Frozen Ocean - Natt Over Meg - (8/10)
Published on November 8, 2013
Frozen Ocean is a rather eclectic black metal and ambient project founded in 2005 and solely performed by Vaarwel. To date, this Russian act has released seven full length albums among a slew of EPs and split releases, with Natt Over Meg, released in November of 2013, as the latest for this prolific entity. With Frozen Ocean, you can never really be sure what you’re getting into. The band’s previous album, Trollvinter, showcased an album full of electronic pieces, 2012’s A Perfect Solitude was a cold, ambient work and 2011’s Likegyldig Raseri was a dirty black metal opus in tribute to one of the lo-fi masters, Ildjarn.
Word on the street was that Vaarwel was returning to his primal, punk-infused, black metal sound with Natt Over Meg and that is exactly what happened. Similarities to Ildjarn’s Strength and Anger or Forest Poetry albums could be made all day, but that’s where Frozen Ocean is coming from here, only with more focus on tempo changes than the bald man. According to Vaarwel himself, Natt Over Meg, which serves as the third part in his Norwegian black metal tribute, is a tribute to Fenriz and Nocturno Culto of Darkthrone fame. While the music does scream Ildjarn during most of the album’s run time, there are some select portions that stand out, like the cold, breezy plodding during “Natt Over Meg III” and the somber solo piano piece that is “Natt Over Meg IX”. If nothing else, these somewhat off-kilter portions make the fast paced punk riffing so much more poignant when they barge back through the door.
While the likes of punk-infused black metal always bring to mind the works of Bone Awl, Gandr and Ildjarn, Frozen Ocean does something none of those seminal bands ever thought of; producing an album full of punked up black metal with a relatively strong production. Yeah, you read that correctly, punky black metal with a solid punch, something that has been severely lacking in the genre. Most of the riffing is styled after Idljarn’s trademark blackened punk style, but, being that Natt Over Meg, is supposedly influenced by Darkthrone, there are some unmistakable leanings towards standard second wave black metal. “Natt Over Meg X”, for example, sandwhiches a rather atmospheric, “Freezing Moon” inspired segment between two balls out punk riffs. “Natt Over Meg XII” forgoes the standard punk ryhthms and delves into Tsjuder style blasting coldness, which is strikingly thick and full bodied after an album full of punk riffs.
While I dig this stlye and I really have to give kudos to Vaarwel for doing whatever the hell he likes whenever the hell he wants to, the are few misteps and stumbles. “Natt Over Meg VII” and “Natt Over Meg XIII” seem to get a little too bass heavy and muddies the presentation too much for its own good. “Natt Over Meg XII” sees Vaarwel goign for an industrial tinged vocal delivery, which sounds extremely out of place. I mean, those are relatively minor qualms. Frozen Ocean took the formula from Likegyldig Raseri and improved upon it by bolstering the production and adding more dynamics in tempo and delivery. This is a solid release from this prolific Russian act. Natt Over Meg is limited to 500 copies through Obscure Abhorrence so if you dig the blackened punk of Ildjarn and Bone Awl, find your copy today.