HB – Frozen Inside – 3/5
So I came across this band whilst randomly searching, they were advertised as symphonic/power. The nightwish shebang, so I picked it up to see what it was like, knowing I have something of a fetish when it comes to this genre.
Upon quick listening I noted it wasn’t like most bands in the genre, taking a very basic approach akin to the early Within Temptation. The guitar work is very basic, drumming simple and keyboards atmospheric. There are times where the guitarist gets to play a solo, which works quite well as something to fill in between the vocal work and adding a bit of diversity to the track – even if the solo’s themselves aren’t especially brilliant, they serve a good purpose.
The vocals are clearly the main focus of the album, as expected, but they aren’t what I expected. Firstly upon listening properly you realise this is heavily Christian lyrically. In fact, “HB” is meant to stand for “Holy Bible.” If I saw this I probably wouldn’t have bothered at all. I feel here it appropriate to draw a comparison with Angtoria – another Christian band in the same vein as HB. The lead vocalist for Angtoria had a very strong and powerful operatic vocal style – It was a joy to hear – but at the same time you could hear every word she spoke, and it sounded like she was preaching, yelling at you, like a TV evangelist. I don’t enjoy being preached to. I’m not religious, and listening to Christian music isn’t going to make me want to go to church anymore than Black metal will make me want to go to church and burn it. Thankfully, this isn’t the case here.
Her singing is not operatic in style, its clean but has a delicate emotion to it, and the result is something that sounds more romantic, more artistic and uplifting than a sermon. Its also comparatively raw. A lot of the time you can hear just how much production has occurred in attaining their ‘perfect’ voice. Here, you can hear her choral style singing, her almost talking-to-you singing, and her almost bitter style. Even the lyrics are done well, for example:
He mends your wounds and whispers:
“I’ll be with you every day.”
He has all the answers to your questions;
Let Him touch your heart now!
(Taken from the song “Way”)
I may not be a member of the religion, but I can see the comfort and poetry in the lyrics.
The album varies in style a fair amount, from the aggressive tones in “It is Time” to the intro track which consists entirely of her singing, to the Power/Rock style in “Frozen Inside,” the the choral chanting in “God Has All glory” to the very melodic and emotional closing track “Way,” they manage tread down a well explored genre and, whilst they add nothing new, are able to produce a range of memorable tracks. There are times where the Christian-lyrics do annoy me, and im sure it will do with other people, but nonetheless this isn’t a bad effort.
Highlights: It is Time, Frozen Inside, Way
By T. Bawden
EDIT: On further listening it does begin to sound annoying, repetitive and as though she's issuing a sermon. The manner in which they are sung works well, but subtlety is needed, so as to still get the message across without becoming annoying on repeated listens. Because it is so easily understood, it doesnt take too long to reach this stage. Mark lowered from 3.5 to 3.0 due to this gradual decline in playability.
Also, turns out Angtoria are anti-religion, taking a cynical approach to religion. I apparently missed all the subtle references amidst the cliche sounding christian lyrics. Way to miss the mark Angtoria!