Frosttide Blood Oath 01Melodic folk metallers Frosttide crossed my path back in 2013 with their debut full-length. Now a mere two years later, the Finns are back tipping tables and generally upsetting the orderly offices we have here at AMG central. Blood Oath, although being the band’s follow-up, takes one of the leftovers from Awakening and expands the lyrics outwards, creating a prequel or brother album that leads up to the arrogance and greed portrayed by the protagonist of the earlier release. Seeing that I enjoyed the fine line Frosttide walked between melody and aggression and their hints to bands like Wintersun, Ensiferum and Shade Empire, I snapped at the chance to review Blood Oath and while it does indeed feel like a part of its predecessor while holding some new and interesting melodic death influences, it suffers some setbacks that have me returning to the bands earlier work.

On first glance at the track lineup and run-times, you’ll see that Frosttide are stuck in a rut. As with Awakening, Blood Oath kicks off with “The Prologue.” It’s a grand instrumental, all nice and atmospheric, with a certain understatedness, finishing with a hint of synth on the back-end. naturally, the title track follows on quite seamlessly and this is where things really get started. “Blood Oath” has a convincingly stubborn melody that speeds along hand-in-hand with the aggressively paced drumwork, it’s got the upbeat familiarity of Frosttides earlier work and influences too. Well-placed time shifts and changes keep the track interesting, the drums and guitars work together to create a fun percussive element making the track feel more grandiose and exciting, and just when your attention starts the wane, “Gates Of The Asylum” makes a drawn out entrance. It’s around this point that you start noticing that the vocals lack the intensity of Frosttides earlier release, and this is a disappointment. On Awakening Joni Snoro’s leading larger-than-life blackened rasp felt well placed with only Juho Patinen’s backing vocals coming across as a little smothered. In Blood Oath, in addition to Juho Patinen providing backing, Frosttide have added contributions by Lauri Myllylä. Unfortunately, instead of flaunting all this vocal talent, going bigger and bolder, they’ve pushed the entire vocal element back into near obscurity.

Musically each of the tracks are exciting and when it all comes together the blast beats are spot on, the guitar riffs are melodic, spiced with passion and the solos are a mixture of sweet and alluring, with tons of dramatic intensity. In addition, Frosttide makes good use of sudden and jolting shifts in atmosphere and tempo that aren’t out-of-place, but rather add to the melodrama of their tale. “Fate Redefined” stands out for having a heavier melodic death influence – more along the lines of say Parasite Inc. The galloping number packs some lively guitar work along with a memorable melodic backbone and what would be some of Joni’s best grows if they weren’t so damn suppressed. This aside, the track’s a hurried journey to what feels like a “raise your beer glass” moment of victory.

Frosttide Blood Oath 02

Towards the back-end of the album, “Foreshadow” takes the spot of their standard ballad-like interlude, holding the same sad undertone of Awakening’s “Dawn of Despair” or to some extent RoutaSielu‘s “Kehtolaulu.” It’s by no means essential, but it’s pretty. And finally the album closes with much of what you’ve come to expect from Frosttide. BothNew Reign” and “Winds Of Winter´s Call” come across as one song rather than the separate tracks they are.

Blood Oath ended up being a tougher nut to crack than I anticipated and I had a few head scratching moments wondering how to review it. Setting my fangirlism aside, I can safely say that Frosttide haven’t explicitly made changes to their core sound and what you want and expect from them they deliver. But the burden of crushed vocals and a tendency for lengthier tracks to feel over long lead to some disappointment setting in. Blood Oath is by no means a bad album, but it does feel like a step backwards from what Frosttide delivered previously.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: NoiseArt Records
Websites: FrosttideOfficial | Facebook.com/Frosttide
Release Dates: EU: 2015.02.27 | NA: 03.10.2015

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  • I didn’t liked their first album because I thought it was too much new Ensiferum worship. But I think I will give this a chance. Thanks for the review, Madam X!

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Other AMG reviewers have said elsewhere that we shouldn’t be scared away from albums that fall into the 2.5/5 category. In other words, 2.5/5 doesn’t equal a bad album. As you point out, Blood Oath has its moments. Nevertheless, I often find myself passing by a lot of albums below a 3/5 simply because there’s so much other stellar stuff out there. This prejudice means I often miss out on some albums that would probably click with me.

    Being the anal retentive that I am, and not having the greatest memory, I keep a spreadsheet listing all the metal albums that I enjoy. Right now it’s up to 422 entries. Making room in a day for new and old favourites is a challenge. Hence the tendency to bypass lower-rated recordings. There’s no shortage of great music in the metalverse. Some albums, however, require more time to sink in, and I’m often guilty of not giving some albums the time they need.

    • Reviewing even just one new album a week I can relate to what you say. I set a bit of a rule for myself some time back…. old material in the car new material in the house. It works best though if you have a nice long drive ahead :)

      • Monsterth Goatom

        I do most of my listening at work; some on the weekends. Not many long drives in my life. At home, it’s pretty much wife and kids time. My wife’s OK with some of the clean vocals stuff, but I know a lot of the music I like would scare my daughters. Heck, they even find some parts of the Frozen soundtrack scary.

        • That definitely limits the opportunity to dive into the lower graded albums. I admire your dedication to the spreadsheet – sounds like something I need to try out.

  • Kreegwaldo

    It’s on Google Play Music and after just listening to the full album ( first time for Frosttide in general ) I dunno it’s….well I’d say 2.5 is accurate. It’s OK, nothing in it is memorable to me and it doesn’t even particularly sound “folky” to me.

    For me “folk” is stuff like Svartsot ( is AMG ever going to review their latest – Vaeldet? Curious to see what you all think ), with folk instruments folk lyrical content.

    • I haven’t come across any promo for Svartsot, but if we get it I’m pretty sure it’ll be reviewed.

    • We never received Svartsot as far as I can tell. That’s actually really weird.

      • Feytalist

        And a shame.

        Their previous albums were solidly fun folk – and I seem to remember you guys at AMG agree. I’d love you see a review of the new one.

        • Looked into it. The guys from the band just told me that the record was “half self-released” and that they hadn’t really done promo of it yet. Explains why we never got it.

          • Feytalist

            Huh, that’s interesting. Thanks for the heads up!

  • sir_c

    talking about some folky stuff, what about the latest A Forest of Stars (Beware The Sword You Cannot See), Mme X?
    You cannot have these on the TYMHM15 list, that’s for sure.