Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2021
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Arctic Stranglehold - 91%

Larry6990, February 19th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2021, CD, Century Media Records (Digipak)

We've seen all sorts of themes embodied by metal bands over the years. 'Viking' is a common one. 'Pirate' is seeing its fair share of acts. Westerns, prehistory, ninjas, military history, Tolkien... all have at least one metal outfit eager to proudly display the imagery of said theme. However, 2021 has gifted us with what must be my favourite thematic concept to ever grace a band of any genre: being cold. That's fucking genius. There must be a million songs in the metal roster about ice, winter and freezing moons - but Frozen Soul have made ice, winter and freezing pretty much their M.O. It's in the band name, it's in the artwork, it's in the album title. Crypt Of Ice is the quintet's first full-length studio record, and it doesn't just verbally promise the low temperatures - the band completely and utterly manifest frost, snow, and all that is not warm in musical form. All this time we thought black metal was the genre that best summed up frozen stuff, when an old school death metal act were just around the corner, patiently waiting their turn to strike. Or should that be 'cold' school death metal? Thank fuck there are so many cool synonyms about cold things, or I'd run out of descriptors pretty fast.

Frozen Soul released their first demo, Encased In Ice, back in 2019 which received an ironically lukewarm reception. But the Texans have hit right back early this year, appropriately in the middle of winter, with their debut album Crypt Of Ice, which sounds exactly as its title implies. Metaphorically I'd compare the sound of this record to a glacier; slowly, subtly and coldly demolishing everything in its path. Musically, however, this channels the spirit of Bolt Thrower but with a less refined frozen edge. Low, detuned riffs rumble away like the zamboni from hell, with plenty of chugging goodness and the occasional double-kick attack to back it up. Really, every single riff is totally headbangable and hits like a hammer to the skull - the band cleverly using slight changes in tempo and time signature to emphasize particularly hefty moments. This smacks hardest at the end of "Beat To Dust". I simply cannot get enough of that 'dig in so deep, you'll taste the rust!' segment, or the 2:52 mark in "Twist The Knife".

The production quality is beautiful. The smart use of just-enough-reverb makes this whole album sound like it's been recorded inside a glacier. But arguably one of the biggest talking points, and the aspect which most defines this as cold school death metal, is the voice of Chad Green. His growl-meets-whisper approach is so unique, full of character and, rather suitably, full of icy venom. Every syllable spat is a shiver down your spine. These guys couldn't have chosen a better first impression than the opening title-track. An eerie ambience creates enough chill to ent'ice' the listener, before smashing their bones with a truly earth-shattering riff which works at both blast-beat speed and half-time. When accompanied by effective "UGH"s from Green, the resulting clamour is irresistible. Few albums have made me involuntarily grimace with delight in such a short timespan.

The constantly shifting gears ensure nothing ever stagnates, despite the Texans' reliance on slow tempos. Just a little less up-beat sections and I wouldn't hesitate to call this a doom/death record. Even though mid-paced, de-tuned riffs and growls a la Obituary are the order of the day, there are plenty of moments to make eyebrows perk up. The chorus to "Wraith Of Death" is catchy as hell; the brief stretches of ambience create tension (especially the horrifying sound effects in the middle of "Encased In Ice"); and I can't help but feel "Encased In Ice" should've been the finale - mainly because the last lyric is 'frozen soul'. I dunno, maybe I'm thinking too poetically for a band who are basically just 'polarcore'. I love how even the songs that don't have 'ice' as their overriding theme still manage to have words like 'cold' and 'frost' in them. I would very much love to see Frozen Soul rise to meteoric stardom within the death metal community. Crypt Of Ice is a hugely fun and all-encompassingly brutal experience, a phenomenal debut. I feel bold enough to make claims towards 'death metal album of the year', but then, the new Baest is just around the corner...

