Released By: AFM Records
Release Date: September 22, 2023
Genre: Power Metal
Alexander Schirmer – Vocals
Jochen Windisch – Guitars
Michael Liewald – Guitars
Peter Cerveny – Bass
Jonas Hack – Drums
2. To the End of All Known
3. The Phoenix Died (Remember)
4. Circle of Greed
5. Future Times
7. Last Journey
8. Fate of the Atlanteans
10. Overcome the Fear
When you listen to as much music as I do, there tend to be a lot of bands out there who you never quite consider a personal favorite, but always look forward to hearing new music from, and always have a great time with their albums. Such is the case for me with the German power metal band Winterstorm. I first discovered them in 2012 with their second full-length release, Kings Will Fall, and was instantly impressed by their brand of catchy, melodic power metal, mixed with some light folk and symphonic elements. They’ve released two more albums since, with each of them being highly enjoyable, and now they’re set to release their fifth full-length album, Everfrost, which has proven to be yet another excellent album.
For the most part, Winterstorm’s sound has remained the same from album to album, largely based around a very melodic, sometimes catchy, sometimes epic, brand of power metal, with a very distinct folk-tinged sound to their guitar work in particular, to the point where whenever I hear certain guitar melodies coming from them, I always know I’m listening to a Winterstorm album. However, they have been known to change things up slightly from time to time, with Kings Will Fall being decidedly on the more fun and catchy side of things, while its successor, Cathyron, was more complex and epic, leaning more into the symphonic elements and even some slight prog elements. Cube of Infinity was largely a return to the fun and catchiness of Kings Will Fall, while Everfrost falls somewhere in between, certainly having its share of more simple, fast, and addictive tracks, but also having some more complex tracks, as well as a few that feel surprisingly laidback and subdued as far as power metal goes.
At its core, Everfrost is well balanced between guitars and keyboards, with the former often being the lead instrument, though the latter does take over from time to time and is quite dominant on some tracks. Symphonic elements are used sparingly, far less than on Cathyron but roughly the same as on the band’s other releases, while folk elements vary from track to track but are quite prominent a lot of the time, giving the music a distinct feel. Folk instruments are used occasionally, but even when they aren’t, the guitar itself does often have a folk feel to it, with some of the melodies being very clearly folk-influenced. There are bits of heaviness to be found throughout the album, as well as some great solos and strong musicianship all around but it’s a very melodic album overall. Vocals are of course very important on this kind of album, and Alexander Schirmer is in top form, as always. He has a deep, very smooth voice, which fits the music perfectly while being able to add some extra power and intensity when needed.
As usual, the songwriting on Everfrost is very good, if not quite perfect. I find the first 3/4 or so of the album to be among the band’s best work to date, while the last few tracks are still very good, but for some reason, they don’t quite stack up to the rest. There’s an overarching theme to the album, which deals with an apocalyptic setting, where the world has decayed due to a lack of care for the environment. Unfortunately, this is a very fitting theme for the current real-world situation. The intro track “Origin”, does a solid job of setting things up, with some light backing music accompanied by bits of narration, but then the proper opener, “To the End of All Known” kicks in, and instantly proves to be one of the highlights of the album. Bits of the band’s signature folk-infused guitar sound can be heard at points throughout the track, but it’s heavier than usual by their standards, with the main riff and the riff during the verses, in particular, being quite intense and having a lot of bite to it. It’s a fast-moving track overall, with the verses and instrumental portions being up-tempo, while the chorus slows things down, and is quite grand, epic, and melodic while also being fairly catchy. It’s one of the best on the album!
Next is a much lighter track, “The Phoenix Died (Remember)”, one of the more folk-influenced tracks. Right from the intro, the folk elements are quite dominant, and it’s a softer, more keyboard-driven track overall, moving at a fairly subdued pace throughout, with very light and melodic guitar work during the verses, before opening up just slightly during the chorus. As expected, the chorus is big and epic, and has some fantastic vocal melodies, while the second verse is enhanced by some guest vocals from Leaves’ Eyes singer Elina Siirala, who sounds excellent as always. The second half features an intense bridge section, which is another one of my favorite sections on the album, and certainly reminds me of some of my favorite tracks from past albums. The intensity picks up again with “Circle of Greed”, another more mid-paced track, though it does move at a slightly faster tempo than the previous track. It has a very hard-hitting main riff, probably the heaviest on the album, and it only gets more intense during the lead into the solo section, where it gets super aggressive. The verses are slightly more laidback and have some nice melodic guitar work, while the chorus strikes a nice balance between heavy and melodic, and is quite catchy, as expected. The epic gang vocals during the lead into the chorus are also fantastic. Overall, it’s probably my favorite track on the album.
Another personal favorite is “Future Times”, which opens up with some nice, soft keys, before the guitars kick in, and the track starts sounding somewhat like an Orden Ogan track, with a bit of extra bite to the melodic guitar leads. The verses alternate between more laidback sections led by the bass and drums, and heavier, more guitar-driven sections, and while the pace briefly slows down, it quickly picks back up for the chorus, which is one of the speediest on the album, while still being very melodic and catchy as always. Next is the title track, which features some classic Maiden-style galloping riffs during the opening section and the verses. The track alternates nicely between speedier sections, and slower sections, with the verses being fast and heavy, while the chorus is very slow, calm, and subdued, not as catchy as usual, but still very melodic, and very nice. The instrumental also alternates nicely between a soft, keyboard-driven section with a slight prog rock feel, and speedier, more powerful metal-driven passages. The last truly excellent track on the album is “Final Journey”, which opens up with some light keyboard work, as well as some signature Winterstorm folk-tinged guitar work, which carries on into the verses. It’s another very fast-paced track, probably the fastest on the album, flying through the verses and barely slowing down during a frantic, epic, yet still melodic and catchy chorus, which stands as one of the album’s best. It’s enhanced further by some pretty epic-sounding harsh vocals in the background.
The final stretch of the album is still very solid, but for some reason, it simply doesn’t leave as strong an impression as the rest of the album. “Fate of the Atlanteans” is perhaps the strongest of the group, with bursts of heaviness and an overall feel that comes fairly close to “Circle of Greed”, but it doesn’t quite reach the epic highs of that track. Likewise, “Crusade”, is a solid track, but it doesn’t offer up anything particularly memorable, moving at a middling pace throughout, with some solid riffs and a good chorus, but it pales in comparison to any of the first seven tracks. The fastest track during this stretch is “Overcome the Fear”, a folk-infused, up-tempo power metal track, with fast and furious verses, where that signature guitar sound is on full display, mixed with a calm, slow chorus which is solid, but not as good as most other choruses on the album. Closing out the album is “Silence”, another lighter, more keyboard-driven track, with a strong folk feel to it. The chorus is excellent, equal parts melodic, epic, and catchy, while the rest of the track is very good, but not quite on the same level as the chorus.
Overall, Everfrost is another excellent album, and it offers Winterstorm fans more of what they’ve come to expect from the band, with the same kind of epic, up-tempo folk-tinged power metal, along with some lighter, more subdued material, and occasional bursts of heaviness. It’s not my favorite album by the band, but it does contain a couple of my favorite tracks of theirs. I’d say the first half is fantastic overall, while the final stretch of the album falls off a bit, but is still enjoyable. Fans of the band should find plenty to enjoy here, while newcomers should also have an easy time getting into the album, especially with its highlights all being so close together.
Written by: Travis Green
My Global Mind – Staff Writer
Travis Green is a Canadian based writer for My Global Mind, with a particular passion for power metal, as well as an interest metal in all its forms.