Frozen Soul – Glacial Domination (Century Media)

Monday, 22nd May 2023
Rating: 8.5 / 10

It must seem like this Texas death metal act shot out of a cannon in terms of underground success in such a short period of time. Arriving on the scene in 2018, their debut demo Encased in Ice got the buzz going, signing with Century Media for their debut album Crypt of Ice in 2021 – while garnering touring opportunities with The Black Dahlia Murder, Dying Fetus, Napalm Death, and Sanguisugabogg once the smoke cleared for touring to commence again. The follow-up Glacial Domination will definitely receive more dissection – especially as notable Trivium frontman Matt Heafy aided in the production / tutelage roles. Listeners can expect a catchy form of groove-driven death metal, keeping one foot in the past while also taking into consideration modern-style hooks that have elevated other artists to a larger level of acceptance in the scene.

The use of guest musicians that have become friends as well as great at their craft elevates certain tracks to even more of a unique level of quality – Dying Fetus’ John Gallagher on the horror-themed “Morbid Effigy” adding a darker overtone, while Creeping Death’s Reese Alavi adding another vocal weapon to the fast-paced “Arsenal of War”, the mid-paced transition sure to set pits swirling in Slayer-esque fashion. The twin guitar harmonies plus double kick groove within “Assimilator” should be a future headcrusher in every set list, the sadistic vocal roars matching the pummeling riffs and Viking-like atmosphere that mirrors the more recent work of Amon Amarth. The additional sound effects enhance the musical proceedings – “Annihilation” for instance providing that aural 80’s synthwave / Stranger Things-ish breather in less than a minute before the next heavy assault hits the airwaves. The fading in, stop/start angles for “Best Served Cold” should get bodies hurtling, and you also get a sense with the rhythm section parts that these musicians possess more of a crossover hardcore aesthetic beyond the obvious metal chops. The winter, ice, cold, frost lyrical themes differ from the conventional death fare as well – matching that darkness/despair that is a hallmark of this genre.

Much like the thrash resurgence that took place a decade before, these are active times in death metal not only for legendary or legacy acts, but a ton of hungry upstarts willing to grind out what they can to prove that this style still has plenty of vitality left. Frozen Soul with Global Domination have positioned themselves in the conversation for future worldwide headliners based on the quality of songwriting plus the determination/conviction in the genre they love.

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