’s Metal soup has spawned another spoonful in form of HB, a Symphonic Metal quintet that with “Frozen Inside” is now offering us the English version of their 2006 album “Enne”. Finland and Symphonic Metal? If NIGHTWISH come to mind, you are not far off, they are less over-the-top and combine the symphonic sound with Gothic Metal, so they are not just a copy of the big Finnish masters. Now I usually am a big fan of this style, but if you have peaked at the rating, then you already noticed that there is something amiss with this release and unfortunately more than one thing.
Before we get into things, if you’ve been wondering what HB stands for, it is an acronym for – Holy Bible. OK, 50% of all remaining readers are gone, too, so let’s have a look at the positive sides of “Frozen Inside”, shall we? The musicians definitely know how to play, the arrangements are well done and the production doesn’t really leave anything to be desired. So far, so good, now let’s move on to the problems of this album (in no particular order), which I will not be able to get through as quickly as the positive ones. Out of all the downsides of this album, the music alone offers enough demerits of its own to warrant the rating all on its own, because while the songs are not necessarily bad per se, they sound like a washed up version of the bands that left their mark on this genre and a mix of NIGHTWISH, WITHIN TEMPTATION and LACUNA COIL that does not have any real hooks or qualities to involve the listener does not stand much of a chance nowadays, because the songs just float by and before you notice, it’s over and when you try to remember what you had just listened to, there’s nothing left in your memory... And I can basically choose almost every song as example, because while very cohesive as a whole, they all operate on this level of basic forgettability, as much as it pains me to put it this bluntly.
If I had not heard plenty of albums of the mentioned bands before, then HB’s third effort might rather have a chance for a positive rating, as it would be something that sounds different, but unfortunately they are around a few years too late. And if that was not enough, there also are the lyrics. I normally don’t have a big problem with Christian lyrics, but if every single song doesn’t even try to mask the message and every second line praises the lord, calls Jesus the salvation or calls for the word of the Bible, it’s getting too much and way too preachy and direct, here are samples of each song:
Intro: "You are so wonderful, Creator, Holy one."
God Has All Glory: "God has all the glory, Power and Honour!"
It's Time: "Jesus cares for everyone" and "Kneel down before him. You need His love again!"
Be Aware: "Be Aware! The Lord is coming, He is coming!"
Holy Secret: "Thank you, Jesus. You’re my salvation, You’re my God."
Frozen Inside: "You will come to see the depth of your faith in the almighty God."
Years Go By: "Jesus is the way. May he be the foundation of your life."
Ambition: "Why do we take all your glory, we know it belongs to You, oh Father, And to your Son the Righteous One, He reigns with His love, reigns with His love."
Way: "There is no way, there’s no true freedom. Unless Jesus is all."
The Lovesong: "Jesus you are my Saviour. You reign!"
Now before you start to rave that I am completely hung up on the lyrics and gave such a low rating just based on the lyrical content and because it is Christian, you are wrong, there just is too much slammed right into your face and if the lyrics would be of the same kind, but with a different content, I would point that out as well. So don’t get on my case for condemning HB trying to spread their gospel, it is not the principle, it is the execution. I can live with religious lyrics as long as they are at least a little subtler than a sledge hammer…
So as mentioned above, the rating is based on the music alone, but the delivery of the lyrics don’t help the cause either. If you are someone, who basically needs everything in this style, give it a shot, everybody else, there are so many so much better releases out there...
(Online January 31, 2009)