Frozen Soul : Glacial Domination

Frozen Soul Glacial Domination review

Most death metal colors itself in monochromatic shades of violent red, but Frozen Soul plays it frosty with their take on classic death metal. Never offering obvious tribute to any of the bands most commonly worshipped, their strength instead lies in taking a chugged riff powered by double bass and making it groove without compromising its heaviness. There’s no blackened anything on their sophomore album Glacial Domination—just a blizzard of sub-arctic riffs that chill to the bone. 

The Fort Worth, Texas band set themselves apart from much of today’s death metal masses in part by how Chad Green’s vocals become an essential part of the songs. Not only are his growls articulate enough to make their narrative clear as ice, but it’s evident he played a huge role in the song writing process rather than just allowing the vocals to be an afterthought. The vocals are prominent in the mix, rather than a guttural pulse that blends into the low end. 

Green has said that the death of his younger brother inspired the lyrics behind their latest album. This catharsis is hidden behind a shroud of snowy metaphor as most of the songs deal with monsters bringing about a violent hateful end to mankind. An entertaining enough message, but we can assume the lyrical alchemy that transformed this into a healing process merely employ these concepts as a vehicle for underlying grief. Green’s phrasing makes the lyrics tangible in concept with the grace of bands like Carcass or Obituary, placing the songs first, rather than being heavy for the sake of heavy.

Drummer Matt Dennard has a keen second sense as to how and when double bass should be used in order to achieve maximum effectiveness. The key here being: not all the time. Nor do the drums simply bury you in a dense barrage. Some of the credit goes to the excellent production value, coupled with a smart mix, which allows the instrumentation to breathe even when coming at you with as much weight as the guitars. Even at the album’s crunchiest on the title track, the group keep everything hooky and melodic. It’s this balance that not only keeps the album listenable but make it fun, rather than just being extreme ear torture. 

One of the album’s highlights is “Assimilator,” a fitting ode to John Carpenter’s The Thing, given its sub-zero horrors. And much as that classic film was remade decades later, this band takes the heart of classic death metal and gives it a fresh coat of effects, with the hammering chug being possessed by one of the best  guitar tones I have heard committed to an album in some time. The last three songs find them very invested in their fetish for all things cold. Where “Abominable” evokes the Abominable Snowman, it’s more like the Attack on Titan version of the frosty cryptid as the lyrics speak of it bringing about the apocalypse.

Frozen Soul, delightfully, also prove themselves to be fans of huge fans of huge monsters, with the final song on Glacial Domination, “Atomic Winter,” taking on Godzilla. It crunches across a similar cold sonic landscape as the other songs. It wraps up an outstanding second album from the band, delivering aggressive death metal for a winter wasteland. Glacial Domination is an essential lesson in metal mastery, and one of death metal’s best albums so far this year.

Label: Century Media

Year: 2023

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