(Killer Metal 2015)
It’s been a real pleasure to watch the Lords of the Trident grow. These five fearless warriors from Madison, Wisconsin have long enjoyed a reputation for being a must-see live act. Led by over-the-top frontman Fang von Wrathenstein, our Lords come out on stage decked out in full costume (gladiator, Asian martial-arts guy, grim reaper, etc.), firing confetti bombs out of plastic tridents, playing “air guitar” using flaming guitar hero controllers, donning tinfoil armor, and even leaping into the audience to “slay” all spectators with a plastic battleaxe/meat cleaver/blade of death. Going to see the Lords of the Trident has always been a hilarious and hugely entertaining headbanging spectacle. Listening to the records? Well, hmm, let’s put it this way: The band has shown steady and marked improvement with each and every recording, improving by leaps and bounds in songwriting, production and performances from their humble ‘Death or Sandwich’ beginnings to the promising ‘Chains on Fire’ album to the downright impressive ‘Plan of Attack’ EP. With ‘Frostburn,’ the Lords have continued on this upward trajectory and have finally delivered a monster of an album to equal their monstrous live performances. Stylistically, nothing has really changed in the Lords of the Trident camp. They still specialize in highly melodic, straightforward, anthemic U.S. metal in the treasured 80s style, with simple riffs, easy choruses, and stellar clear vocals and banshee wails courtesy of von Wrathenstein. The biggest difference is that the band have honed their songwriting chops to a razor-sharp edge. For the first time in their discography, ‘Frostburn’ has not a single skippable track, not a single dip in energy, not a single dud. It’s just one powerful, catchy tune after another. “Winds of the Storm” is the greatest Lords of the Trident song ever, featuring a crushing, fast (by LotT standards) riff, a splendid vocal performance, and a magical hook in the pre-chorus. “Winds” may be the best song, but it’s hardly the only standout. “Den of the Wolf,” “The Longest Journey,” “Shattered Skies” … dammit, I’d better stop, lest I list all nine proper tracks. It’s not just the songs that impress, either. ‘Frostburn’ showcases the band’s best production and breathtaking cover art: It’s the whole package (save for the hard-to-read text in the booklet, but that’s just quibbling).
The sad part of this is that some poor misguided individuals will never give ‘Frostburn’ a chance because they’ve pigeonholed Lords of the Trident as a joke band. Are they goofy as all hell live? Yes, albeit in a completely awesome way. But on this new album, they sound completely serious and dedicated to their craft. Okay, fine, I’ll grant you that none of us are capable of truly looking into the hearts of men to judge their intentions. But there’s a reverence to ‘Frostburn’ that, to me at least, conveys that Lords of the Trident aren’t being ironic or taking the piss out of this genre I (and all of you) love. They’re having fun, sure. But not at the expense of our beloved classic metal. Quite simply, the Lords of the Trident have hit their stride on ‘Frostburn’ and the metal world is better for it. Now, when can I see them live again so I can get doused in confetti, stabbed by a plastic blade, and amused by Fang’s fire tricks?
~ Review by Kit Ekman~