Frozen Ocean
The Dyson Swarm
(Kristallblut Records)

For those of you who see the name Dyson and think that this might be a concept album about a swarm of unruly vacuum cleaners, please check yourself at the door to insanity and we’ll be right with you in a moment. But for those of you who are still here, let’s just describe the interesting atmospheres created on this album as something much different than Frozen Ocean’s black metal era. This is a new sound and style for the band, as they utilize such remarkable soundscapes like that of the floating weightlessness of “Syzgy” and the Blut Aus Nord influenced industrial icicle of “CE-4.” Yes, there’s a great deal of Blut Aus Nord influence to be had on this album, particularly in the 777 – Desanctication and The Work Which Transforms God eras. Yet it’s still got its share of dancey electro beats, as the album’s closer “UDFj-39546284” shows. As you might have guessed already, few of the song titles on the disc are actual song titles and sound more or less like scientific terms or equations. Yet that helps the mood of the album to flow, denoting to the listener that they are about to embark on a heavily melodic journey through the stars, with the accompaniment of light leads, thick electronic soundscapes and the rare occasion of death metal gravel and clean vocals (only present on the title track).

The record truly has an ethereal vibe, something that is further brought into the vein of extraterrestrial weirdness with the addition of various melodic bleeps and bloops (this would be right at home as a soundtrack for a video game) as well as thickly laid mists that as I’ve noted, do feature some semblances of electric guitar. To be honest, I’m reminded of Celldweller’s instrumental work on this album, in that it elicits the same feel. “Sloan Great Wall” and “Exoplanet (HD 85512 b)” seem to hit me more than any other track on the disc, but I highly recommend traveling through this piece in its entirety, so that you can absorb the full atmosphere elicited with this album. I can’t call it a heavy metal record in any sense of the word despite the artist’s past offerings, but it does show that Frozen Ocean is evolving into something rather spectacular. So whether you’re imagining that you’re flying through space on a vacuum cleaner, or you’ve got the scientific knowledge to decipher exactly what a Dyson swarm could be; I’m sure that you’ll enjoy this electronic lesson in science and the universe. For your homework tonight, I’ll ask that you research the meanings of some of the more indecipherable track titles on this disc (like “SHGb02+14a” for example) and share them with your social circle. Who knows? You might actually start up a meritable discussion and learn something! (Eric May)

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