Frosthelm - The Endless Winter

I love me some blackened thrash, but for whatever reason not much of it crosses my path on a regular basis.  There seems to be an endless flow of blackened folk and death, yet my penchant for Immortal and Absu is more often than not left unsatisfied.  Thankfully this drought was lifted with the arrival of The Endless Winter.  Equal parts the 80’s thrash of Exodus and melodic grimness of Taake, Frosthelm are a force to be reckoned with.
One look at this amazing, frost-bitten cover and the band name, and you wouldn’t think this was the work of a couple dudes from North Dakota.  Yet there it is.  Nevertheless, these guys can shred with the best of their Nordic brethren.  I can almost see Abbath silently nodding approval with crossed arms:  Insanely fast tremolos, wild palm-mute alternation, shrieking treble-heavy chords, and a number of excellent solos to boot.  I am pretty sure that there is some direct Bathory influence on this album as well.  The thrashier parts share some qualities with Blood Fire Death while the bigger riffs bring Hammerheart to mind (see opening to “A Storm of Teeth”).
Between the endless blastbeats, minor key variations, and shrieked vocals; there is little doubt that Frosthelm are black metal to the bone.  And yet I find myself frequently banging my head and grinning while picturing “Zetro” Souza in corpse paint.  There’s something about the thick chug patterns and cadence of the screams that manages to infuse the bay area scene into the otherwise icy riffage.  It’s a combination I never would have dreamed possible, but I think that is exactly what drew me to this album to begin with.  A closer look at the liner notes reveals further clues behind the sound.  It was recorded in L.A. and mixed and mastered by Matt Hyde (Slayer, Kreator).  Frosthelm even go so far as to call themselves “thrashened black.”
Whatever you choose to call it, you need to check it out on bandcamp pronto.  Their ability to be highly technical in the shredding and drumming while maintaining a keen ear for catchy hooks and pure mosh pit mayhem are a wonder to behold.  I can’t decide whether to wear corpse paint with board shorts or a sleeveless shirt and flowing curls with combat boots and spikes.  It’s a conundrum.  But let me worry about the fashion while you stream this monster today.  It’s “The Toxic Waltz” in a snowstorm.