Fresh from their opening slot on the recent Dying Fetus European tour, Texan chillers Frozen Soul bring their sophomore release, Glacial Domination, to the world’s attention. 2021’s debut Crypt Of Ice, saw the five-piece receive plenty of recognition, for the 39-minute slab of cold school Death Metal was an album that really caused ripples.
Frozen Soul – Glacial Domination (Century Media Records)
Release Date: 19 May 2023
Words: Paul Hutchings
The first thing that strikes you is the album artwork. It’s almost a scene from Game Of Thrones. But it encapsulates the icy imagery and atmosphere that Frozen Soul create. Having absorbed the cover, it’s straight into the opener Invisible Tormentor. This and the second song Arsenal Of War, bring a new feel to the band’s traditional sound. Although they are instantly recognisable as Frozen Soul, there’s a hint of newness here. Indeed, the first part of the album sees the band expanding their sound without losing any of their integral feel.
Utilising intro effects works well. There’s a build-up that is crafted in the transition between songs. The sound of the battle between Invisible Tormentor and Arsenal Of War is a classic example, allowing the album to flow without pauses or gaps.
Ultimately, this is Frozen Soul, and they are not going to deviate from their path. Morbid Effigy slows the pace, but not the intensity, as it remains as skull-crushingly heavy as before. Thick, sludgy riffs, Chad Green’s guttural growls, they are all present and correct. This leads to the synthwave transition to the title track. A bit of a departure in many ways, it nevertheless fits in with the feel of the album and provides the opening to the second half of the record.
The title track might be a little more familiar, having already been released on streaming sites and featuring co-producer Matt Heafy. It’s another heavy, bruising track, but one that is, like most of this album, possibly more accessible than Crypts Of Ice. We then arrive at the two-part suite of Frozen Soul and Assimilator. Although listed as separate tracks, the two songs are one cohesive piece inspired by John Carpenter’s The Thing.
One listen to the pair, and you’ll see why this is the case, for they flow organically. There’s more solo work, and the guitars are nicely fattened in the mix, bringing more power to the songs.
Although the band’s themes are focused on the cold, they cover a multitude of topics throughout the release, especially elements of mental health which are important and personal to the band. Best Served Cold has the ultimate Bolt Thrower vibe, but as I said in a review of Crypt Of Ice in 2021, bringing a bit of that Black Country DM passion and drive into your music isn’t ever going to be marked down in my book.
The final duo is Abominable and Atomic Winter. The former is co-written by Heafy, who brought the band the original riff to work on. It’s a formidable song, crushingly heavy and with a grinding stomp that allows the band to work into a faster riff which sees them at full pelt, something rarely associated with Frozen Soul.
It works nicely, though, with that driving groove demanding a response. The latter provides a final stomping workout with which to bring the 42 minutes of winter-tinged Death Metal to a close.
It may be spring, but there is no warmth with Frozen Soul. The darkness remains, and chilling it is too.