Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Year Of Our Lord - The Frozen Divide

The Year Of Our Lord
The Frozen Divide

I was sitting in front of the laptop with a rerun of Law & Order: SVU flickering in the background when it hit me. It hit me why I was struggling so bad to write an introduction for The Frozen Divide. It's a good record and The Year Of Our Lord was a good band, but so what? There are tons of good records out there but I'm on the hunt for the great ones, so please forgive this introduction. I found it hard to get pumped up about something that grades out at 8/10.

The Year Of Our Lord was New England's great blackened metalcore hopeful in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. For those unfamiliar with its sound, imagine an intentionally less-polished version of the BLACK DAHLIA MURDER. The band is also peripherally similar to BLEEDING THROUGH in that this was the wave of hardcore kids embracing their tastes in darker sounding metal. There are even a few riffs on The Frozen Divide that sound like DARKEST HOUR (or is that the other way around?).

"Mechanism 014028000" is supposed to be creepy and scary but it comes off like the sound effects to the old Castlevania games, but then the metal kicks in. USBM attack? Not quite, but The Frozen Divide is way closer to EMPEROR than to AT THE GATES. Still, The Year Of Our Lord wasn't grim enough for the true metal crowd and it wasn't moshy enough for the Hellfest crowd. I suppose this band, for whatever reason, never embraced the commercial instincts of its contemporaries. As far as being more brutal, TEEN CTHULHU did this same sound but did it better. I do dig how, like the Black Dahlia Murder, The Year Of Our Lord hammers the crowd with euro-riffs and leaves the kids waiting for a breakdown that's never going to come. That shit's cool.

Once upon a time, The Year Of Our Lord was going to be the "next big thing." In the late 1990s, when metalcore influenced by melodic Swedish death metal was a new concept, the influential magazines of the day (METAL MANIACS, TERRORIZER, MAXIMUMROCKANDROLL, FLIPSIDE, etc...) predicted future superstardom for not only The Year Of Our Lord but also for POISON THE WELL. Of course, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and LAMB OF GOD won the Great American Metalcore Sweepstakes, but at least this band can take comfort in the fact that, for one brief shining moment, it was in the conversation.

It may sound like I'm getting down on The Year Of Our Lord for being metalcore also-rans but I'm not. I'm simply trying to figure out why the band didn't "blow up" as it was predicted to do. I'm not any closer to understanding why. I do know that The Frozen Divide is an overlooked record from that era. It's worth another listen.

Reunion show at Chaos In Tejas? Let's make that happen.


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