(Originally written for The Metal Observer)

Frozen Meal - 10%

Gigim_Xul, January 31st, 2021

Even with limited social media use, Frozen Soul's hype was inescapable. After taking a couple of listens to the album, I had to ask myself, "is the hype justified?" and the answer is, frankly, no. If you've worn the grooves out from Bolt Thrower's eight studio LPs, then perhaps there's some appeal to be found in Frozen Soul as the band sounds like they took all Bolt Thrower's discarded riffs and hammered them together into a new album. The songs flow naturally, and their structuring is where Frozen Soul manages to differentiate themselves from their influence, with less repetition of the riffs and more of a focus on driving the songs towards beatdown hardcore style slow breakdown parts. These sections and the lack of repeating riffs give "Crypt of Ice" a distinct hardcore feel. This, however, leads to the album's major failing – it's incredibly repetitive. Even by the third track of the album, I felt that I had already heard everything the band had to offer. Continuing through the album, I proved myself right; apart from a few keyboard interludes between the songs, Frozen Soul really have no surprises or tricks up their sleeve. I found myself yearning for them to pick up the speed and add something to keep my attention. Track six, "Encased in Ice" does break the repetition briefly after it's the intro with a part that sounds similar to something found on Obituary's "The End Complete." Still, it's over too quickly, an awkwardly placed sample of someone being stabbed in the middle, and then it's back to the same plodding breakdowns. While I have no doubt there's some appeal in the live arena for Frozen Soul, the album to my ears was tedious, uninspired, and emotionless. Before the halfway point, I was left bored and frankly cold (pun intended), and nothing that came after it did anything to change my feelings, just more repetitions of the same riffs and very monotonous vocals.

Production-wise, the album sounds impressive, thick and heavy with lots of bottom end, but with a modern dryness and clarity. However, this also becomes a hindrance at some points. For the band's style, it felt too neat and controlled and, as the album progressed, added to the feeling of monotony with a lack of introducing any different tonality, interludes aside.

I feel that as if half of this album were released as a demo, my opinion on Frozen Soul would be "let's see what the future brings," but considering this is one of the most hyped albums since the last Blood Incantation was released, it seems more like Century Media took a risk at getting into the current "more merch than minutes of recorded music" Instagram death metal scene. If you have a craving for more Bolt Thrower, I'd recommend you check out War Master instead, who manages to do much more with a limited palette than Frozen Soul does. Frankly, once the label's hype cycle is over for this band, we are left with an album that'll be fast forgotten as the songwriting is utterly generic at best. Ten new shirt designs a month can't remedy that.

Winter Death Metal? Yes Please. - 84%

duffman6669, January 27th, 2021

A band name like Frozen Soul may lead you to think that you are about to listen to some frigid sounding black metal from the arctic, but you would be wrong. Do not get discouraged though, death metal wrapped in a winter atmosphere is here and hopefully will be here for a long time to come. Frozen Soul is a relatively new band (formed in 2018) and this album is my first experience listening to them, and I am very pleased.

Before getting to the music I want to bring up some of the design characteristics. The band logo is pretty typical death metal style, readable and not readable at the same time. No complaints here, it looks good. The cover on the other hand is something I really love. It definitely captures the essence of the album and builds on an atmosphere that I am sure the band will continue to pursue further on down the road. Summing up, 'Crypt of Ice', sick title and sick choice of album art.

Now to the most important part, the music. This album crushes. After listening to this album a few times now I definitely pick up major Bolt Thrower sounds (Realms of Chaos anyone?) which is a major positive for me. Another band I found myself flashing back to during some of the slower, chugging moments on the album was Paramaecium, mainly reminding me of the guitar sound. While this band was probably influenced by the former, they are by no means just ripping them off. Their songs are well-written and heavy is and they expertly switch between faster, chaotic moments and slower, doomy moments. The winter motif is not something that is relatively common in death metal, it tends to be more 'hot' (hellfire and what not), but I think this album does do a good job of creating that atmosphere. Like I mentioned earlier, typically musical settings like this tend to trend towards black metal, so it was unexpected for me to feel that its actually the vocals on this album that really made the atmosphere for me. Death metal vocals roaring from a crypt made of ice work, what can I say?

There is not much to talk negatively about on this album, but I have one point I've noticed after a few listens. Some of the songs have a tendency to blend together and sound the same. While I can confirm that I enjoy every sound coming out of this album, there are not too many stand out parts. The albums baseline standard is so high that I will not say this ruined the album for me, I like it a lot, but it is something I have noticed in the first listens.

