The Frozen Throne
(Inner Wound Recordings)
When Japanese Heavy Metal pioneers X Japan unleashed their neo-Classical opus The Art Of Life in 1993, they unwittingly 'birthed' the Symphonic Power Metal genre, thus inspiring a legion of like-minded artists and groups. Among the most prominent later-day (or, more specifically, post-Nightwish) disciples is Lucca, Tuscany Italy-born upstarts Kalidia. Formed in 2010 amid the ashes of Neverwing, a Gothic and Symphonic Metal group focused on cover material, the group issued their debut EP Dance Of The Four Winds in 2012 to near-universal praise. Following shortly thereafter with the self-released Lies' Device (2014) and the limited edition Kingdom Of Thyne Illusions/Lies' Device split with fellow countrymen 4th Dimension, the group was viewed by many as being on the cusp of true greatness. Now, with the highly-anticipated release of The Frozen Throne, their latest-- and quite possibly greatest--offerings to date, the group is destined for the commercial recognition they deserve.
On the brilliant The Frozen Throne (2018), an expertly assembled eleven song collection of Symphonic-infused Power Metal, each track, beginning with the maddeningly infectious first single “Frozen Throne” and the swashbuckling (and arguably self-explanatory) lament “Black Sails”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of all parties involved, myself most definitely included. Firing on all cylinders early and often, the group unleashes a seamless, multi-dimensional barrage of soaring vocals, blistering fretwork and lush keys and strings, setting the pace and tone for what follows. Operating under the less-than-ideals of a relatively unknown act, they effortlessly obliterate the few misguided souls still doubtful of their ability to persevere amid an already overcrowded Global Power Metal populace. Wisely showcasing their more-than-considerable talents without focusing too heavily on any single element, the group offers scant opportunities for legitimate criticism.
Continuing with the emotionally overwrought plea “To The Darkness I Belong” and the triumphant, fist-pumping “Midnight's Chant”, the airtight--to say the very least--combination of multi-octave vocalist Nicoletta Rosellini (Aevum, Kaledon, Walk In Darkness) guitarist Federico Paolini, bassist Roberto Donati and drummer Dario Gozzi (replacing departed ex-Scavenger skinsman Gabriele Basile) steamrolls ahead with a mechanized grace. Drawing heavily from Hammerfall, Rhapsody Of Fire and Stratovarius, the group drives home each key focal point via a subtle, blood-thirsty enthusiasm. Yielding what can only be described as a crystalline amalgamation of the genre's finest and perhaps most recognizable elements, they boldly eschew the 'tried and true' redundancies (e.g. screamed/growled male vocals and a hyper-accentuated focus on Pop songwriting) typically employed by the crème de la crème of yore.
Produced and Mixed by a 'dream team' tandem of the acclaimed Lars Rettkowitz (Freedom Call, Lightningz Edge, Victorious) and Mastered by Achim Köhler (Amon Amarth, Brainstorm, Primal Fear), other standouts, including the delightfully hopeful “Go Beyond” and the swaggering, equally impressive closer “Queen Of The Forsaken”, only further reinforce the group's still-burgeoning reputation as a bona fide creative force not to be ignored. Adorned throughout by cover artwork via Deviant Art contributor Stan W. Decker (Dream Child, Ross The Boss, Vanden Plas), what ultimately separates the oft-mighty The Frozen Throne from the seeming endless array of contemporary releases is their unnervingly intense focus on crafting immediately memorable material that outright demands repeated listening. Having patiently honed their craft while sharing the stage with Cellar Darling, Timo Tolkki and Vision Divine throughout mainland Europe, their future now appears truly boundless.
Undeniably the most prominent female-fronted Power/Symphonic Metal release of the past half decade, the majority--if not all--of the decidedly ear-pleasing wares contained herein are guaranteed to leave both clueless newcomers and die-hard completists alike only wanting for more. Even if you understandably still find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer number of would-be contemporaries that masquerade as the next 'big things', one must, at the very least sincerely admire the group's ability to thoroughly distinguish themselves from the sturm und drang without shamelessly pandering to the lowest common denominator. As a result, if you've once again found yourself in search of a refreshingly imaginative alternative--and decidedly eye-pleasing--alternative to the puréed, Hip-Hop-fueled preposterousness of the mainstream elite (and, as a result, our charts and airwaves), then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane salve for what ails you. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
The Frozen Throne (2018)
Lies Device (2014)
Dance Of The Four Winds (EP) (2012)
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