Frozen Soul – Crypt of Ice Review

Let’s keep this death metal train going, people! One entire year of it surely isn’t enough, right? We gotta maintain this hot streak like our lives depended on it. Or, I guess, if you’re Century Media’s newly signed Texan caveperson collective Frozen Soul, it’s a cold streak.1 Either way, I want more death, more metal, more riffs. The quintet’s first LP Crypt of Ice promises to deliver on all three, express shipped in a plank-wood box and ensconced in prehistoric ice. Ancient blood seeps within the cracked innards of this block, and my mouth waters with anticipation. What meaty neanderthalic treats hibernate just beneath the surface of this chilled, steaming-cold rectangular prism?

Fuckin’ riffs, that’s what. Simple, scrumptious, satisfying riffs free of extraneous noodling. There’s just the smallest hint of melody to some of the guitar work, but by and large, the name of the game is bludgeoning and bloodshed. By far the most effective vehicle for Frozen Soul‘s particular clubbing technique manifests in the form of vocalist Chad Green’s sharp, truncated grunts and snarls, backed by Matt Dennard’s simplified, yet effective, abuse of his kit. Interestingly, there are two distinct riffing personalities to be heard on Crypt of Ice, which gives me hope that guitarists Michael Munday 2 and Matt Dennard each took point when writing riffs, depending on the needs of the deathly deed at hand. In this way, Frozen Soul created something carved in the early-mid nineties, preserved for decades, then thawed and prepared in the now, much like slaughtered meat after the advent of refrigeration.

Headbanging remains the ultimate compliment in the face of death, and opener “Crypt of Ice” motivates the neck muscles thusly as much as anything could. Hooks abound as vocals stab your gray matter with icepick-like precision3, and with that my wallet readily consents to a thorough pillaging. Not long after, “Hand of Vengeance” delivers it’s stout club to my spongy skull, cracking it in twain and proceeding to slurp out the contents, and “Merciless” pummels its way through my chest cavity, munching on the viscera therein like sweet ambrosia. “Faceless Enemy” saves the record just as it starts to get a little long in the sabretooth, offering the finest riff salad this side of an iceberg (haha, get it?).4 The timing of this little nugget is especially odd in that it feels almost as if the band knew my attention started to wane just a minute before.

Yet all isn’t sparkly in this icy tundra. The ways of Frozen Soul are so deeply entrenched within decades-old traditions of old school death metal that it’s hard for Crypt of Ice to stand out from the crowd. Stand out it does not indeed, as lesser cuts like “Wraith of Death” and “Beat to Dust” clearly demonstrate. Riffs start to feel somewhat recycled as the glacial slab mosies along, stopping just short of outright self-plagiarism. They create this nagging sensation of familiarity which exceeds my personal comfort zone, leaving only a tinge of boredom in its place. Thankfully, those lowlights come few and far between the chunky tectonics on display everywhere else. On an unrelated note, the mix could use some work, as the schmuck5 responsible for this otherwise dynamic production buried the bass too far down.

If you ice6 me, Frozen Soul have a bright future ahead of them if they continue to bash skulls like this. I would ask the small favor of giving Samantha Mobley’s bass more presence in the mix and maybe some sick solos or something, because bass solos in death metal are dank. I think that diversifying the riffs in structure and style could also help future output stand out, but I’m confident that whatever Frozen Soul choose to do next, it’ll crumple my skeleton without much trouble regardless.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: V1 kb/s VBR mp3
Label: Century Media
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: January 8th, 2021

Show 6 footnotes

  1. Dad Joke Level: Good – Holdeneye
  2. ugh, Mundays, amirite?
  3. Remember, this is caveman death metal of which I speak, lads.
  4. Dad Joke Level: Bad, but Good – Holdeneye
  5. *checks notes* “Mixed and mastered by Daniel Schmuck.” Well, shit!
  6. Dad Joke Level: Bad – Holdeneye
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