As the Frozen Soul mountain that is Chad Green climbs onto the small stage at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach, you sense this is going to be a memorable evening. The Texan, with his chain-link microphone stand, is one intimidating sight. “Cardiff,” he growls, “tonight, our stage is your stage.” For a photographer standing shoulder to shoulder with an army of bloodthirsty Death Metal fans, the chilling words mean trouble. A few shots in the icy blue mist, and I’m out of there and heading to the flanks of the venue.
Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff – 7 August 2023
Words and Photography: Paul Hutchings
But it’s not about me. It’s about those that have come, and they’ve come in numbers, to see Texan Death Metallers Frozen Soul bring their glacial wall of sound to South Wales.
Part of a three-date UK tour following European shows and culminating in a Thursday evening appearance at Bloodstock Open Air, Frozen Soul’s cold approach is simple.
They inspire carnage, circle pits, mosh pits, stage diving, and crowd surfing. And they do it with a barrage of blistering Death Metal which at times is suffocating.
It’s the equivalent of a steamroller. Unstoppable, relentless, and, if you like your Death Metal delivered with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the back of the skull, superb.
The band is in punishing form as they roar through a 50-minute set that draws from their two albums, Crypts Of Ice and 2023’s excellent Glacial Domination. Green is flanked by guitarists Michael Murphy and Chris Bonner and bassist Samantha Mobley.
Mobley is the most intimidating of the lot. A tattoo artist by trade, she delivers the low end without breaking sweat, headbanging furiously. Unlike Bonner, she doesn’t smile. At all. This is serious stuff.
The evening flies by. The Surfers find their confidence and launch off the small stage. It’s hazardous, but several are keen to do it and earn the respect of Green. He’s cajoling, demanding, expects push-ups from the pit at one point [he gets them] and seems surprised when so many of the audience roar their approval to the new album when it is introduced.
Underneath the frozen appearance, a heart does beat. Green is thankful to all who make the effort to join their band on a Monday night. He’s clear that we are a family and instructs the pit to “look after each other.” It may be a barely beating heart, black as night, but it’s beating with love for what they do.
Five tracks from Glacial Domination rip through the venue. The walls are trembling. As they launch into Crypt Of Ice, Green warns Cardiff that it’s “the last chance to dance.”
It doesn’t go unheeded, and bodies slam into each other once more. There’s an encore. A cover of Witches Coven by Mortician. It’s apt. It’s been a gathering, alright.
Three more days and they do it all again at Bloodstock. It’ll be ten times as bruising. And totally unmissable.