Frozen Crown – Arise from the BeyondThursday, 27th May 2021
Developing a confident, diverse brand of power metal, Italian act Frozen Crown arrive at a critical third album juncture in their career. Winterbane delivers on its dynamic promise to entertain – showcasing a diverse set of tracks that incorporate influences from Scandinavian death metal to folk and classic/traditional influences beyond the expected European power riffs, tempos, and soaring vocal melodies. We reached out to singer Giada ‘Jade’ Etro to bring us up to speed on the lineup shifts within the band, the attention to diversity for this new record, thoughts on how the visual medium has helped connect them with their fans, touring with Dragonforce, and thoughts on taking care of the planet / poverty for a better world.
Dead Rhetoric: Winterbane is the third and latest album for Frozen Crown – featuring three new members in the group. Can you bring us up to speed on the lineup changes, why they took place, and how this may have impacted the record as far as songwriting and performances compared to the last two records?
Giada Etro: The lineup changes started from one year ago, really. We made the announcement three or four months ago, but it already started before. The other members decided just to start focusing on their own lives, their own projects, and other things. It didn’t impact the songwriting or performances, because the songwriters are myself and Federico. We create all the songs, so there was no impact on that side compared to the last two records.
We decided to explore new horizons to challenge ourselves with the new record, new sounds, and new complex songs. On this album we had some more heavy metal and classic metal songs, there is always a long track like “Blood on the Snow”, we experimented the most with guitar parts, bass parts, vocal elements. And we like to make straightforward things, and we have a folk-ish song with “The Water Dancer”. We also have a song that’s more feminine with “Angels in Disguise”, a duet I did with Federica Lanna from Volturian. We decided to explore many different points of view.
Dead Rhetoric: It seems like with the new members you have two younger musicians between the drummer Niso Tomasini and second guitarist Fabiola ‘Sheena’ Bellomo – how does it feel to play with younger musicians in the band now?
Etro: It’s really interesting because they are fresh and new. Somehow, they have aligned to what is (much) hotter in their generation. When you grow up with something like me, I’m older, and you are always linked to what put you in shape with what you are. Talking to them, they are sometimes suggesting things to me that are different from what I am normally listening to. It makes you richer, and up to date to something else.
Dead Rhetoric: Your husband Federico Mondelli plays multiple instruments and is the main songwriter for Frozen Crown. Discuss his importance to the outlook and vision for the group – and do you feel he knows best where to emphasize your skill sets, talent, and range as a vocalist?
Etro: Yes, starting from the last thing you told me – Federico from the beginning always had the vision to understand where my vocal range is to give these songs their best (look). And then we worked together on all the albums to emphasize this style. For Winterbane we worked a lot on the tuning of the songs to find the right tuning for my voice to give its best. He is the mastermind of the band. He has vision, he knows clearly what he wants to achieve and how to do it. He’s a really great commander and I really appreciate his skills. I admire him a lot, he knows how to move and what to do.
Dead Rhetoric: You were special guests for the Dragonforce European tour in February last year prior to the pandemic shutting down live touring. How would you describe your time on tour with Dragonforce, how were the shows, and what do you believe you learned being in front of the Dragonforce audiences that makes you stronger as a unit?
Etro: The experience with Dragonforce was amazing. We were touring with a great band, great professionals and they have been playing for so many years. They have a lot of experience, we had the chance to learn a lot of tips and see those great professionals in action. It gives you a lot of new skills for the future. They are amazing people as human beings, we had a lot of fun, we have made great friendships with them.
Playing in front of their audiences was amazing, they were really warm and had great feedback for us. We had lots of fun. This made Federico and I stronger, it made us grow as professionals and gave us some new skills to go on with our work in Frozen Crown.
Dead Rhetoric: Outside of the original material on the new record you picked “Night Crawler” from Judas Priest off the Painkiller album to cover. What does this band and this song in particular mean to you?
Etro: When I was a young girl, I listened a lot to classic heavy metal. Judas Priest has been one of the bands I had more fun with. I played some covers when I was young, 16-18 with my first band. They remind of those good times that I had when I was a girl. It was important for me to celebrate somehow this important side of my growth as a singer and as a musician. This song I feel suits me well with my voice. I decided to tune it up one step to give it my best.
I enjoy all of Judas Priest, but Painkiller is one of my favorite albums. The title song I am very linked to.
Dead Rhetoric: Beyond your influences including Scandinavian melodic death and power metal artists, what qualities do you believe Frozen Crown possesses to make yourselves different and unique from others acts in this genre?
Etro: I think we have a vision, a clear plan of what we want to do and how we want to do it. We know that we play some unconventional metal given the power influences, the Scandinavian death metal influences. These two things make us different.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel about the work of Scarlet Records in promoting and pushing Frozen Crown through their distribution channels, not only within Italy/mainland Europe but on an international level? Do you believe they possess a solid staff and understanding of how to create interest and sales for the band?
