Frozen Crown are a new name to me, though several of it’s members are well seasoned metal campaigners; They put that experience to good use on The Fallen King, which has to be one of the more impressive power metal debuts I’ve heard in a while.

The trick with a genre as saturated as power metal with competent bands who really offer nothing but their own sincerity whilst treading and re-treading the same well-worn paths to anonymity is to manipulate the standard generic tropes into something that tricks the listener into believing that they are listening to something fresh and exciting. And Frozen Crown have mastered this little device very well indeed.

Quite simply the opening five tracks on the record are among the best you’ll hear in the world of power metal this year, of that I’m sure. I Am the Tyrant is a majestic mid-paced stomper, mixing Manowar and Nightwish with a more modern feel – mainly through the death metal growling of multi-instrumentallist Federico Mondelli – to create a quite superb piece of atmospheric metal, whilst the heavy and fast-paced Kings has a real feel of Unleash the Archers to it, especially in the shape of Giada Etro‘s spine-tingling vocals.

Leadoff single The Shieldmaiden sees the band heading towards Northern shores; although Etro’s classy vocal doesn’t possess much of the Viking about it, the rest of the song definitely evokes mental pictures of extreme violence committed by sword-wielding berserkers… As I say, there’s nothing remotely original about this music, but Frozen Crown have a definite way with a riff and a melody that really sets the pulse racing. That’s a rare talent indeed.

Talking of talent seventeen year old guitarist (you read that right – the girl must have had a guitar in the cot instead of a teething ring) Talia Bellazecca has it in spades. Playing with the sort of taste and fleetness of thought usually found in players three times her age, she’s a real find and no mistake. She keeps her playing concise and to the point throughout the album, but there’s no doubting there’s a lot more to come from this young lady.

The balladic Chasing Lights is well executed but really punctures the band’s balloon as far as momentum and excitement is concerned, although the excellent Queen of Blades, which follows, does set the band on an even keel again with some exciting riffage and nice drumming from Alberto Mezzanotte.

I don’t want to go too overboard on the praise for this album, but there really is something rather special in the air around Frozen Crown. Songs like Across the Sea ooze the sort of class reserved usually for names like Nightwish and Within Temptation, and those are big names to live with. But I think Frozen Crown can do just that, if they can build from this excellent staging point.

The Fallen King will be released by Scarlet Records on February 9th.