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Frosthardr hails from Norway, and have been punching out devastatingly harsh black metal with a decidedly punk pedigree since 1997. The band's name is well known in extreme metal circles and its members have played in Vaakevandring and Antestor, yet this self titled disc (and vinyl) is the first full length album for the band. The glossy black logo on black cover, reminiscent of Metallica's black album, is a statement of what you can expect to hear. Yet, Frosthardr shows much more diversity than the average black metal crew. After a short intro, "Devastation" gets right in your face with its infectious punk raw attitude and gang vocals yelling "We Are!!" and protesting the abuse of creation by man. "Varg," the sole carryover from previous material intersperses rhythmic acoustic guitar chords with the blastbeats and full black metal storm. Jokull delivers his vocals throughout in a biting, acidic black metal snarl befitting the harshness of the music. In "Ormebol" again the band plays with slow/fast beats without becoming doomy, and someone else is contributing a deep death metal growl. The album has a number of songs in Norwegian, although the lyrics are printed in English even for these, but it's worth noting that the songs penned in Norwegian are the most poetic. "Plunder" has some moments that sound like Black Leather, and indeed all 3 of Zvi Tacussis' bands (Black Leather, Anima Mortuum, and Diamoth) are good comparisons. "The Battle" introduces a mid paced thrash rhythm that is quite memorable, although the black metal vocals take it to places hitherto untrodden. "Warmachines" slows down the thrash vibe even more for a Slayer-esque tune, with a side of Sabbath, using blunt language to show just what they think of warmongers, and tying making war for profit right back to Cain's murder of Abel. "Identity Denied" has a great thrash vibe and a skipping drumbeat. "Warmachine" and "Identity Denied" are out of order on the disc. "Destination" closes the album out with a great instrumental that might remind you of Vengeance Rising's "Into the Abyss," leading into some faster Tourniquet style guitar work amidst double bass drumming and when you hear the train whistle, this short ride is over- that quick. Frosthardr weaves faith into their lyrics with subtlety, there's no force feeding of the gospel here. If you find black metal to be rather one dimensional, you might want to give this disc a spin. They've wedded punk and thrash to their black metal roots to make their own sound, a highly accessible blend of extreme metal. An excellent album, even if it took 22 years to make, inviting you to join the guys because "We're here to plunder the devil's soulmine." (Nordic Mission) 4 out of 5 stars

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