Review: The Great Cold


As most of you are aware by now, vocals don’t really hold much sway over my appreciation for music any more. If a band can create a piece that not only retains interest but takes you on a journey of sorts without the use of lyrics, I’m inclined to give them due credit. On their self-titled debut release, German 4-piece The Great Cold have delivered what could be the finest instrumental album of 2016 so far. This was one of those releases that you stumble upon without actively seeking it. Most of the time for me that involves a cursory click and what could be generously described as a sufficient amount of listening time to judge whether or not I’ll bother to continue. As TovH scholar Max discovered last year, attempting to listen to every new metal release is nigh on ridiculous. Even if you only dedicate a mere 30 seconds to discern if the sound interests you, time can quickly slip away and you’re left having listened to hours of accumulated tripe. Bands like The Great Cold who lead their album with a strong track clearly know what they’re doing in this regard. The track “Eos” is a testament to that and is fairly indicative of what you can expect for the remaining 35 minutes.

“Atmospheric black metal meets the post-metal approach of fellow Germans The Ocean with some prog elements moseying around the edges,” is probably the most relatable description I can offer you. For the most part, the spirited atmosphere is provided by the guitars, which I usually prefer to synth-derived ambiance that can have a tendency to leave tracks feeling less than organic. The overall melodic trend feels quite airy and drifts across the space above the riffs, rather than directly coating them. While the mist’s fall may feel gentle, by the time the refrains have concluded you will still be soaked with the remnant memories.


Throughout the album there are some recurring motifs. One of the most noticeable of these is the soothing dream-like passage that settles in around the 2:00 mark of album opener “Eos,” which is later reprised in an altered manner for the interlude “Chione.” The stylish playing resembles that of the exceptional Sunset In The 12th House (review) album from last year. However, where the Romanian band opted for a grandiose theme, The Great Cold have instead delicately kept the piece on the demure side of things. At the other end of the spectrum are tracks “Oread,” “Aurai,” and the penultimate piece “Asteriai,” which offer some of the heavier moments on the album. These tracks feature a buffeting of palm-muted riffing with the bass drums snapping in unison to the chugs and a variety of lofty chordal sequences that make sure you don’t fall too deeply into any kind of reverie.


While my ancient history knowledge is quite weak relative to some of the other writers here (namely the eminent Dr W. and scholar Link), I can tell you that the song names are all related to figures from Greek mythology, most of whom were nymphs of various things such as wind or cold. Appropriate. Although, I feel that without a more intimate knowledge or their respective mythos, it’s somewhat irrelevant to the listener’s experience. Not a big deal though, as the music does a good enough job of captivating the mind. On the whole, this is an accomplished debut that displays some skilled songwriting and style.

3/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell


The Great Cold was released independently on February 21st 2016 and is name your price on bandcamp.

(Images via)


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  • Joaquin Stick

    This is right up my alley. Out of curiosity, and this is mostly me being complicated when it comes to rating things, what downsides did you consider when giving it a 3? I never know if I am supposed to take a rating as just “how much I enjoyed this” or by a “how innovative/masterful it is when considering the scene as a whole.”

    • Dubs

      That’s probably pretty reviewer dependent too. Some reviewers consider innovation way more important than others do.

      • Joaquin Stick

        Absolutely, I like that everyone reviews things based on different criteria, as the enjoyment of music is pretty subjective, so should be our attempt at rating it.

        • For stricter reviewers, a 3 is good.

          Too many people think that everything below a 5 means there’s something wrong with it.

    • good question, Joaquin (any excuse to say your name, i take).
      when i review something, i try to make it clear in the body of the text, which aspects are influencing my rating. if somebody doesn’t have to ask that question, then i feel like i have succeeded in that regard.

      • Joaquin Stick

        True, but that is not to say that I don’t think lizardbro did a great job with the review. He hit the nail on the head when it comes to describing the album. I just saw lots of positive things then a mid-level rating. But as Randall mentioned, maybe we should get used to 3s as meaning perfectly good albums. It would surely give more room to praise the albums that are truly exceptional.

        • oops, i did not mean to say that Lizardbro did a poor job.
          that is my fault, and i apologize.

          • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

            Your comment was re calculated to a 2.75.

          • out of 666? 🙁

          • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff


  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

    Great review. Personally I’m not too big on instrumental bands, but the description “Atmospheric black metal meets the post-metal approach of fellow Germans The Ocean with some prog elements moseying around the edges,” did catch my interest.


