Review Summary: The North remembers.
From the land of always winter, Frozen Soul return two years after their well-received debut “Crypt of Ice” with their second instalment “Glacial Domination”, to remind you of why you have always enjoyed Bolt Thrower and temperatures at absolute zero. The new record has the same temperament that the band has put forth since their inception, but there’s a couple of more elements added to the mix this time, offering nice small pieces of alteration to an otherwise clearly defined approach.
In a way, what we have here consists of different fairly distinct elements, but played through the lens of this band quite well and almost in a way they make them their own. I guarantee you have probably heard most of the melodies you’ll find in “Glacial Domination”, which is very distinctly built on a ton of hefty, groovy, middle-paced death metal riffs that sometimes lead to faster parts, and sometimes to quite slower ones. The production (done by Matt Heafy from Trivium, who is also a guest musician on the self-titled track) of the record now gives out a sound that is as clean as a floor that you could shave with, completely stepping away from underground territory and into the pleasing spotlight of the more mainstream part of the scene, if that is even a thing for death metal.
The tracks are extremely catchy, with crystal clear guitar lines and growls that you can often understand, as Frozen Soul intend for you to at least start nodding subconsciously even when the attention drifts away from the music. In case you’re like me and you would never expect to go to the North Pole and encounter synthesizers, “Glacial Domination” has several short electronic-based introductions or sections in a few of their tracks, most notably in the one-minute interlude “Annihilation” and on the two tracks that feature darksynth daredevil GosT. Soloing thrives in the album whenever it takes the wheel, and the general combination of these guitars and vocals gives a really strong Bolt Thrower vibe, as if this name has not been mentioned enough.
At times, Frozen Soul wink at other neighbouring death metal subgenres, for example the almost slam-based first part of “Morbid Effigy” (which features John Gallagher from Dying Fetus) or the melodic death metal groundwork of the self-titled track, which will have you confused on why an Amon Amarth song sneaked into your playlist. Matt Heafy’s virtuosic play stands out on the 10th track “Abominable”, which however comes after the record’s weakest moment with “Best Served Cold”, where it can be noticed that the band almost didn’t want to try and write a new riff. Thankfully, most of “Glacial Domination” flows nicely and has a bunch of memorable material, on the one hand because of the band’s confidence, but at the same time because let’s be honest, it’s quite easy to follow.
The album’s two opening tracks are also its highlights, and while Frozen Soul have clear musical urges, they definitely have not rested on their laurels since 2021 but try to add more pieces into their material, which is what keeps the interest. Nevertheless, for a band fixated with ice and coldness, "Glacial Domination" sounds surprisingly warm and likeable. The foundations for them to make a big name for themselves in death metal have been laid, with all that this brings with it.