Favorite Albums of 2019, number 11:
Frozen Crown - “Crowned In Frost”
A disclaimer: I normally hate power metal and all of it’s cheesy artwork, bombastic songwriting, and extreme falsetto singing. It is just not my thing. So imagine my surprise when I absolutely fell in love with this album. The second full-length from the Italian quintet, “Crowned In Frost” ticks a lot of boxes on the list of standard power metal tropes, but is carried to loftier heights by plenty of excellent songwriting and the insanely talented vocal performance of Jade Etro. Since most male power metal singers seem hellbent on emulating female opera singers, it only makes sense for an actual woman to step up and mop the floor with everyone else. The guitar work is top notch and the songs stand on their own but Jade is the star of the show. (Side note, I watched plenty of YouTube videos of their live performances, and she is the real deal - no studio trickery here.) After an epic instrumental opening track, “Neverending” sets the tone for the rest of the album with one of the most memorable chorus sections I’ve heard in a long, long time. Seriously, it is probably my favorite song of the entire year. Key to the success of “Neverending”, and the album as a whole, is that it is accessibly melodic while still aggressively metal, and never strays into the Land of Cheese. The two tracks that follow “Neverending” are not nearly as strong (such is the Curse of Putting Your Best Song First) but the title track brings the awesomeness and the album rides forth to a strong finish from there. Overall, “Crowned in Frost” is a seriously infectious album with lots to love and little to complain about. I wish more power metal sounded like this.
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