When you think of the land of Vikings and epic battles, Scandinavia probably comes to mind, thanks to a mix of history, and the style of metal that generally comes from that region. Frost Giant give that impression, but hail from the faraway land of Philadelphia instead. This group combines melodic death metal with epic folk metal to create a very European style of metal that makes them sound like native Norwegians. Their most recent album, “The Harlot Star” demonstrates this sound very well. Opening on this album is the title track, “The Harlot Star. This song serves as the soft intro to this album, and leads right into “Forgive Me Not”. This begins the epic feel that populates this album, and shows off the nice mix of clean and harsh vocals that the band uses frequently. “Apostasis” is a sort of interlude, before “The Curse of Doubt” begins. This song is fast and heavy, however, as the song continues, it gets more melodic and a bit softer, giving the song a natural give that ultimately makes it a standout song.
“An Exile in Storm” is a short, two minute song that almost entirely consists of singing, with very little instrumental backing it up. This is a pretty cool track, and is different from the rest of the album. Up next is “Prisoner of the Past”, which begins with a softer piano before building up into a well-written epic song that continues the trend of good songs that populate this album. “Ashes Among the Earth” is another interlude, that leads into “The Forgotten Graves”. This ten minute mammoth of a song changes from soft to heavy, uses both clean and harsh vocals, and features some nice riffs. This is a really good song, that while a bit long, shows of just what this band can do. “Of Clarity and “Regret” is about seven minutes long, and leans much more on the melodic side than the previous track. The band really lets their melody tendencies shine here, and also throw in a nice solo for good measure.
“Monuments to Nothing” is the last full song before the outro track, and is a very folk inspired song. That side of the band’s found is really shown off here in another well-written song. The band chooses to continue using lengthy songs here, almost nine minutes, and still manage to fill the time with interesting material. “Perpetuum et Aeternum” serves as the outro, and is a short piano instrumental that allows the album to fade out, giving it a nice end point. This is a very solid album. The reliance on interludes as well as a short opening and closing track does make it feel like it’s too many songs, but it doesn’t take away from the experience. The Vikings would be happy with this album.
Overall Score: 8.0/10
Review by Sam Hookom