Etro: We are very happy with Scarlet Records. We have a close link to all of their staff. We are all working together for the best result possible. They believed in us from the beginning, they are professional people. We are extremely happy. And another thing, we are free to do a lot of things that we discuss with them. More than you could be with some bigger labels.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve gained over twenty million views on YouTube through your video work over the years with Frozen Crown. Discuss the importance of the visual medium to promoting the music of the band – and do you believe it’s as important in today’s social media driven platforms as it may have been in the 80’s and 90’s through major media like MTV and Viva video channels?
Etro: In my opinion, the world was changing before the (pandemic) in 2020. The direction everything was taking to social media, the visual medium. After the 2020 and this COVID situation, it has been even more important. It’s important to work on that side. The bright side is it gave to many bands more chances to grow and to be noticed by the audience. The audience decided what is worthwhile and what is best. Everyone can work on how to promote things. In the 1980’s and 90’s, there were not such possibilities for new bands to reach a lot of people. The internet world gives a lot of new chances from this side to all the bands. It’s everything positive.
I want to recommend for you to check out our Frozen Crown YouTube channel. We are making a lot of extra material aside from the official videos of the songs. We can connect with our audience and our fans more. We can allow them to know the band more, make things more intimate. We are happy nowadays that the internet and videos are working so well.
Dead Rhetoric: What are your thoughts on the Italian power/heavy metal scene in general? Do you believe you get proper support and respect from fellow bands, clubs, promoters, etc. – and who are some bands that we should be on the lookout for?
Etro: In Italy the metal scene is awful, to be sincere. I don’t think we get the proper support and respect. It’s a common disease. I can recommend Volturian. We get more respect outside of Italy. If we were born say in Scandinavia – Sweden or Finland – heavy metal is more respected there and you also get some help from the government to produce your music and go on with your art. There is more attention from all these sides. It’s taken with much more respect. We are very happy with all the feedback we get from the rest of Europe and the world.
Dead Rhetoric: What concerns you most about the world that we live in today – outside of COVID and the pandemic? Where do you think people in general need to put more of their time and energy into to make the world a better place for us and future generations to treasure?
Etro: In my opinion, of course the climate problems are very important. I get angry when I see people, in Italy, not putting attention to really small things. Like I see people not putting plastic in the right recycling. It’s something so easy, we normal people cannot do a lot to huge problems of climate change, but we should be a lot more conscious and pay more attention to the stupid things that we can stop doing.
The poverty we have in the world, we are lucky that we were born in some rich and healthy countries and we can do the kind of life we want. There are a lot of countries that have a lot of restrictions and a lot of poverty, women are not treated well at all in many countries. The biggest parts of humanity are not living in decent conditions, it’s unacceptable and we are wasting so much food, money. It would be a dream if we can somehow get better, everyone, and do more than what we are doing.
Dead Rhetoric: In one of your recent videos, you’ve talked about having a comedian-like personality that helps keep things fun and light at times. How do you think you developed this aspect of your life, and have there been times that your sense of humor helps the band relax or gain a fresh perspective when things can be hard and stressful?
Etro: Yes (laughs). I’ve always been a positive person, and mainly a person who wants to find the solutions for the problems. There are people who have a problem, and they complain. In my opinion – problem, find a solution. And this is a positive approach to everything. In the band, there are some points that can be stressful, I try to be positive and make people laugh. How did I develop this side of me? I think at school when I was a young girl. Between 12-14 years old, I was growing, this flower of positive energy was growing inside of me. I always liked to have a lot of friends, and admired people who can make other people laugh. I tried myself to become one of those people, to make people around me feel good.
Dead Rhetoric: What are the biggest challenges that Frozen Crown currently faces to establish yourselves more as a band?
Etro: It’s a challenge, the fact of Italy that I told you. Here in Italy there is not much support. That’s a challenge. We would really like to work on it. From the other side, we are working good. We have a plan. All the other things don’t seem so challenging, we are very straight forward towards our goals.
Dead Rhetoric: How it is working with your husband on the music and within the band?
Etro: (laughs). Usually we work very well together. He is the manager, mastermind, I rely on him for everything. I know he has the right vision on how things have to be. We are in perfect harmony. I’m a girl, and sometimes I can lose patience by myself. There are no problems because I want to be professional and work the best for the best results. We don’t have many problems on that side.
Dead Rhetoric: What are some hobbies and activities you have away from music you like to do when you have the free time?
Etro: I like a lot if we can describe as an activity – sightseeing, shopping, and meeting with my girlfriends, all the people that I have known since I was young. This is what I like most. I like to read, and practice some sports. I was going to the gym before the pandemic for palates, after the latest lockdown we had I bought the Nintendo Switch. Aside of that, I have gained a passion for video games – so I have been playing Diablo III and playing that like crazy. I have more video games that I plan to buy.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you see the next year shaping up for Frozen Crown and other activities with other bands/projects, as Federico also has work with Be the Wolf and Volturian?
Etro: For the future we are planning to work a lot on our YouTube channel. We are having a lot of fun. We will continue to think about playing live again, and I hope that happens soon. We want to really go on stage, meet our fans, we are missing that direct contact. Federico will be working on his other projects as usual. As soon as we will be able to play live, we have a lot of things in mind.