Accosting the ear with a malicious caustic wash of thrash and black metal, the self-released EP The Northwinds Rend Flesh from US band Frosthelm is a savage and pleasing confrontation which rewards as fully as it punishes. It is a merciless abrasion, a release which scars and soaks the senses in filth coated nastiness whilst leaving them eager to feel and hear much more from the band.
The quartet from North Dakota formed in 2009 and soon had their local area subservient to their blackened viciousness. An acclaimed early demo marked the band as one to watch for a great many and with the release of their first EP and an appearance on a CD sampler from Terrorizer Magazine with a track from the release, now might be the time Frosthelm rampage to wider recognition, The Northwinds Rend Flesh certainly deserves the attention.
As the title track emerges from a harsh atmospheric wind with a simple play of guitar it is hard to imagine what is to come for newcomers to the band. Even as it widens its arms the song is a sonic blistering which is reserved and melodically tight within heavy riffs. Taking a breath the track then unleashes a torrent of insidious vocals from Tyler, his serpentine delivery a tongue lashing for ear and thoughts, whilst riffs and rhythms fill the towering skies with thunderous energy and destructive intensity. Now in full rampant flight musically, the release offers essences of the likes of Dissection and Goatwhore as well as spicery from others such as Amon Amarth and Testament, though references to early Metallica and Skeletonwitch has been also deservedly been placed upon the band and record. The guitars of Dakota twist and scythe through the ear with skilled enterprise whilst the rhythmic malice of bassist Jim and drummer Ji hold no respite within their crushing presences. It is a great start and an immediate statement of intent for release and band in the future.
Goblindriver rushes through the ear next with rampant intensity and tsunami like rhythms. It is an avalanche of festering spite and sonic teasing which evolves throughout whilst refusing to show any mercy from its heavyweight corruptive annihilation. Arguably more involved than the first track but less immediate, the song crawls and squalls over the senses softening them up for the following Reaping the Seeds of Corruption perfectly. Its tempest of sound and energy spews riffs and rhythms like a vindictive tornado, intent on searing flesh with sonic incisiveness whilst bruising everything else with barbarous intensity. The best track on the release it is a sprawling venomous treat which sucks in and spits out the listener with accomplished might and erosive effect.
With final track Damage Over Time offering a further punishing violent engagement which leaves only lingering satisfaction in its wake, The Northwinds Rend Flesh EP is a striking introduction to Frosthelm. It offers thoughts and promise of greater things ahead from the foursome whilst in the now leaving a very satisfied victim with its cancerous and appetizing presence; certainly a release and band to make a note of.
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