Frozen Soul - Crypt of Ice
Century Media
Death Metal
10 songs (39:14)
Release year: 2021
Century Media
Reviewed by Goat

Baby it's cold outside, and what better way to see in a new year of metal than with a metereologically-corresponding death metal band? This Texan five-piece have only been in existence since 2018 but each member has had experience with other acts, and even a cursory listen to their debut full-length here proves that. It's a solid mixture of Obituary and Bolt Thrower, sometimes straying much closer to the English legends than the Floridians but keeping just enough respectful distance to avoid being accused of tribute act status. Certain tracks here such as the crawling, crushing Hand of Vengeance do channel some of that world-(b)eating charisma here, but the songwriting variety present is generally impressive with plenty of moments like the eerie ambience that opens Wraith of Death to keep the album feeling fresh. And the members themselves contribute strongly, from the able riffing of guitarists Michael Munday and Chris Bonner to the dry, choked growl of vocalist Chad Green, hissing at you like an iced-up zombie stirring from his icy tomb.

That element especially is what makes Crypt of Ice more than just another death metal release. There's something to be said for thematic death metal and the whole 'cold' thing works well for Frozen Soul, particularly with touches like the howling winds that open Encased in Ice or the mid-track gurgles and hacking sounds. Atmospherically it can be quite stunning, feeling more like the work of a lost 90s band than something made recently, and although quite samey if you're not the sort that enjoys riff-focused death metal (sidebar for the rest of us to splutter in disbelief and outrage) there's no denying that the likes of Beat to Death pass the headbang test with flying colours. Chugging sledgehammer riffs drive each song, Twist the Knife having an especially blunt rumbler, and shifting tempos do much of the work otherwise, speeding into a pit-friendly frenzy or slowing to increase the groovy intensity. The latter is indulged in particularly on Asphyxian closer Gravedigger. And at just under forty minutes in length, Crypt of Ice hits the spot nicely - as fun and refreshing as a frantic attempt to run through deep snow while being chased by the frozen horde on the cover art, and a good addition to the death metal pantheon, if not an especially original one.

Killing Songs :
Hand of Vengeance, Encased in Ice, Beat to Death
Goat quoted 77 / 100
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