Record Swap: Link vs. Frosty

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In this edition of Record Swap, Link Leonhart sends Celtic Frosty on an epic quest through the mountains and forests of a land long forgotten, and Frosty counters with a one-way ticket to Ancient Egypt and the tombs of Pharoahs and old gods. Will either of them make it back alive? The rules for Record Swap are simple: no research, no foreknowledge, no mercy.

Link Leonhart’s Assignment: Crescent’s Pyramid Slaves (2014)

crescent

Pyramid Slaves is one of my favorite death metal albums of the last couple of years, and a recipient of tragically little fanfare. It’s heavy, technical, melodic, and intimidating all at once. At times the aggression advances at breakneck speed, and sometimes it spins around the listener in slow motion like a stationary tornado. Naturally I’m curious to hear others’ thoughts on this album, and since what little I’ve written about it has been met with silence, I wonder if it’s actually as good as I think it is or if Link can can tell us why I’m wrong. – Frosty

I can imagine how Celtic Frosty, our resident expert in Frosty metal, found this collection of songs. I do not think he was clicking randomly in his computer. Oh, no! He was definitely raiding some ancestral place looting unknown treasures, desecrating the corpses of long-forgotten kings and unlocking death magick from another aeon. He must be in a travel in Egypt and he found the word Crescent, written in stone, trapped in the horrific doze produced by the Sun itself in the afternoon.

I think that this is a record that doesn’t want to hide in a useless veil of metaphoric rambles; on the opposite, Pyramid Slaves is a direct album, forged by the sands and the hands of Man.

The compositions are comprised of a mix between a Blackened Death approach to the metal genre and the use of some melodic passage lines that extends or contracts, to find spaces and draw in the air of the desert. Behind the ambivalent guitars, the savage drumming rattles with fierceness in blast sections, accentuates the tribal fist-pumping segments; and even stops-and-go to help the strings instruments to push the game of the echoing Egyptian lines and phrasing.

Gates of the Sun, Crown of Pestilance (with that fast double-pedaling shooting near the end) and Pyramids Slaves are winners in the songwriting aspects in this album. The ascending riffs of the dual guitars write each other conjuring with effective ease. And in all these songs, I didn’t felt that the narrative and aesthetic was occasionally absent; in all honest, Crescent could work with their tools in a very practical way.

I do not care if a certain band from another country is using the Ancestral Egypt tales as lyrical content since years ago; I just want to tell you that Pyramid Slaves is a musical and aesthetical monument to the majestic side of that glorious civilization, probably made with a lot of effort.

Sadly, the bad point here is the loud production and the ‘clicky’ drumming that tends to get tired because it is extensively used along all the songs.

But, once you enter that threshold of pain (maybe is a rite of initiation) you will be satisfied to transcend to the Betelgeuse star, or maybe you will enjoy crossing the desert with the phantoms of the past.

Recommended. – Link Leonhart


Celtic Frosty’s Assignment: Wilderun’s Sleep At The Edge of Earth (2015)
wilderun
My Frosty friend digs a lot of music so I wanted him to enjoy whatever I pick. Nevertheless, It was a very difficult task. I crossed with Wilderun last album a few months ago and I feel that is a very good album. Mixes the ‘mountain vibe’ with forest-inspired Progressive Death Metal easily; it is indeed both complex and charming at the same time. Since I know that my partner in this edition is a fellow guardian of the nature, so I will let him to delve into the music and Sleep at the Edge of the Earth. I hope he liked it! – Link Leonhart.

When Link sent me this album, I hesitated. I saw the lush green mountainside and the “folk” tag at the bottom of the Bandcamp page, and I steeled myself for yet another Agalloch clone (in all fairness, there is also an “Agalloch” tag). And even though Link has the impression that I am a fellow guardian of nature, it’s hot as fuck outside and I love my A/C.

But Wilderun isn’t interested in nature worship or sitting on a fallen log in the middle of the woods to contemplate existence or whatever bullshit people in the Pacific Northwest are up to. No need to look for any traces of black here. This is folk metal that sounds like an honest-to-god soundtrack to some elven fantasy adventure.

These fellas are lively storytellers. I don’t mean lyrically, because I honestly have no idea what’s being said since I can’t do any research, but musically. The instrumental intro and ensuing  first 1:40 seconds of “And So Opens the Earth (Ash Memory Part I)” are straight out of a trailer for a movie Lord of the Rings fans would drool over. And then the Irish fog begins to lift, the metal shows up and those clean vocals…

Listen, I honestly would have preferred if Evan Berry just sang clean through the entire album. The death metal growls technically work, but there’s nothing remarkable about them, and they don’t add anything to the songs.  It would have been much more interesting to see how far he could have pushed his cleans in those heavier moments and really reached for something even more grandiose on an already incredibly grandiose record. Hit those highs, bro, we believe in you! We get death metal growls all day, but a truly good vocalist like this doesn’t come along all that often anymore, and it’s something traditional metal fans crave.

