Frozen Planet begins with a gentle piano melody and a flash of female vocals that entwine to lull the listener into a false sense of security. Just as soon as these pieces begin to settle in, a heart-dropping scream disrupts the serenity, followed by a catchy guitar riff carves its way into the mix. Accompanied by thunderous drums, a wall of rhythm guitar and bass along with some crowd-pleasing group chants, all these elements combine to make a particularly potent introductory track.
Frozen Planet is the newest record from Michigan-based progressive metal outfit Suits and Daggers. In a scene that’s fraught with minuscule subgenre distinctions, Suits and Daggers were able to avoid all that discussion by creating a genre of their own: Victory Metal. While this self-ascribed label preemptively dismantles many of the needless genre-based debates that occur between metal elitists, it also serves a more important job by offering a glimpse at how Suits and Daggers approaches their music.
“Built on the pillars of hard work, dedication, team work and integrity” Suits and Daggers offers a unique spin on the progressive metal sound that revels in a positive outlook on life. Taking queues from some of the genre’s greats like Parkway Drive and Erra, the band’s debut is a life-affirming, confidence-boosting, and powerfully-strong addition to the metal scene.
Given this uniquely-upbeat approach to a typically-dour genre, the band spends the lion’s share of Frozen Planet’s 45 minutes chasing their dreams and encouraging listeners to do the same. It’s a transitive joy that rubs off on the listener before the first song is over.
While the Suits and Daggers is obviously influenced by the some of the genre’s biggest names, Frozen Planet also bears an quaint charm of lesser-known acts like Skies of December and Settle the Sky. Interspersed piano adds an orchestral flair a-la In Fear and Faith, and an unabashed love for group chants hints at the style of Burden of a Day. All in all good company to be in, especially for a band this young.
Influences aside, there are also dozens of brilliant and unique moments scattered throughout Frozen Planet. Interjections of piano throughout “Defender,” unrelenting spitfire vocals on “Velvet Glove,” and a towering riff on “Empathy” are just a few of the album’s many highlights.
Late-album cut “Tranquility” allows the listener a moment of breathing room before immediately launching into another barrage of brutal screams and punchy riffs. As cymbals crash and guitar shreds back and forth, the track swiftly transitions to the titular “Frozen Planet” which bears the album’s most aggressive instrumentals and hard-hitting lyrics. Centered around a crushing breakdown and Andy Martin’s heartfelt songwriting, the album’s penultimate song speaks for itself as to why it is worthy of the album’s namesake.
Overall Frozen Planet is a fun, heartfelt, and inspirational metal album. For long-time fans of the genre who are searching for an exciting new act, look no further than Suits and Daggers.