about%20-%20jpg.jpg reviews%20-%20jpg.jpg interviews%20-%20jpg.jpg gigs%20-%20jpg.jpg cd_review_byfrost_ofdeath001006.jpg
The label stuck on the front of the CD case boldly states: "The heaviest force in Norwegian Battle Metal", which already primes the listening experience before I've spun this disc. A wise marketing move and jumping on the bandwagon to cash-in on said subgenre's popularity, or actually an accurate description of Byfrost's music? I hazard a guess at the former as there's always been a degree of ambiguity as to what exactly constitutes "Battle Metal" anyway considering the diverse range of bands critics would have you believe fall under the banner of such. From the opening bars of 'May the Dead Rise', what actually greets my ears is a slab of up tempo, adeptly performed black metal with tremolo picked guitars interposed with passages of blackened thrash, together with idiomatic blast beats and HeavyHarms' (yes, they have silly pseudonyms too) Shagrath-esque vocals. So it's fairly safe to say that the Battle Metal term is perhaps a little redundant here in actually describing the music, but more apt for their imagery and lyrical themes. Opting for a genre of "Black 'n' Roll' on their Facebook page, that's a far more apposite descriptive term as the pastiched blast-beat led black metal elements are mixed up with some truly infectious riffing in passages of music that will have you nodding along to the up tempo groove. And Byfrost have one hell of a sound for only a three-piece - aforementioned HellHarms plays guitar as well as singing while the equally silly monikered R.I.P. Meister performs bass and Alkolust, drums. I can't really praise Byfrost for originality or innovation at all but their finely balanced blend of black and thrash makes for a genuinely engaging listen. This combination excels on 'Buried Alive' with its overtones of Thyrfing and latter day Immortal. The production, while not overly polished, is richly resonant throughout so the tracks have all the right sonic weight at all the right moments - Vulture Industries frontman Bjørnar E. Nilsen and Enslaved keyboardist Herbrand Larsen are the men responsible for this, and what a fine job they've done. Only formed four years ago, Byfrost are effectively still near the beginning of their career but already shine with this sophomore full-length effort so they undoubtedly have promising times ahead. Well worth checking out for those who like their black metal fused with a thrash aesthetic.
AFM Records
Review by Mark Holmes
11th July 2011
1) $$
2) Man vs Machine
3) The Decay of Hope
4) A Cocktail of Toxins
5) Spit the Medicine
6) Virago
7) Autopsy
8) Future Closing In
9) Exit
10) Hell is a Circle
11) 27 1/2
"...pastiched blast-beat led black metal elements are mixed up with some truly infectious riffing..."