After the release of "WHITE NOISE PARANORMAL", I wanted to try something new... something that I have never done before. Delve into the style of black metal. During the summer of 2010, I started composing the next album in which I had a few titles in mind. The first was called "ABYSS OF SHADOWS" and then I changed it to "BLEEDING BLACK FORESTS". There was also another work in progess demo I was writing during the final stages of "WHITE NOISE PARANORMAL" entitled "AUTUMN WINDS DECAY", which later changed to "THE HAUNTED FOREST", which contained four tracks, with no vocals.
The final title ended up becoming "HAIL FUCKING DARKNESS". I also started implementing more blast beats with my drum program software. The bass software I was using during these recording sessions was a generic Rickenbacker sounding plugin called Broomstick Bass I believe. The bass did sound pretty damn good though I might add!! I had 7 tracks composed and a BURZUM cover, "Det Som En Gang Var", and I believe I was starting to write lyrics around the summer of 2010, but then I scraped this album completely and started writing and composing new music later that year. "HAIL FUCKING DARKNESS" ended up becoming an instrumetal demo instead.
"ANOMALIES OF THE FOREST" would be the next full-length album to surface from FROZEN MIST. This album was written between August and September 2010, with the exception of an additional track that was written in November that same year called "Sempiternal Grey Skies". This particular track didn't make it onto the album because the following month in December, my PC's hard drive crashed before I even had a chance to back it up!! My vocals were done and mixed in and lost those too along with the lyrics I wrote. The only backup I had of that track was a 160kbps instrumental mp3 file. The album cover was modelled by Zana Verbancic of Slovenia photoshopped into a background wooded area from a picture I took in the Pennsylvania mountains. The mastering job on this album was not my best because with the hard drive failure I had back in December 2010, I lost all my saved presets I had from my previous album masters, so I basically started from scratch and had to begin all over with trying to get the perfect sound for this album. The album does not clip, but the mixing is not the best on this album and there's no way for me to fix it since I lost all of the original work files. This also marks the first FROZEN MIST album as a pagan black metal release, the first that Wulv and myself implemented pagan instruments such as a pagan horn, sopilka, orcarina, rain stick and a shamanic drum. The FROZEN MIST logo was once again redrawn by Christophe Szpajdel to fit the concept for a pagan black metal style.
In March 2011, torwards the end of "ANOMALIES OF THE FOREST", I bought myself a used bass guitar. It was a Washburn Lyon Series. It was cheap and I wanted to start playing bass for future albums. So, I started composing music for the follow up to "ANOMALIES OF THE FOREST". Also, this next album, the overall sound of FROZEN MIST changed big time. I found out about a new guitar emulating program called Shreddage, which was indeed the most realistic sounding guitar VST plugin I have ever used!! The next demo that would come would be "DIABOLICAL APHOTICS", which originally was called "APHOTIC DECAY", which were just basic skeleton tracks of me playing bass with the composed rhythm guitar and drums. Some of these demos made it onto the next full length album, "MOTHER EARTH PANTHEON".
The next demo from August 2011 was called "MOTHIR JORTH PANTHEON", which in English is obviously "MOTHER EARTH PANTHEON". This was actually the instrumental version of the next album, just with some slightly different working track titles.
I don't remember exatly how I came up with this album title, I do though remember mountain hiking alot in 2011 and 2012, which further inspired the title... I believe first I just called it "MOTHER EARTH", but that alone wasn't good enough for me, so I added the "PANTHEON" along with it and thought that was a better title for the album. "Anthropopsychosis" was the first track I wrote for "MOTHER EARTH PANTHEON". This was also the first official album I used my new Washburn Lyon bass to record on, line in thru my PC's sound card. HAHAHA!! No compression and no effects, man. "The Devils Garden" and "Worlds End" were inspired solely by two landmarks fom Worlds End State Park located in Sullivan County, PA. This album was also heavily inspired by pagan metal (not so much "black metal", but more in the "death metal" style here) and also from the History Channel's new TV show at the time, "Vikings".