Overall, I really like this album and would recommend it to anyone with even a fleeting interest in death metal. This band is going places and this being their first album is setting the bar very high. I'm confident that this band will keep trending upwards and will be a force in the death metal scene. GET THIS ALBUM!

The Face of the New Wave of American Death Metal - 95%

GreogianChant, January 12th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2021, CD, Century Media Records (Digipak)

The year of our lord 2021 has been quite a year already. With the current rise in political tension, many may need to break away from the madness with some music. Many metal fans like you and I were pleasantly awaiting that break away with Frozen Soul's "Crypt of Ice', which is a thirty-nine minute onslaught of some of the best death metal to come out in the last few years, and dare I say these guys may in fact be the face of this new wave of American death metal.

Frozen Soul brings a flavor of death metal that is very reminiscent of Bolt Thrower, but also calls back to other scenes within the genre. The track Merciless is a prime example a track that pays homage to the early slam death metal bands out of New York like Internal Bleeding, and while it isn't a full on slam death metal song per say, there are notable elements like the slam riff at the half way point in the song that call back to that type of style from the 90's. Even the intro song Crypt of Ice starts off with a proto-slam riff before nose diving into these monstrous old school Bolt Thrower-style riffs.

Another notable aspect is while this all may seem familiar to the ear, the atmosphere the album offers up is definitely one that is unique and cold as hell. The riffs all around have this icey tone to them that you wouldn't be able to find on any other release. The vocals as well compliment these riffs as well by being drenched in this reverb that makes it feel like Chad Green is belting out the lyrics from an Antarctic cave. The drumming is also extremely tight as well and isn't just an onslaught of blast beats. There are sections throughout the album that give the atmosphere a death/doom feel that call back to early Paradise Lost and Rippikoulu demos. And when they aren't going insane on the blasts or melancholic with the slow tempos, the drums go back and forth at points between skank beats and awesome fills and drum solos that don't feel out of place. The only problem may be that on certain tracks that the drums and the instrumentals may become a little one note as you get deeper and deeper into the track list.

Despite the issues that are miniscule in nature, Frozen Soul offers up a helping of reasons as to why they're a band to keep looking out for in this era of death metal that brings back older sounds and styles. You can't get any better than this.

Bolt Thrower ate my Frosties!!! - 93%

spookymicha666, January 11th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2021, CD, Century Media Records (Digipak)

Whoa, this year is off to a very cool start!!! Frozen Soul are a relatively new band (founded in 2018), which have grabbed with their new (and first) album directly in my current playlist one of the front places. Respect!!!

But let's start from the beginning. After a short intro, the first track starts with ultra brutal old school death metal and vocals that make your marrow freeze in your bones. The singer reminds me quite of old Bolt Thrower at Realm of Chaos times, quite dark and somehow also spreading an icy atmosphere. The voice is a mixture of death metal grunts and whispers. The song structures of the album also often make me think of old Bolt Thrower. "Hand of Vengeance" could well be on Realm of Chaos, though the slower parts also keep reminding me of the old death doom band Winter (R.I.P.). I wonder why? By the way, Frozen Soul have a female bass player on board just like Bolt Thrower did back then.

The band skillfully manages to vary the tempo in their tracks in such a way that each track offers a surprise and doesn't seem monotonous. Personally, I find the changes between ultra slow and quite fast passages very appealing. What I find remarkable about the songs, even after repeated listening, is that the band always manages to pick up speed again when you think the song is over. Especially the track "Encase in Ice" is such a case. Here you should definitely know the video to understand the slightly disturbing sounds in the middle part. "Wraith of Death" is another song that convinces with its varied passages. Here, too, Bolt Thrower structures often prevail, but they are excellently developed by own ideas.

The lyrics of the album are surprisingly about frost, death and supernatural things. The band manages through the gloomy song arrangements, coupled with gripping intros (just listen to "Hand of Vengeance") as well as the icy breathed vocals, to bring across this atmosphere, which the songs are supposed to create lyrically, on an acoustic level as well. Maybe it's because of the season and the associated temperatures, but I will certainly listen to the album to cool down in the summer, when the northern hemisphere will again groan under new heat records. I think with a cool drink "Crypt of Ice" will also then serve well to refresh.