Review: Lords of the Trident – Frostburn
Known primarily in the Midwestern United States, the Lords of the Trident are fast rising American power metal band known for epic live shows and a traditional power metal sound. Their newest effort Frostburn builds upon everything these power metal immortals have done so far.
Kicking the album with speed and serious guitar skills, ‘Knights of Dragons Keep’ gives listeners a taste of things to come with the speedy, technical riffs of Asian Metal and Killius Maximus (Maximus has since left the band and has been replaced by The Baron), the clean, heroic vocals of Fang VonWrathenstein, and the driving bass and drums of Pontifex Mortis and Dr. Vitus.
Following Knights of Dragons Keep is the slightly slower and more melodic ‘The Longest Journey.’ Brimming with power metal glory, this track carries on where Knights of Dragon Keep left off showcasing a little more of Fang’s vocal range and lyrical ability, as well as the guitar skills of Maximus and Asian Metal – who can argue with a one minute guitar solo?
Kicking the speed up a few notches ‘Winds of the Storm’ is one of the album’s many anthems. A heavy rhythm section and fast picking drives this tune to the battle its lyrics allude to. Fang’s vocals remain consistently upbeat and hit slightly higher levels toward the end of the track, while the guitar solo, though starting a little slow in tempo, kicks up to the speed of the rest of the track, delivering another one minute solo, which is obviously a band staple at this point.
Another anthem and the self-proclaimed favorite of Fang VonWrathenstein, the main draw of ‘Manly Witness’ are the lyrics – of course, the music plays as much of a role as always. Telling the story of a man witnessing a crime and deciding to take action rather than turn his back and run, ‘Manly Witness’ is a testament to unbridled manliness in the vein of Manowar and Arnold Schwarzenegger films. If you’re an action movie fan, this is sure to be your favorite track of the entire album as well. Best of all, towards the end of this manly tune Fang pushes his vocals to a whole new level striking high notes in a fashion that would make Rob Halford proud.
Taking a decidedly folkish direction with an acoustic opening, ‘Haze of the Battlefield’ is possibly the slowest tune of the album, but also one the heaviest once the distortion kicks in. Though a great tune, it is quickly outdone by ‘Kill to Die,’ which is without a doubt the heaviest tune on the entire album, featuring faster drums, heavier guitar and bass, wilder solos, and higher vocals than anything before it. Both tracks deal with medieval warfare, as do many by Lords of the Trident, but when played side by side they give a feeling of night and day. While Haze of the Battlefield is a lament to the battle now behind them, ‘Kill to Die’ is a celebration of the battle in all of its glory. Both are great songs but as the title evokes Kill to Die destroys its competition with its epic Manowar-esque finish.
After ‘Kill to Die’ it’s hard a follow up on equal or greater footing. ‘Den of the Wolf,’ while an excellent tune worthy of the Lords of the Trident, pales in comparison due to its slower tempo and greater focus on melodic guitars than distortion. ‘Light This City’ avenges ‘Den of the Wolf’ with uncompromising speed, group chanting, and powerful riffs that fit perfectly to the lyrical theme of racing the streets of Tokyo in a customized Japanese street car – considering the rest of the album is high fantasy, the inclusion of a song clearly inspired by The Fast and the Furious franchise is strange but highly enjoyable.
The final two tracks of Frostburn are in fact a pair. The voiceless ‘The Cloud Kingdom’ is just a minute long instrumental performed in a medieval fashion. The Cloud Kingdom is a clear introduction to the album closer ‘Shattered Skies.’ And what a closer it is! Diving head first back into the high fantasy theme, the Lords of the Trident triumphantly end Frostburn with a heavy track led by the most prominent vocal delivery of the entire album. Shattered Skies takes everything that made Frostburn a great album and pushes it beyond the limit with the addition of symphonic synths, operatic chanting, and the best guitar solo on the entire album. Track to track, the Lords of the Trident’s Frostburn is nothing short of a power metal masterpiece that everyone who enjoys this type of music needs to hear. That being said, the album lives up to the band’s claim of being “the most metal band on earth” and given time, they just might rival the long reigning kings of metal themselves. Look out Manowar, the Lords of the Trident are coming for your crown. 10/10