"MOTHER EARTH PANTHEON" marks the second album in the pagan black metal era of FROZEN MIST, and also the second that Zana was the album cover model for. Wulv also contributed backup vox and pagan instruments for the album. Zana's cover image was a pose she had done, I believe she told me, to help support women with breast cancer. When I was photoshopping the other elements into the cover (the slight flames on the bottom and the dark woods in the background) with her image, I deleted the top layers for the FROZEN MIST logo and album title so that she would stick out. The FROZEN MIST logo and album title appeared on the left side of the clear CD tray instead, along with a new FROZEN MIST "FM" shield logo that Christophe Szpajdel has drawn for our band that was placed in the center of the disc tray's background. "MOTHER EARTH PANTHEON" was released on April 28th, 2012.
Also, I had one "MOTHER EARTH PANTHEON" t-shirt made for myself around this time at a silkscreening store in Muncy. I never got more made because I wasn't sure how many people would actually buy and wear them. I did infact for the first time get a large supply of rectangular vinyl-styled FROZEN MIST stickers made that were on an all black background with the logo in white and underneath that in text read "Pennsylvanian Pagan Black Metal".
In mid-April 2012, I started writing new music for the next FROZEN MIST album. The first track I wrote was called "Eschatology", which was not the same version on the next full length. This first version remained in demo format and the riffs I wrote were never used on any future FROZEN MIST albums. "ESCHATOLOGY" was what I called the demo's main title and was also subtitled "THE END OF THE WORLD" written in Elder Futhark runes, possibly a connection I made as a continuance of "MOTHER EARTH PANTHEON", since the last track was indeed titled "Worlds End"? Hell, I'm not even sure. HAHAHA!! Must've been a coincidence.
A few months later in June, my wife and I took a road trip to south-western Pennsylvania, to the highest mountain peak in PA known as Mount Davis in which the elevation is 3,200' above sea level!! This was something the both of us wanted to see and also I was hoping this would inspire me more with what I was doing for FROZEN MIST. And to answer that? Why yes, it sure did!! Mt. Davis had an observation tower, kinda like a fire tower, in which visitors could climb the stairs to the top and enjoy the view all around and also feel the winds from high above the ground. When my wife and I got there, there were just a couple people visiting. So we snapped a bunch of photos from the ground level and then we made the ascend up the observation tower. When we got to the top, the wind was really blowing hard (this was the middle of a hot summer), and we shot more pix from the top. We stayed up there for a good 15 to 20 minutes, and then we started back down the stairs to reach the ground. Halfway down the stairs, my wife and I heard these noises, kinda like a howling wind thru the trees sort of sound, but more like ancient flute sounds (Native American flute?) or a whistling sound... it's hard to explain even to this day, but that's what we heard. I've never heard anything like it before in my life and again, there was no one around at the time we made our descent down the stairs!! Kinda like a cool but scary haunting vibe going on. From that very exact moment, the whatever flute sound that was made me think "pagan" and the howling "winds" at the same time brought fourth the next full length albums title...
I started writing and composing the next demo called "PAGANWINDS". Four tracks were written and composed starting with the new and final demo version of "Eschatology", the title track "Paganwinds", "Niflheim Whispers" and "The Ravens Circle". All four tracks would be recorded and used for the final album.
And now, let's talk about the final, full length album, "PAGANWINDS". Along with the four tracks from the previous demo, I wrote three more tracks. "Eschatology", like I stated earlier was the first track written and composed for the album. I had 13 song titles written down and saved in a notepad text file, so I chose three more to fit the albums theme. Once again, I used my Washburn Lyon bass for this release.
I'll just state this here now and get it out of the way... 2013 was a very fucking shitty year!!!
1: Wulv contributed on this album, but not as consistantly as he did in previous FROZEN MIST albums. I labelled him as a guest instead of a band member as he only laid down backing vox on two tracks and pagan instruments on three. I felt that he no longer really seemed interested and in December of 2013, alot of bad vibes were going on in my personal life and knowing that, I reached my boiling point and eventually blew up at everyone around me, including Wulv.
2: Zana once again, was going to be the cover model as well for "PAGANWINDS". (By the way, there were five women interested to be featured on the albums front cover, and at one point, three women on the front cover all at once.) The last promotional help that I saw from Zana spreading the word about FROZEN MIST was somewhere around August 2013. Now I don't push it on people to help spread the word and get our music out there, but it is nice to see that people are actually interested in what we're doing with our music. I questioned her about it in a Facebook message a few months later I believe in November and asked if she was still helping to promote "PAGANWINDS" and she told me indeed, that she was. Not hearing anything from her (I don't know if it was Facebook's fault that I wasn't seeing her posts or if she blocked me from seeing what she was posting, hell, I'll never know), I kept seeing that my old cover model from "WHITE NOISE PARANORMAL" and the BRUMOUS "KARMA" album was indeed getting the word out about FROZEN MIST and the new "PAGANWINDS" album that I was finishing up. It was infact Kindra Ravenmoon. This brought my spirits up!! So, in essence of her promoting the album and my band, I had gotten ahold of Kindra in a Facebook message in December 2013 and decided to use her instead for the albums cover model because she was really promoting the hell out of the release, and that's what I truly wanted and loved.
