Album Review: Frozen Soul – ‘Crypt of Ice’

Those still loyal

Though they hail from Texas, a state better known for heat waves than wintry winds, Frozen Soul sure has some kind of arctic fixation. Every song on Crypt of Ice that doesn’t explicitly mention frost or glaciers at least zeroes in on death’s cold embrace. But while their imaginations skew cold, their debut LP is every bit as red-hot as their subterranean demos promised. Think evil-but-enunciated croaking, melodic tremolo riffs turned low and laid atop groovy drums, and near-constant double bass rolls.

That percussive proclivity points to the band’s greatest strength and weakness: It’s tough to listen to this record and not hear Bolt Thrower. The instantaneous barrage of “Arctic Stranglehold” and the merciless pounding of “Beat to Dust” show guts and aim for glory. The similarities go deeper than their liberal use of Andy Whale’s Tank-beats, but at the same time, they’re hardly surprising: Birmingham’s most martial seems to have usurped Entombed’s place atop the pile of death metal bands with crossover hardcore clout. By that token, Frozen Soul express their influences with at least as much reverence as Black Breath, Nails and Xibalba did for their chainsaw guitar forebears. All three of those bands helped pave the way for our present renaissance of old-school death metal revivalists before mutating into unique beasts.

Frozen Soul haven’t quite evolved that far yet, but Crypt of Ice is fun, catchy, full of conviction and—most important—harder than free-climbing up a sheer rock face. Who could ask for more from their first tour of duty?

Review taken from the February 2021 issue of Decibel, which is available here.