Frozen Cross - Frozen heaven 3.5/5
1. Heart of heroine
3. Grief of frost
4. Bride in wind
5. Song of Chu
6. Weeping angel
7. Icebound heaven
9. Spirit of Luna
There's finally a power metal band from China! That's right, along with my recent aquisition of Illusion's debut 'Invinvible', Frozen Cross' debut 'Frozen heaven' becomes my first experience with Chinese power metal. To my knowledge, these are the first Chinese power metal bands to enter the metal world (with exception of Seraphim from Taiwan) and since I've been so impressed with Japanese power metal bands this year, I didn't hesitate to open my arms to Chinese power metal bands. So I truly was excited to get this CD, and I must say, I'm quite impressed.
Just like Illusion's 'Invinvible', 'Frozen heaven' is a Mandarin Chinese-language CD, but a few of the songs are sung in English, which is something Japanese bands seem to do a lot as well (provide CDs with mostly Japanese-language songs, but a few songs in English too). While Illusion has a male vocalist, Frozen Cross is led by 2 female vocalists (Yan Bing and He Jianwei), both of which are of the soprano/operatic style. Obviously, being a big fan of female vocals, this adds to my excitment of the CD, but I don't consider these vocalists to be some of the best of the style. I'd call them good (or "solid") and I'm confident they'll be even better on future CDs, but they're not up there with Tarja yet, for a quick example.
Musically, the best specific description for Frozen Cross is symphonic power metal with a ton of keys, plenty of speed, and a few neo-classical passages. Overall comparisons (both musically and vocally) have stood out immediately, and as you've probably anticipated, the list includes early Nightwish, Operatika, Amberian Dawn, Wildpath, Legenda Aurea, Kapel Maister, Overdream, Rosa Ignea and Arya. I think Frozen Cross is competitive in the style too, as the songwriting and mix of guitars/keys has really won me over. There's a bit of work to do in the production department for their next CD (I wish the guitars were heavier, and this is one of those CDs that seems to favor the trebel), but all of the songs are terrific and the band is certainly talented, so I have much more of a positive feeling about this CD than a negative one.
I've reviewed a lot of female fronted symphonic power metal CDs the last few years, and while many of them have been amazing and it's one of my favorite styles, I know there are many metal fans out there that aren't into it near as much as me. Considering this, unless you're like me and are very much into the style (and the mentioned band comparisons), this probably isn't recommended. That said, there's no doubt that it's a great start for the band and who knows, maybe some day they'll be one of the best bands in the style and China will put a big stamp on the power metal genre.
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