Review Summary: Welcome to the Frozen Circus, you'll never want to leave.
I just want to state right now that circuses freak me out. The annoying, repetitive carnival music that is played in the background, the way they try to be grand and epic while you can quite clearly see that there is a balding man smoking just behind the curtain, and don’t get me started on the ‘luring kids in with colourful masked faces’ thing. If there was one thing I didn’t expect this sort of atmosphere to be used in, it was metal, but Eternal Deformity have done it, and it works like a charm.
They take the grandiose of the circus and use it in their compositions, they take the dramatic flair and represent it with huge dynamic shifts in volume and power and they also lure you in with catchy melodies and absurdly bouncy riffs. Take away this theme which some would call a gimmick though and you will find that the band also display a sense of maturity, an understanding of progression and when the circus act is toned down, they can also be very sincere. Tracks like Lovelorn
and Unholy Divine
are beautiful and heartfelt, while other songs like The Force of Your Heart
and Thors Message
are playful and epic in without being completely over the top.
The entire album plays out almost completely like a circus performance. With the opening song being the set-up, the second an absolutely huge bombastic opener and the third a continuation of that, only being slowed down and performed with less need to impress. Every song has its own tempo and each one is completely individual, with different aspects being introduced all the time. The female vocals in Unholy Divine
and the almost prog-death riffing of So Silent
only appear occasionally, and the band never overuse anything which keeps the listener interested throughout. It is this willingness to experiment and the lack of boundaries which makes The Frozen Circus such an enjoyable listen, completely unique in its execution and delivery.
Like every album though, it isn’t perfect. The middle is significantly weaker than both the start and ending, which might have you losing interest at that part. Fortunately though, the final three songs are some of the best on the album, and are guaranteed to leave a good impression on you. Indeed, Endless Night
is a wonderful example of the band’s sound, with quiet moments, grand parts and even several brilliant melodic leads throughout. Truly a brilliant composition when it all comes together, finishing with an amazing solo and leaving you stunned. That would have made a terrific ending to the album, but no, Eternal Deformity had something else up their sleeve.
At over seven minutes Lovelorn
is truly the pinnacle of the band’s sound. Taking on a serene atmosphere, they lose all the child’s play of the circus and just play their hearts out, set on leaving a lasting impression on you before you leave the circus. Everything comes in here at the end, violins, amazing acoustic touches, spectacular vocals and breathtaking melodies. When you look back at the album, that is the song you remember, and you also wonder why they couldn’t make a few more songs of that sort of quality. It outshines every song with ease, not to say that anything on the album is bad, no, Lovelorn is just that
In general, Eternal Deformity’s style and sound is very hard to pin down. They can mix a very heavy guitar performance with melancholic clean vocals easily, and vice versa, resulting in a blend of heaviness and melancholy that the band perfect throughout the course of the album. The guitarists form a very solid base for this circus act, with brilliant solo’s and proficient riffing which can be either formulaic (not in a bad way) or very melodic (in a very
good way) depending on what emotion the song is portraying. The variance in the sound is mostly because of the keyboards though, which can either use epic synth passages or mesmerizing playful passages (check out Endless Night
for a perfect example of this) which can turn the atmosphere from epic to cheeky at the drop of a hat.
So, you’ve visited the circus. Been blown away by the bombastic beginnings and amazed by the sheer brilliance of the ending. Sure, it’s not something you will want to visit every day, but when it comes down to it, it is a truly unique thing. One which deserves every ounce of attention it gets