Son of Sam – And the Monster Awoke… Review

When Rimfrost disbanded after their magnificent Expedition: Darkness, I thought I’d never get to review something from them again. What’s this gotta do with Rimfrost? You’re about to find out. After Rimfrost parted ways, drummer Throllv and bassist Khratos joined forces to create new music under the moniker Son of Sam. But what is Son of Sam?1 Is it the next phase of Rimfrost‘s sound? Will they dig deeper than ever to top Expedition: Darkness? Or, is this something else? Just maybe, the boys moved onto death, grind, or sludge? Maybe they’ve gone soft and turned to Deafheaven-core, or even sound like Sven-Ingvars? It’s anyone’s guess at this point.

Together Throllv and Khratos tag-teamed guitars, vocals, and songwriting duties to summon And the Monster Awoke… And, thank any gods that might exist, Deafheaven wasn’t considered in the SoS sound. Though Throllv has some moments of blackened raspery, he boggles my ears with a gruffier and cleaner performance than Rimfrost‘s Hravn, which is a perfect fit for the heavy/melodeath qualities of this new album. And for the songs that lean on keys and melodies, his voice soars above the clouds in heavy/power metal fashion. But, when the riffs are fast and hard, his voice is like a kid’s Hulk fist to your testicles.2 And to make the impact even greater, the band employs multiple guests to help with backing vocals.3 Like Rimfrost‘s swansong, And the Monster Awoke… is a diverse slab that keeps you guessing at every turn.

Looking at the album from a sky’s view, the variation spreads evenly over its eleven tracks. The title track opens the album as the perfect introduction to “I Am.” After delicately crafting the rest of the album’s atmosphere, “Son of Sam” transitions into a powerful riff that feels like a classic Rimfrost opener. “I Am” takes the momentum and unleashes a combination of heavy and melodic death. But, before you move on from the track, “I Am” closes with a higher and more melodic rendition of the closing riff from “Son of Sam.” I love it when shit like that happens. Another track that gives me the Rimfrost heebie-jeebies is closer, “Vengeance.” It has a killer riff that comes and goes throughout the front half. Then, that same riff digs in and hits harder than ever on the back half of the song. It’s the monstrously perfect way to close the album.

Between, you’ll find all kinds of variety. “Mr. Sinister – Evil Minister” has big riffs, soaring vocals, and a classy mid-section of keys and melodies. All combined, it has an interesting heavy/power sound akin to Iced Earth. Then you have a trio of songs mid-album that really show the depth of the band’s songwriting. “Gods in the North” not only has a classic Immortal sound, but it also has the best riff of the album. The palm-muting chugs of “In Darkness and Dismay” combine with thrash licks straight from old-school At the Gates. The last of the three takes a slightly different Swedish metal approach. With “Space Rider,” the band unleashes their Amon Amarth love without all that Viking lore.

After dozens of listens, the thing I love the most about And the Monster Awoke… is that it’s not Rimfrost. There are similarities here, but the vocals and song arrangements are their own. Which, in my opinion, is exactly what you hope for from a spin-off. The only thing that really makes Son of Sam and Rimfrost similar is their need to mix things up and their dedication to great album dynamics. Expedition: Darkness did it before, and And the Monster Awoke… did it again. For those that love the beefiness of Rimfrost but are looking for something outside of the black metal void, this might be for you.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Self-Release
Websites: sonofsamband1.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/sonofsamband
Releases Worldwide: June 11th, 2021

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Besides a weirdo “serial killer” and the topic of a current Netflix special.
  2. Case in point: “Depravity.”
  3. Including Hravn himself.
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