The Freezing Fog - _March Forth to Victory_
(Roadkill Records, 2007)
by: Daniel Cairns (8.5 out of 10)
Sometimes (very rarely), one simply cannot be arsed with face melting death metal, or harrowingly evil black metal. Sometimes a change of pace is required. Maybe you're hosting a party. Maybe you're wooing a lady. Needless to say, "Fucked With a Knife" isn't going to go down well at all, is it? A brutal molten riff is all very good, but very occasionally you need something a bit slower and more tuneful.

That's when _March Forth to Victory_ is called for.

The Freezing Fog are a fairly new concern, having only formed in 2006, but they're quickly making a name for themselves. Made up from ex-members of seminal hardcore mob Beecher, The Freezing Fog ply their trade with bludgeoning yet catchy riff orientated metal, with strong hints of doom all around. And they're ruddy ace.

Kicking off with the Sabbath style riffing of "Chimeric Visions", it's a glorious reminder of why it's folly to dismiss the efforts of the bands of yore. It shows perfectly that you don't need to be overly elaborate or have hideously detuned guitars to rock. "Crossing the Rubicon" is next, and opens with a Pentagram-esque canter, before settling into the churning doom of "The Damnation of the High Wizard". After a pleasant interlude, the band blast into the record's high point "Beast of England", which starts off like an up-tempo Crowbar song, before morphing into a crushing Cathedral-esque dirge. After that, we get a Clutch-esque rocker. They do like to keep us guessing, don't they?

It'd be dull to do a description of all the songs, but I will say this: they all rock balls out hard. When you factor into the equation their lyrical tendencies towards the whimsical (lyrics are about wizards, beasts, blacksmiths and alchemists) you've got a winning package. Vocalist James Longden has a cracking set of pipes as well, roaring like the hairy, bearded bastard offspring of Lee Dorrian and Neil Fallon. He's ably supported by the band, who party like it's 1970, flitting from short sharp rocking to doomy plundering at the drop of a hat.

It'd be stupid to mention this record without mentioning the cracking production job that comes courtesy of none other than Kurt Ballou (he plays guitar in a little band called Converge). Things sound impressively crisp, clear and punchy, and you're left in no doubt that we're in the presence of a rock beast.

Throughout ten songs and fifty minutes, The Freezing Fog prove that they may just be Britain's answer to Clutch. In fact, to these ears at least, _March Forth to Victory_ is more interesting than anything Fallon and co. have conjured up in the last few years. Whilst that band have been treading along the same bluesy water since _Blast Tyrant_, The Freezing Fog (on this evidence anyway) seem capable of giving the listener a more dynamic, satisfyingly crunchy experience.

Foggin' Hell.

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/thefreezingfog

(article published 5/7/2009)


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