACK HOLE GENERATOR). Arve Isdal from ENSLAVED made a guest appearance for the song “Desire”, while the artwork was done by Christian Sloan Hall, who has also worked with TESTAMENT, DIMMU BORGIR, SLAYER and others. Four years after the band’s founding, album no. 2 is out (since the 24th June) under the title “Of Death”. And again the same duo produced this release, like before.

With a title like “Of Death”, it’s only obvious that the song titles follow suit, even if they may sound simple. “May The Dead Rise” is the opener and takes off with a violent and groovy attack. Blackened Death Metal that was given a modern production. And it sounds good! The Metal comes pounding out of the speakers. Catchy riffing is key, whereas the vocals made me think a bit of Alexi Laiho from CHILDREN OF BODOM. However, in this song it’s mostly the music that does the talking. “Eye For An Eye”doesn’t start until the rain stops. And then music comes marching in, flowing over into midtempo Black/Death with music in vein of (recent) DIMMU BORGIR. The blasting break over halfway is a nice piece, which returns later on. So far, so very good.

“Buried Alive” beings in a creepy, evil way with guitar and (evil, Shagrath-ish) vocals. Hell breaks loose after that, by manner of speech. Midtempo Black Metal verses connect with a chorus that sounds very familiar, at least musically. It’s been bugging me for days, but then the name MOB RULES and their song “Unholy War” popped up. Yes, this is a melodic Power Metal band (from Germany), but that means nothing here. In any case, “Buried Alive” is a rather slow song, but speed is not an issue here, the overall atmosphere and feel are. And the result is good. The title track adds more aggression, so buckle up. Again, speed is of no big importance, but this song contains some furious hitting! Fast double bass is partly responsible. The whole has a feel of evil, of darkness, of unholy happenings. It’s quite simple in structure and playing and sounds musically inline with KEEP OF KALESSIN.

As “Full Force Rage” indicates, speed IS an issue here. Thrash/Death/Black Metal at hyperspeed! And somehow – is it because of the production? – you could mistake this for a Heavy/Power Metal song. It’s got a nice rhythm, I must say. The break halfway serves as preparation for the final outburst. A short song for a change, nothing wrong with that. “Shadow Of Fear” is a Thrash/Death/Black pounder of a song. The focus lies on rhythm guitar lines, while later on you get a solo with Thrashy backing. “Sorgh” is an atmospheric track with just the guitar, backing keyboards and spoken samples (on repeat). You could almost meditate to this. Not bad, but nothing super either, to be honest. “Of Death” is put to and end with “All Gods Are Gone” – as a Black Metal band you must have such a kind of song title, right? – and its violent, erupting Metal. The melodic input is a bit bigger here. The whole slows down around and over halfway, in a hymnic and chanting manner until the end. Another good song, no doubt about that, but not as much of a highlight as the first tracks.

BYFROST brings Black/Death Metal in vein of e.g. KEEP OF KALESSIN, some DIMMU BORGIR and similar. “Of Death” is far from a bad album. It’s actually quite good and offers something fresh, both to the market and AFM’s catalogue of bands.

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HeavyHarms – vocals, guitar
R.I.P. Meister – bass
Alkolust – drums

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