As death metal bands go, the buzz around Frozen Soul has been something to behold in the last two years. Even now days before the release of their Century Media debut, Crypt of Ice, several of the Facebook groups I follow have people asking if anyone’s had their copy yet, if anyone’s heard the record yet.
That said, it should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been following Texas death metal for the last few years. The members of Frozen Soul are known for being in any number of “near miss” bands that didn’t quite make it to national fame.
And so of course, when the band released their demo-turned-EP in early 2019, it set off a busy year that included a number of national tours, opening a sold out show at St Vitus, and even ending up on some end of year “best of lists”. Soon enough Century Media came knocking, and the rest is history.
We caught up with guitarists Michael Munday and Chris Bonner to get the lowdown on their new album and their icy tone.
You guys have had a ton of interest online right from the release of your demo. How has it felt having “momentum” without even having a full length released?
It’s badass! We’re very thankful for everyone thats checked us out so far, and we can’t wait to share the rest of the album with everyone!
How did you guys hook up with Century Media? That’s a pretty big label for a new band.
They just messaged us out of the blue a couple weeks after we got back from the Frozen Steel tour, so we were pretty shocked! They had been seeing our name a lot and liked what we were doing and reached out to us.
The “old school death metal” sound has gotten huge in the last few years – why do you think that is?
The internet has definitely played a huge part in it. Plus with this new revival of the old school sound, lots of bands have a fresh take on it which makes it feel new to everyone.
I know some of you guys have a history in punk and hardcore bands. I feel like the current death metal scene has more overlap with hardcore in particular than any other time that I remember, why do you think that is? And why is it that punk and hardcore guys seem to age into the death metal scene?
People just like all different kinds of heavy music. Punk and metal go hand in hand, and all forms of heavy music today wouldn’t be around if punk didn’t exist.
If someone digs Frozen Soul but isn’t super familiar with old school death metal, what three records would you suggest they check out?
What is your old school death metal hidden gem from back in the day – a record that you love that you feel doesn’t get the credit it deserves when people talk about old DM records?
Definitely “Shadows of the Past”. We all think that’s a death metal masterpiece. Sentenced started switch their sound up, and ended up overshadowing what they had previously done. Its a must listen for everyone.
Tell me about some of the gear you guys use live? Did you use the same gear for recording the record?
Chris: I use a Peavey 6505+ with a Mesa 4x12 with V30’s. Live I play a customized Gibson Explorer with a Floyd Rose, Seymour Duncan JB/Jazz pickups, and a USA Jackson soloist also with a Floyd Rose and Seymour Duncan JB/Jazz set. For pedals i use a Maxon ST9 Pro+, and an ISP decimator.
Michael: I use a Peavey 6505, and the same Mesa cab with V30’s. Live I play a custom USA B.C. Rich Ironbird with a Kahler, and a Seymour Duncan JB/Jazz set of pickups. I also use a Maxon ST9 Pro+ and an ISP Decimator, I also use a Dunlop Mini Volume pedal.
For recording, we used all the same gear but different guitars. We used my Epiphone Les Paul with a Seymour Duncan JB and Chris’s Silverburst Gibson Explorer with Bareknuckle Nailbomb’s.
What are some records you would consider touch points for what you guys are aiming for tone wise?
We really can’t point to any certain records, it’s just something we hear in our heads. It’s a new interpretation of an old school sound.
How do you plan out who plays what as far as parts? Do you plan your two guitar tones to match or compliment each other in any way?
We try to compliment each others tones and the difference is in the guitars we play. My Ironbird is a bit brighter, and Chris’s Explorer & Soloist have a darker sound.
What’s a tip you would give for someone trying to get the tone you guys have? Any lightbulb moments you can share as far as specific gear, or even small things like strings/intonation/amp settings/etc?
Buy professional gear if you’re actually serious about it. It really does make all the difference! When we were in the studio, we tried Diezel’s, ENGL’s, old JCM 800’s and the 6505 and just kept coming back to the 6505 every time. Small things would be switching to NYXL’s for strings. Scoop the mids.
What’s your favorite lick/riff/part on any of your songs?
Chris: The chorus in Hand of Vengeance, the first break in Beat to Dust, and the starting riff of Arctic Stranglehold.
Michael: What i call the criss-cross riff, which is the verse riff for Crypt of Ice. The stab riff in Encased In Ice, and the breakdown riff in Beat to Dust.
If someone wanted to learn a Frozen Soul song, what would you suggest they start with?
Start by bludgeoning themselves in the head. If you have any form of intelligence, these riffs will be too difficult to play.
Texas has a pretty killer metal scene, what are some current bands people should check out?
End Times, Steel Bearing Hand, Kombat, Cleric, Pissed Grave, Cognizant, Obstruction, Fists of Fury, Kaliya, Malignant Altar, Creeping Death, Executioner, Torture Tomb, & Fleshrot!
What are some good Texas metal bands that split up before they got known nationally that people could check out?
Garuda from Fort Worth and War Master from Houston for sure!