Frost Like Ashes
Tophet


4.5
superb

Review

by Probably the last mimsy USER (9 Reviews)
April 21st, 2010 | 93 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “I've seen the future... And you die”.

Frost Like Ashes is:
Azahel – vocals
Sebat – Guitar
Fire – Bass
Adonijah – drums
Qoheleth – Keyboard

Frost Like Ashes is a so called “Unblack Metal” band (though I find that gimmicky and misleading) from Kansas City, Missouri of all places. Mixing several different extreme metal styles into their brand of Black Metal; Frost Like Ashes has garnered a small, yet loyal following. After releasing their first EP “Pure As The Blood Covered Snow”, they moved directly into finishing the final product –and only LP to date- “Tophet”. From Death and Black Metal to Thrash, most any extreme metal fan will find something to enjoy in this seeming impenetrable album.

Tophet is a Hebrew word that became synonymous with hell, and as such “Tophet” commences with the barely intelligible utterance of “I've seen the future... And you die”. The lyrical subject matter deals apocalyptically with the war between Heaven and Hell (there is no Ronny James this time…). It’s not pretty. From war-torn landscapes, to the very depths of hell, Frost Like Ashes creates a swirling frenzy of blast beats and Black Metal shrieks. Azahel proves to be a versatile vocalist, utilizing his full range and switching between his extremes constantly. He usually settles into his upper-register shrieks, sounding like a demon railing against the very fabric of its existence. He also brings Death Metal into the mix frequently with a low growl/bark.

Even the aforementioned Thrash gets a showing here and there, most notably in Of Spirit and Power , which incorporates a Thrashy riff about half way through; which brings us to their guitarist, Sebat. Another versatile musician, he doesn’t stray too far away from the tremolo-picked chords, but when he does, it is usually for a solo. His solos are very Thrash influenced, with speed emphasized above groove. Of course, some exceptions exist, such as the blazing solo located within a minute of the beginning of Lord of Darkness and the ending to Shattered Gods, where Sebat goes crazy up and down the fret board. The other guitarist –bass player Fire- is hardly worth noting. One would be hard pressed to find audible bass playing, and then even more hard pressed to find bass playing worth noting. Sadly however, that is the norm for most extreme metal genres. The other member of the rhythm section is thankfully better. Much better. He blasts through songs with heavily triggered double bass and speedy blast-beats. The best word I can use to describe the sounds produced by Adonijah’s kit is nasty. His drumming is always prevalent in the mix, sounding quite like a drum machine at times. The last member of the band is Qoheleth, who provides the ambient keyboarding throughout “Tophet”. With the crazy vocals, guitar and drums, it comes as almost a shock when you catch snippets of synths and keyboards behind the madness. It is a greater shock when you find out that they’ve been there the whole time, adding an unseen dimension to the music. Perhaps his most notable performance comes in the almost interlude track Crucifixion, where keyboards and synths open into one of the few subdued sections. It is actually a favorite because of the ambiance and emotion it portrays in only a few minutes.

All in all, “Tophet” is a rather intimidating experience, one of the farthest examples from accessibility I have seen. The vocals are grating and at times disgusting, the guitar buzzes in the background and shreds through solos, and the drums are almost overbearing with the amount of triggering and blast beats. For those willing to give it time, however, there is another dimension. The cold bleakness of “Tophet” gives way to ambiance and groove, and where only darkness and despair existed previously, now so too does light. For me, it evolved from a tale of death and destruction into a message of hope. If you are a fan of extreme metal, but not of “Christian Metal”, check this out, you have nothing to lose but bandwidth. If you are a fan of both extreme metal and “Christian Metal”, then this release is a must-have for you.

Recommended Tracks:
A Cruel Verse
Lord of Darkness
Of Spirit and Power
Shattered Gods

“The howling winds bring comfort to my weary soul
And I close my eyes and welcome home
The Cold”




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user ratings (22)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Emim
April 21st 2010


26666 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Tried a slightly different format for this review, and it looked longer in Word. Anyways, let me know what you think and (helpful) criticisms are always welcome.

BigTuna
April 21st 2010


5161 Comments


I will get this and then I will listen to it.

TheSpirit
April 21st 2010


17990 Comments


I vaguely remembering you mentioning these guys before...hmmm unblack metal....hmmmm

Digging: The Speed of Sound in Seawater - Red Version

Emim
April 21st 2010


26666 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I d/l'd a couple tracks like a year ago from iTunes (when my appreciation for black metal was MUCH less), and only got the full album a few months ago.

tiesthatbind
April 21st 2010


7380 Comments


Omg an Emim review! Pos'd

Digging: Poets of the Fall - Twilight Theater

Emim
April 21st 2010


26666 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

YES!

Hawks
April 21st 2010


35838 Comments


This was a good review. Unblack metal definitely isn't my thing at all though.

Emim
April 21st 2010


26666 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, Hawks. Like I said, "Unblack" is gimmicky and misleading.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2010


16467 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I've heard of these guys but never listened to them. I might do so now.

Hawks
April 21st 2010


35838 Comments


No problem dude. And yeah I just don't think that Christian themes should be associated with black metal. It doesn't really make any sense at all to me. I'm a Christian too so it's not like I think this stuff because of my beliefs or anything, I just think it's really stupid lol.

Emim
April 21st 2010


26666 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well, black metal gained much its infamy due to the satanic nature. However, black metal to me is more of a musical style than a lyrical theme. That's my take on it anyways.

I've heard of these guys but never listened to them. I might do so now.


I'm interested to see what other people think of them.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2010


16467 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Downloading this now, we'll see how it goes.

bloozclooz
April 21st 2010


1770 Comments


amazing album.

but really, old Catholicism is the blackest ov the black. ever read the old testament? that shit's fuckin' scary

Emim
April 21st 2010


26666 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The anticipation is killing me!

Emim
April 21st 2010


26666 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Right on, blooz, so someone else has heard this.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2010


8387 Comments


nice review, although there are so many cool new releases out/just dropping that I have to skip on this atm.

Nevertheless, props on reviewing something original

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2010


16467 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

First song and I hate the vocals. Maybe I'll get used to them, but that's just first impressions.

Emim
April 21st 2010


26666 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nice review, although there are so many cool new releases out/just dropping that I have to skip on this atm.

Nevertheless, props on reviewing something original


Thanks, Styles, I understand completely.

First song and I hate the vocals. Maybe I'll get used to them, but that's just first impressions.


Ha ha ha, that was exactly what happened to me.

BigTuna
April 21st 2010


5161 Comments


yeah 'cause the Old Testament is old Catholicism.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2010


16467 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

They remind of (at least the high-pitched screams), I hate to say, Dani Filth.



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