Frostmoon Eclipse - _Dead and Forever Gone_
(ISO666, 2005)
by: Quentin Kalis (8 out of 10)
Any reasonably knowledgeable metalhead would deduce from the band name that these Italians perform black metal, and judging from accounts of their previous two full-lengths, they would be correct. But Frostmoon Eclipse have taken a few steps down the proverbial path less travelled and have released an acoustic album.

This change of direction will immediately herald comparisons to Ulver's _Kveldssanger_, but such comparisons can't be sustained, as Ulver focused on Nordic folk with a touch of classical fingerpicking, while _Dead and Forever Gone_ is essentially an acoustic rock album. A more apt comparison would be with Opeth's _Damnation_ in terms of atmosphere -- but not style; they are far less proggy and lack the sublime melodies. But like Ulver and Opeth, _DaFG_ does not really represent a neat dichotomy in their career, but rather an exploration of an aesthetic that was present in their earlier work but never fully developed.

The mood never veers too far from the melancholic and the vocalist is keen to show that black metal vocalists are capable of more than snarls, shrieks and atonal whining (which, of course, does have its place), showcasing soft yet depressive clean vocals. Bass and drums are present, but this is kept basic so as to not overpower the main focus and driving force of the acoustic guitars and voice. Highly enjoyable, and I suspect Frostmoon Eclipse may have more to offer in this field than to oversubscribed black metal.


(article published 29/10/2006)

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