    I’m going to mow the shit out of my lawn tomorrow listening to this.

      • BALLS ROLL

        I hope the sequel does not suck

      • Ol Dirty Blastbeard

        i finally picked up that AA album from last year with a copy of Nadras LP, glad he had some left

        • Good pick ups. Both superb triumphant sounding black metal releases.

          • Ol Dirty Blastbeard

            i figured youd approve. i still havent gotten the will to place my order with Drakkar because itll be over 100$

          • Dang. I got my copy of the Nahtrunar – Symbolismus LP yesterday. Just finished listening to it. Top notch stuff. Plus it includes the demo on Side D.

            Also, if anyone is interested, the Terratur Possessions webstore is re-stocked. The new (but old) Svartidauði EP is available plus the repress of the Sinmara “Aphotic Womb” DLP.

          • Ol Dirty Blastbeard

            somethin about that Sinmara album didnt tickle my balls, but that Svartidaudi album was a good

          • There is a lot of other good shit in there too. That Cornigr EP may be to your interest. Vainaya is a great musician and I’m glad his solo shit is taking off. He just recently left Horna to focus on this more.

          • Ol Dirty Blastbeard


          • Ol Dirty Blastbeard

            they DO have a copy of As the Darkness Enters, which i wasnt quick enough to get from HHR

          • RJA

            Thanks for the reminder again on the Nahtrunar album, going to pick up today from Arcane Altar. You familiar with the Draug or Grav records he got in? I believe I listened to a Draug track but couldn’t find anything on Grav. Are those what’s his names bands? (Grifteskymfning , hadanfard, etc .)

        • asking amarth?


            AMON AMARTH ROCK!!!!!!!

  • I am digging all these briefer reviews. Hyperbole is fun, but I’m having more fun getting straight into the details and actually reading about how the damn album sounds instead of having to trudge through 3 paragraphs of vivid imagery just to tell me the guitarist uses an HM2 pedal.

    Great review btw, I’m starting my day off with this album because of this 🙂

    • Joaquin Stick

      This album feels like a medium-paced jog through a dense forest with a nicely carved path. The walls of foliage provide a essence of the unknown, while the path shows you there is some direction hidden in the chaos. The drums are like birds, sporadically shitting on the path while you dodge the hail of turds, thump thumping away. The tremolo picking is like a cutting wind, pulsating with rhythm. The vocals are fallen branches that demand your attention, lest you trip and get sucked into the walls of sound.

      • we need a shitposting account specifically to write reviews like this



        • or perhaps one day out of the week/month in which all posts aren’t taken as seriously as the others? (like our buttzfeed posts)

    • Dave Vincent’s Perm

      ‘The guitarist uses an HM2 pedal 11/10’
      This review is long enough for me.

  • Ol Dirty Blastbeard

    i think this might be a bit too much on the post side and not enough BM in the mix for me

    not bad tho

  • Dubs

    This was an enjoyable read. I have to be in the right mood for instrumetal, but I will return to this on the next cloudy day.

    • Eliza

      You have a point there. It’s harder to enjoy this with the sun constantly in your eyes.

      • Ol Dirty Blastbeard

        perhaps yall should be listening to this:

        • Dubs

          Been a while.

          • Ol Dirty Blastbeard

            we put it on the table during our DKS3 releaseday marathon. so incredible

        • Eliza

          In my situation, I am the one metaphorically being melted by the sun. Nevertheless, this is a beautifully great song.

          • Ol Dirty Blastbeard

            DEATH TO THE SUN


          • Eliza

            Nah, we need the sun. Btw, is your comment a reference to something?

          • Ol Dirty Blastbeard

            i been playing too much dark souls

          • Eliza

            I don’t play video games, so i would have never guessed it.

        • PostBlackenedWhaleGaze

          Prophecy releases such good bands. This is great.

  • Old Man Doom

    This is pretty rad! Thank you, lizardbro.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Oooohhh man, where did they take that band pic? Because that’s a damn good band pic.

  • Eliza

    I generally like instrumental music and atmospheric black metal is my favorite kind of black metal, so this album is a pleasant listen for me.

  • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

    Very cool LizardKing. I think I will blindly get this album.

    Oh shit, I can’t see!!

    • sounds like we’d better Follow the Blind!
      (that’s something you nerds would say, right? jajaja)

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        That was a good one, Jimmy! You’re learning.

  • Owlswald

    This is great. I love the drum sound.

  • Waynecro

    This album sounds pretty awesome. Thanks for giving us the heads-up! Great review!