It is a cold November night in 2014 as winter approaches the northern lands. A young songwriter from Adelaide is trying to sleep high above Russia on a flight to Finland for the fifth and final time. After reuniting with family and friends the events are set in motion to form a new band in the proven home of heavy metal.
The band‘s debut album ‘Blue Eyed Emotion’ was already in progress before the band was completely formed. Benjamin Connelly had survived a hectic night in studio tracking drums for the album while classically-trained opera singer, Hew Wagner had begun to lay down the vocal tracks. Once in Finland Benjamin continued to record guitars, keyboards and began the main production phase.
The songs took on a notorious sound combining wintery power/symphonic metal with a Japanese visual kei and anime influence. The idea to promote the music and upcoming album at anime/manga conventions in Finland came to mind shortly after. Although unsure of whether showcasing metal music at such an event would work, it proved to attract curiosity of anime and metal fans especially at Kitacon in Kemi.
The search for a singing lead guitarist began not long after the rhythm guitar tracking was in progress. This lead to Markus Laito from Lahti, Finland beginning to record solos and vocal parts for the album and then joining the band in the summer of 2015. At this point the trio decided to take the name Everfrost as the band name, the name of the fictitious town from the Blue Eyed Emotion album story. Benjamin then designed the new logo taking inspiration from his Snowkid alias logo.
Mayday brought a very exciting opportunity when professional Japanese mangaka, Michiru Bokido suggested forming a partnership with the band. Everfrost would produce a song for the anime trailer to his upcoming manganoke, Knight of Fae and in return Bokido would illustrate the band‘s album cover and booklet for Blue Eyed Emotion. The song ‘The Glades and the Cradle’ was then written and recorded over the summer and fall, inspired by the old Scottish folk tale ‘Tam Lin’. Benjamin also began drawing some ugly-looking draft work for the album artwork and discussing the story and concept with Michiru.
Prior to the end of 2014, Benjamin and Hew had both been collaborating with Brisbane-based composer and keyboardist of Awaken Solace, Robert Russell. One particular project featured ex-vocalist of Dark Symphonica, Swan Davies which lead to the idea of Swan featuring some guest vocals on the Blue Eyed Emotion album. The songs Back to the Light, Clockwork Wilderness and Caress the Emptiness gave a nice contrast for female vocals and during the fall of 2015 Swan delivered outstanding performances for each with Robert engineering the sessions. Robert subsequently provided a guest keytar and piano solo for Caress the Emptiness.
In the fall of 2015 the band appeared in an interview for a PR article with Michiru Bokido conducted by Mitch Campbell. The album, music and band were discussed along with Everfrost’s collaboration with Bokido along with his upcoming Knight of Fae. The band‘s musical style was described as ‘winter metal’, a new genre describing the anime, power metal inspired music visually enhanced with the artistic style of a manga artist.
By November the album’s mix was coming close to being ready with Benjamin adding the final touches. Two years of hard work was now all coming together. In December the band made contact with Janne Tolsa, the keyboardist of legendary Finnish metal bands Tarot and Turmion Kätilöt. Tolsa agreed to master the album at his studio in Kuopio, Finland. He delivered a master that completely satisfied the band and enhanced the mix perfectly while being very nice to work with.
On December 19th 2015, Blue Eyed Emotion was released to the public. The album quickly began to be shared around on social media, Reddit and Youtube. Channels including Unknown Power Metal Youtube posted favourites from the album thus attracting new listeners. The band were very grateful for the support and positive reception of the album as well as new fans getting Everfrost into the Encyclopedia Metallum Metal Archives. Shortly after Japanese record shops in Osaka began to order the album, the anime-inspired artwork and wintery power metal brought notorious attention from Japanese metal heads. Surprisingly within a few days the album sold out in Japan and within a month the band‘s stock sold out across Europe and America. Plans to manufacture more were underway.
The album also received some radio airplay online and in local areas such as Finland, France and Belgium. To complement this Hew composed a radio jingle ID for the band.
While the album was still in progress, the idea to welcome a second lead vocalist to the band came to mind. The band saw an appeal in ensuring the grand, choir-like vocal sound on the album would be replicated live. With two lead vocalists working together in front of a whole band of backing vocalists, this definitely seemed possible. Finnish metal vocalist, Mikael Salo from Helsinki-based band, Northern Seer agreed to join the group upon his return from an exchange program in Japan. The mix of theatrical power metal and anime matched his vocal style and interests well. Thus live shows were planned later in 2016 after his return to Finland in June.
In the ski holiday week of 2016, Markus travelled to Lapland to meet with Benjamin to take more band photographs and record parts for an upcoming music video for Silver Nights, Golden Dreams. The first day went to getting drunk at the Snow Castle of Kemi but the following days ensured a lot of work accomplished.