Everything else about Sleep At the Edge of the Earth is perfectly serviceable for a symphonic folk metal record, and often reaches peaks that are thrillingly cinematic and more than worthy of this storied genre. Any fan of folk metal or of riding a white stallion through an enchanted forest would be a fool to pass this one up. It’s not my typical listen, but I have found myself coming back to it when I need a little mandolin and a few elves in my life. Thanks to Link for the recommendation, and I will in turn recommend it to you, dear reader. This one is certainly worth a spin. – Celtic Frosty

______________

So, this battle ended up more like a warm embrace between Olaf and cuddly Link than a duel to the death between the hardened Hero of Time and a murderous Jack Frost. Everyone wins! Want to get involved in Record Swap? Email me at toiletovhellwhiff@gmail.com.

  • DCLXVI

    Holy compressor tone on that Pyramid Slaves intro

  • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

    Egyptian-themed death metal bands that don’t suck-
    1. Nile
    2. Crescent

    • JJM

      melechesh?

      • Hubert

        Aren’t they more Arabic Folklore inspired than Egyptian? There’s some Egyptian imagery in their stuff but still.

        • JJM

          oh i see you’re correct! i was just going by sounds, as i’ve never been much of a lyrics bro

      • Scrimm

        NOPE

      • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

        I didn’t include Melechesh because they’re more “Sumerian/Babylonian”-themed than strictly Egyptian.

        • JJM

          i typed it before my brain function’d, just based on some of the melodies i have heard in the past

    • Vote for Jeb

      MAAT?

    • Pagliacci is Kvlt

      Does that mean 3. See number 2?

    • Lacertilian
  • Dagon

    >tries really hard not to post Jack Frost gifs
    >faints

  • When I finished my review, and to not break the rules, I search a little bit more about Crescent.

    The cooler thing is that they are from El Cairo, Egypt. Formed around 2000, they recorded some EP and demos, more inclined to traditional black metal. Pyramid Slaves is their first full-lenght (so I wasn’t that far with the ‘effort and sweat’ part) and because of the success of it, they the winners of the Wacken Metal Battle 2014, in which they played.

    Also, they have this excellent photo in front of one of the pyramids.

    http://www.metaltitans.com/storage/crescenta.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1392281550067

    • Celtic Frosty

      I knew they won the Wacken Metal Battle but I didn’t know this was their first full length. Cool stuff.

      • Vote for Jeb

        I’d like to hear their Egyptian black metal demos.

        • Celtic Frosty

          Same. *hits Youtube*

        • From what I read the first is about Edgar Allan Poe, not sure about the second EP.

          It seems they settled up with the egyptian theme later, according to some interviews I was checking. If you find something in youtube, please share it here so I can check too, please.

          • Celtic Frosty

            This is from their 2009 EP “The Retribution”

            https://youtu.be/Ve_Hw91WI1Y

          • Celtic Frosty

            This is all I could find on Youtube of their old stuff. Their first EP is from 1999 and I can’t find it anywhere.

          • IT HAS A BETTER DRUM SOUND THAT THE LP!

          • Celtic Frosty

            It does. I actually think I like their black metal better than their death metal. Not to take anything away from Pyramid Slaves.

  • This was a fun mash up! Good choice Link!

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Both of these are cool, good recommendations & analysis all around.

    Heh, analysis. Anal. Anus. Analanus.

    • InfinityOfThoughts

      Girl you cray cray

  • Stockhausen

    When I can get on Bandcamp again, I’m very interested in checking out Wilderun. I love me some good, strong cleans.

  • Spear

    I love Wilderun, but I agree on that assessment of the vocals. The guy’s got a great singing voice; he should use it more often.

    And that Crescent is most excellent. My wallet weeps in the face of the coming storm.

    • I’m now thinking the same about the singing in Wilderun!

  • BEARD OV GREAT DAWKINS

    I think we should all be paying more attention to what people in the pacific northwest are doing

  • Waynecro

    Both bands are pretty great. I’ve blasted Crescent many times, but Wilderun is new to me! I sang “For tonight we drink together from the goblet of time” to my girlfriend, and she just looked at me funny (as usual).

    • more beer

      That is the best you can hope for! At least she didn`t go out for whatever girlfriends go out for (for dudes it`s usually a pack of smokes) and never return. Plus she still bakes for you consider it a win.

      • Waynecro

        Very good point. She doesn’t appreciate my serenading her with metal tunes, and she’s not impressed by my postworkout vascularity, but she’s a fine gal nonetheless. She hasn’t baked for me in ages, though. Perhaps she will again when I complete this cut. She has no interest in baking chicken for me in the meantime.

        • more beer

          As long as she is a good lady and you 2 are happy. That`s all that matters.

          • Waynecro

            Indeed. She’s a fine woman. I’m very lucky that she puts up with my general silliness.

          • Vote for Jeb

            I feel ya on this statement. I was trying to explain Phyllomedusa to my wife. Metal subculture is weird.

          • Waynecro

            Totally, dude. My girlfriend can’t wrap her head around metal’s many quirks. Sometimes I tell her about weird metal stuff just to see her reaction.

  • Lacertilian

    This swap was great, really enjoyed looking on.
    As everyone is aware, I’m a sucker for incorporating Egyptian-sounding modes and/or Eastern sounds into metal.
    These guys will be added to a playlist with Scarab, Nile, Melechesh etc. in due time.