CD REVIEW: Frostbite Valentine and Other Stories of Hope
By: Cyrus Rhodes
CD: Valentine and Other Stories of Hope
Label: Independent Artist
Heavy Metal, Gothic Rock, Hard Rock
Another Stain, But for the Beating, My Darkest Dream
Atlanta based Goth-Metal band “Frostbite” releases their latest CD Valentine and Other Stories of Hope in 2011. Reading now from the bio: "Clawing, tearing, screaming, scratching, ripping through my skin." More appropriate words could not have been written to describe the creation of this album .The dark inspirations that find their way into Christopher Lee Compton's songwriting ensure that Frostbite will turn heads in gothic rock, metal and industrial communities worldwide. Well said.
The CD methodically takes of with apocalyptic ”But for the Beating” This low end prelude sets the stage rather way for this catalogue of music and leads you by the hand into Track 2 ”My Darkest Dream” This piece hits hard with its thrashing rock rhythm, thunderous guitar chords and catchy metal core vocal delivery from Compton. Track “Valentine” delivers more of the same raw intensity that slams your ears into submission with its thought provoking lyrical content, impressive vocal harmonies and overall apocalyptic melody. The CD doesn’t let up - with Track 4 is an interesting cover classic Berli'n's “The Metro.” This piece hit even harder and whips you mental state around like a wild tornado, with melodic guitar and dynamic vocal intensity from Compton. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear influences ranging from Type O’ Negative, Fields of the Nephilim, and Poisonblack. I will add that this is one band that has carved out a unique nice for themselves within their unique fusion of sound. The music has everything you would expect from a high octane gothic metal CD but sounds fresh and new. The musical style refuses to be pinned into submission. The vocals are gritty and are deep in your grill, the guitar playing is hot to the touch, and some of the theatrical production touches are borderline brilliant. The songs themselves are reckless, progressive and packed to the hilt with raw intensity and lyrical content straight from the crypt keeper. Compton’s vocal style works well with respect to this style of music with its stereotypical jagged edge delivery. What I like most about the music is its unpredictability. Like a heavy weight boxer the songs keep coming at you one after the other - with no sign of letting up. From my personal favorite “Yet Another Stain” to menacing “Deceit” to compelling “Deveint Rain” to heartfelt “Hurt” this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with 2 bonus tracks “How” and Veteran of the Psychic Wars” the perfect finale statements for a CD of this caliber.
The biggest problem with the CD is not the band, not the music, not the performances - it’s the engineering aspect of it all. The overall production quality (recording, mixing, mastering) seems to be somewhat erratic, amateurish, and lackluster. This is especially true when played on high–end stereo systems. Digging deeper into the liner notes it says the CD was “engineered, mixed and produced by Christopher Lee Compton.” Typically all 3 production phases (Recording, Mixing, Mastering) should be handled by a separate music professional altogether. It takes engineering savvy to record, mix, and master a musical production to industry standards these days. The impact 3 separate engineers will have on your overall sound cannot be overstated. If this was 1979 this would be a state of the art, cutting edge musical production. Unfortunately its 2012 and the bar is set really high for independent artists like Frostbite. On a positive note if this CD was engineered properly (Recording, Mixing, Mastering) it would definitely be a 9 or a 10. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. If this review seems lopsided it’s merely reflects the extremes presented on Valentine.
The latest CD from "Frostbite” entitled Valentine and Other Stories of Hope is a solid and consistent musical statement from Christopher Lee Compton. Its strength – the impressive songwriting, impressive theatrics and and dark intensity that keeps coming at you song for song. . The messages are dark, though provoking, intense and may cause your ears to freeze solid.