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REVIEW: First Signs Of Frost – “The Shape Of Things To Come”

First Signs Of Frost describe themselves as ‘tech rock’. For our purposes, the London five-piece play a style of music that straddles the line between post-rock and progressive metalcore; a bit too heavy for post-rock, a bit too melodic and song-oriented to be metal, and way too technical for hardcore. The Shape Of Things To Come EP is the band’s fifth overall release.

Many people might best know First Signs Of Frost for being a band that used to have Daniel Tompkins of TesseracT as their singer. While FSOF’s earliest material involved TesseracT guitarist Acle Kahney as a producer, the similarities end there. Yes, vocalist Daniel Lawrence keeps things clean, and yes, FSOF so some interesting things with rhythms and ambient passages, but this band does not djent. That’s hardly a bad thing, however. For example, witness The Shape Of Things To Come’s third track, “Look Alive Sunshine”:

The Songs

The Shape Of Things To Come leads off with the amusingly-titled “Meat Week.” It isn’t the most aggressive song on the EP, and as First Signs Of Frost are not very heavy to begin with, here instead they seem to have chosen to show off their rhythmic skills on top of some highly compelling choruses and cadences. The heaviest song on The Shape Of Things To Come would be the EP’s second track, “White Flag,” which contains a chorus lyric that gives the EP its title. The main riff djents gently, but without the de rigueur polyrhythms it’s fairly easy to follow. The band uses some keyboards to add a tension counterpoint towards the end of the song, rather than gratuitous ambiance.

“Atlantis,” the penultimate song on the EP, starts out as a ballad and its generally light tone imparts some much-needed dynamics and balance to The Shape Of Things To Come. The song itself features jazz rhythms which allow the bass to lead the song; when bassist Andy C. Saxton drops in, the song gets its forward motion. The main chording comes from a piano, surprisingly enough; and at just over 3 minutes in length, “Atlantis” does not overstay its welcome. First Signs Of Frost end the EP with “Sharks.” This song has the same medium level of heaviness of “Meat Week” and “Look Alive Sunshine.” They added a playful interplay between gentle ambiance and metalcore breakdown aesthetics close to the end, with a simple guitar lead line shortly thereafter. The ending utilizes the band’s rhythmic prowess to great effect in giving the EP a satisfying conclusion.

Analysis

First Signs Of Frost took a lengthy hiatus after activities in support of 2009’s Atlantic album. However long it took them to write, The Shape Of Things To Come was time well-spent. The band’s compositional talents and flare for dynamic interplay show a lot of thought. One would hope that no one would listen to this EP with the expectation of hearing TesseracT, because that would surely cause unjustified disappointment. For a progressive album that uses metalcore elements in only the most necessary ways, The Shape Of Things To Come accomplishes its mission just fine. The biggest criticism of it would be that it is too short – as good as this EP is, a full-length album would have been so much better.

First Signs Of Frost - "The Shape Of Things To Come" (cover)

 

Score: 7/10

Notable Tracks: “White Flag”; “Atlantis”; “Sharks”

FFO: Skyharbor, Intervals, The Contortionist

The Shape Of Things To Come was released by Basick Records on August 11, 2017, who have physical copies available. The album is also available for streaming through Apple Music, Spotify, and BandcampFirst Signs Of Frost have a social media presence on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

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