Christopher Lee Compton is no stranger to the Gothic Rock movement. Writing and performing for more than two decades, the time has come to be heard again.
“Valentine and Other Stories of Hope” took it’s first breath in late 2009 with the mournful “Valentine”.
As “Valentine” neared completion, an overwhelming desire to continue was born. This painful, dark and hauntingly beautiful compilation of tracks is the fruit of that desire.
‘Valentine And Other Stories Of Hope’ builds from its mysterious medievil opening into a full-blooded piece of gothic electronica with Rammstein-style guitars & choir-like vocals motoring along in a obsessively infectious style.
Its strength lies in the fact that, its combination of lush, rich textures and superb dark melodics such as in the track ‘Valentine’, combined with Frostbite’s vocal timbre which is both distinctive yet plaintive create an hypnotic effect, extremely difficult to ignore.
‘The Metro’ aided by its dynamic sequences, excellent synth lines and almost danceable rhythms, being contrasted by the downbeat lyrics and soaring choruses, cannot fail to grab your attention the second you hear it. Add-in the fact the song contains some sizzling guitar riffs, and you’re totally sold.
“Yet Another Stain” is another full blooded mid tempo rocker. While the blustering vocal arrangements, keep the intensity of the goth atmosphere ever present, above the surrounding wall of guitars.
There are, of course, a good number of darker tracks here, among them ‘Deceit’ where the dark melodics are offset by more abstract guitar-synth effects and bludgeoning drum beats, that leave you no room to even catch your breath.
‘Devien Rien’ makes its mark with a carpet of sumptuous floating melodics & atmospheric elements that border on the cosmic, with an inherent richness that is embellished by the orchestral sounding rhythm and lead guitar riffs that appear throughout, leaving the upliftingly glorious vocal lines to round things out in a hearteningly authentic fashion.
One of the good things about this album is that Frostbite aren’t content to stick to one sound. Everything is a variation of gothic, metal and rock, but there is great diversity of sounds and orchestrations used within those genres.
“Hurt”, for example, runs along a clean phazed acoustic guitar and piano rythm, while the deep voiced vocals intertwines it’s smooth melody into the groove.
“Howl” is reminiscent of classic 90s goth. It’s dark, driving and intense, with raspy vocals belched from the underworld, in a very melodic way. The synths surge relentlessly, while the lead guitar proves to be so effective when used in short screaming bursts.
The “Veteran of the Psychic Wars” closes the album down with the guitar-heavy sound that is a staple of “Valentine and Other Stories Of Hope”, only here exploring a more conventional rock-flavoured path than ever before. I guess some goth purists might find this off-putting but, equally, it could see Frostbite attracting fans of bands like Lacuna Coil or Within Temptation.
This album is certainly full of highlights, where Christopher Lee Compton’s distinctive vocals, brand every track with the it’s trademark timbre. For me, along with “The Metro”, “Veteran of the Psychic Wars”, proves to be one of the finest tracks recorded here, and it’s easy to imagine the more melodic headbangers getting plenty out of it’s decidedly epic and full rock sound.
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