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culture

Sound Advice: Prosperous Visions, by Primalfrost

This winter just got a lot more epic.

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While Primalfrost has recently expanded to include a full live lineup, at it’s core, its the project of one young man: lead guitarist Dean Arnold, who composes all the music, handles all the programming, plays all the instruments, and performs all the vocals on the record. Founded in 2012, Primalfrost released the EP Chapters of Time later that same year, and its 55-minute, full-length debut Prosperous Visions was released by Metal Maple Records on February 10, 2014—and all this before he’s even turned 18.

Primalfrost refer to its aesthetic as “epic metal,” a shorthand term that refers to a hybrid genre that borrows the most grand and bombastic elements from black, folk, power, melodic death and symphonic metal to create high-energy, cinematic musical narratives. Operatic in scale, there’s very little that’s subtle about this record, from the swelling, triumphal opening “Visio Prosperum,” which is driven by stirring drums and power chords, to the windswept, choral closing “Unforgotten Valour.” Prosperous Visions doesn’t allow itself very much breathing room, as every moment must be the most intense, the most driving, the most emotionally harrowing. It’s a challenging things to sustain, though Primalfrost does a surprisingly good job of it, and if you need nearly a full hour of unremitting epicness (and who doesn’t), Prosperous Visions has you covered.

One thing that sets Primalfrost apart from its peers is the variety of tones and techniques it manages to work into this record. While many bands effectively blend away the barriers between the genres they pull aspects and inspirations from, Primalfrost chooses to wear its influences more openly and keep the techniques intact. For example, “Beyond The Shores and Lands” includes driving death metal percussion and guttural harsh vocals, suddenly features a more winsome, plaintive folk metal passage, and then later crescendos into a wailing power metal solo. Keeping these techniques and approaches intact, rather than muddying and blending them together, creates vivid moments of juxtaposition and keeps Prosperous Visions surprising.

Prosperous Visions arrives at a moment when Toronto has been running the grinding, exhausting gauntlet of winter for months—an injection of something epic is most welcome. If you want to feel like an ice wizard while shovelling your driveway or make taking your dog for a walk seem like an mighty quest with your direhound, just do it all with Prosperous Visions in your headphones.

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