Artwork by Martyrdoom Illustrations
Frogskin are a 4 piece Sludge/Doom outfit hailing from Nurmijärvi, Uusimaa, Finland. They formed in 2004 and after 2 full length albums and several splits, EPs etc., now their 3rd full length album III - Into Disgust has been released in January, 2023 via Violence In The Veins, Iron Corpse and Minor Obscur.
These five songs that are III - Into Disgust skillfully wallow in filth, they are massive in sound, with abundance of distortion. But Frogskin don't only rely on just being slow, low and distorted. With well-wrought minimalistic structures, well set sound layers and a great sense for precision they create heaviness that plows several levels deep into the mud and produce a kind of heavier than heavy and blacker than black atmosphere.
The opener "Mistress Divine" starts off with droning strung-out persistent distorted sounds that work on me as a trigger for meditative focusing and are a great base for all the layers that get involved. And they are so smoothly integrated that, despite all abrasiveness and thundering, there is a kind of gooey litheness like molten lava at the same time.
If you're not totally absorbed by now "Of Vermin and Man" will have you for sure as it has even more hypnotic traits. Pace goes from super slow to ultra slow. The agonizing slowness and ponderousness provides a sense of foreboding and impending threat. Still everything is increasing in intensity. To keep my head from banging to that drum beat, you'd have to nail it to the wall.
In "Serpent Path" the vocals get even more snarling and angry, and the atmosphere even more menacing, enhanced by a daunting spoken word passage..... if all these "even-mores" are even possible.
"B.B.N.T.B.N." then is a chaotic noise rush. short, almost fast and of high intensity from start to end. It feels like being trapped in endlessly oscillating echoing sounds. This tremolo sound here brings a slight black metal feel to it (perhaps that's only me). The abrupt ending to total silence translates in my brain to total blackness and is extra spine-chilling.
Someone picks me up in that trap and brings me to "The Pyre". This is like a witch burning scene. After a slow intro with a melancholic dirgy guitar melody of a good 3 minutes, embedded in an almost fast passage there's a spoken word sample like a hellfire sermon that provides great dramatic momentum, as well as the following foreboding thundreous drums. And from here the procession inexorably strides forward, with church bell like guitar and drum beats to whip on the convicts. Sound and intensity swell until... the axe cuts the cord.
III - Into Disgust, is bone crushingly heavy, thick and dark in sound and atmospheres. As I said above, it wallows in filth, but thankfully in a way that it doesn't completely drown the structural details in distortion and low-end. Frogskin manage to create a really deep texture that allows, despite all its viscosity, to unfold a breathtaking dynamic, and overwhelming intensity with major impact, musically and emotionally. And this doesn't only hold true for each song, but the entire 40 minutes of the album. So the songs are preferably listened to in the given order. With their mostly smooth transitions they could as well go as one long track, even with the abrupt ending. and silence of "B.B.N.T.B.N.".