OUTCOME: As a result of the above two paragraphs, I lost Wulv as a band member and as a friend. Three to four years later, we have made up, but we're not nearly as close as we once were. Zana and I are no longer friends anymore. 2013 can go fuck off.
2013 spawned two "inspirational" type of music video clips from this album, the title track "Paganwinds" in March and "Whispers From Niflheim" in June.
The new artwork for "PAGANWINDS" featuring Kindra Ravenmoon was done by Benny Yarnell, and it was a first to have someone else do artwork for a FROZEN MIST album. The original intro track "Natureworship" that I had originally composed had a "warm, summer" vibe and feel to it. After looking at what Benny had done for the artwork, it had a "cold, wintery" feel to it. So, I had to recompose "Natureworship" to fit the new artwork and give the track a cold, atmospheric sound and feel.
"PAGANWINDS" was going to be a Wolf's Lair Records exclusive release, but after the shittiness of 2013's brutal fucking end, I reopened my indie label, Capcomia Studios, and "PAGANWINDS" was finally released on March 1st, 2014. I dubbed this as the final FROZEN MIST album.
After "PAGANWINDS" was released, and after all the shit that happened during the final outcome in late 2013, I put FROZEN MIST on an indefinite hiatus. The track "Valknut Rising" would inspire the name of a new solo project, aptly titled VALKNUT, which I formed on April 11th, 2014. Still in the pagan black metal mindset, this short album of only six tracks was released on August 30th, 2014. The VALKNUT logo was once again hand drawn by the Lord of Logos, Christophe Szpajdel. The albums title, "ODE", was basically a cry for help. I just wanted to see how much recognition I'd get from this project after the downfall of FROZEN MIST. At this point, my wife bought me a new ESP Ltd. bass and I used it for the first time on this album!! So, I uploaded the albums six mp3 tracks plus the front cover artwork to my Bandcamp site. The cover was modelled by Blackera Vakker hailing from Chile. A few days after I uploaded this album, myself and Blackera received a lot of hateful comments by people who enjoy hiding behind their computer screens. I immediately removed the album from Bandcamp, and as a result of this, I found out people were dowloading the album for free and mocking it. I then found a very shitty, not so thorough review on the Metal Archives site about the "ODE" album and at this point, I just felt like giving up making music entirely. That was my initial thought at this point in time... Should I keep this train going??
The only official music video that spawned from this release was "Flight", which was basially me walking in the woods near to where I live, clips of me playing my bass and also a few clips of ravens flying in the sky. This video was not received very well on YouTube. The video was also rushed as I just wanted something to try and help promote this small album. The last track, "Sumbel", I went WAY out of my comfort zone of metal and experimented on something more pagan-like and atmospheric. This was also heavily inspired by watching the History Channel's "Vikings" TV show, watching and educating myself on pagan rituals and blood eagles.
At 37 minutes total, I think "ODE" is the shortest full-length album that I've ever created. I also remember saying to myself and others that this VALKNUT "ODE" album should've been the follow up to "PAGANWINDS", or that I should've called it "PAGANWINDS: PART 2". Weird thoughts, but yeah. It could've happened, but it didn't, man.
After the VALKNUT "ODE" shiznit, on October 1st, 2014, I closed up VALKNUT and started back up my main baby, FROZEN MIST. In August and September, I had started writing a second VALKNUT album prior to FROZEN MIST's reopening... this demo was entitled "ARCHAIC", and I had two skeleton demo tracks composed, basically just the rhythm guitar riffs, acoustic guitar parts, drums and some ambient female pagan styled chants hovering in the background. The first track was called "Ode" (ironic?), which some of those riffs later ended up becoming "Wraith" on the 2018 album, "BLACK NOISE PARANORMAL", and the second track was titled "Tenalach", which became "Echoes of Folklore" on 2016's, "THE TENALACH PROPHECY".