Published on November 7th, 2016 | by Justin G.
Livesay: Frozen Hell
New York-based heavy metal band Livesay is back with a new album, their fourth overall, titled Frozen Hell. It’s the band’s first release on the Kivel Records label, and the first to feature Shawn Pelata (Final Sign, Seven Hard Years) on vocals. Pelata is the fourth Livesay vocalist in as many albums.
Given the six-year gap between this album and the previous Livesay release (2010’s Awaken the Giant), Frozen Hell is an apt title for this album. Beneath a very striking cover image (side note: something about that artwork/logo combination just screams Black Mark-era Lefay/Morgana Lefay, which is cool), Frozen Hell is an album that touches on a few different metal sub-genres. Founding guitarist/main songwriter Gregg Livesay is a true shredder, so you can’t help but think of the neoclassical style made popular by Yngwie Malmsteen, Alex Masi and the like. His songwriting style is more on the progressive metal side though, with a strong melodic rock feel. This particular mix works surprisingly well, and it’s pretty wild to see Livesay pivot from catchy hooks to blistering solos so effortlessly.
Pelata was a good choice for Livesay. He has experience in both metal and melodic rock bands, so his voice tends to suit these songs very well, especially the more melodic songs like “Slaved and Bound” and “With or Without You.” You get a sense of his full range on “Welcome to the Real World” and the impressive cover of Rainbow’s “Since You’ve Been Gone.” The very Malmsteen-sounding title track is another highlight of Frozen Hell, as is the closing ballad “Spread Your Wings.”
A lot of times these “guitar hero” albums only appeal to a very narrow subset of metal fans (the ones who wore out their Yngwie Malmsteen instructional VHS tapes back in the day), but Frozen Hell has a wider appeal. Sure, the shred aficionados are going to love what Gregg Livesay is laying down here, but these songs are more than just vehicles for noodly solos. This is a strong collection of melodic heavy metal songs with great vocals, superb production and yes, some very impressive guitar work. Fans of Malmsten, Axel Rudi Pell, and TNT will find Livesay well worth discovering.
Disclosure: Shawn is a friend, so I’m not exactly unbiased here. You can listen to the clip below and judge for yourself.
Summary: This is more than just another "guitar hero" album.