Plumbing the Frigid Depths of “Glacial Domination” with Frozen Soul (Interview)
Frozen Soul are one of the best up-and-coming death metal bands in the scene today. Their debut Crypt of Ice was widely regarded as one of the very best albums of 2021 coupled with their presence on tours, a merch game that won’t quit, and their wonderfully goofy Wrecking Ball Metal Madness, which was filmed as an old-school concert. The recording was direct to VHS and featured transitions that included their very own Wraith of Death along with performances from Creeping Death and Devourment. Up next for the band is sophomore album Glacial Domination.
I spoke with vocalist Chad Green and guitarist Michael Munday about everything from mental illness to the writing process for the new album. We broke down the album nearly track by track with Frozen Soul’s sound coming through in old, new and sometimes unpredictable ways. They worked with both Trivium’s Matt Heafy and Gost to get some new ideas and even wrote a full on synthwave track to use as a beautiful transition between the early and later parts of the album, creating a metamorphosis-like effect. The guys are really excited to hear what their fans have to say about the new record, one that pushes the band beyond their normally subarctic and slow comfort zone. Read on below for more info.
Chad, what is it like to spread the message of mental illness through your music and who Frozen Soul are?
Chad Green: What can I say; it’s something that nobody wants to go through. I have kind of been about speaking to mental health issues, some of the things that myself and other members of the band struggle with. Frozen Soul is one of those things that we do to help ourselves with this kind of stuff. The cold themes help us to fight that, even though there has been a lot of crazy stuff over the last three years. My brother passed away, and one thing led to another, and I do this at every single show. My mind just kind of lets my mouth go and speak from the heart, and I appreciate all of you that will listen.
You guys are super busy, road dogs, merch and even a direct-to-VHS show during COVID.
CG: And we’re doing it again too; we have done two live fests, and this last one that we did, we filmed, and our friend Tanner who filmed the cutscenes for the original Wrecking Ball Metal Madness is filming some for this one as well. We will do the same thing for an hour to an hour and a half, plenty of goofy stuff. We had a lot of fun doing it the first time. One of the most fun things we did together.
Your merch game is one of the best out there. I have two of your shirts as it is. My sickness is my t-shirt collection; my wife is ready to castrate me due to the sheer volume of clothing that I have acquired over the course of the years.
CG: Same. My closet is overflowing. I have literal bins of clothes under my bed because I have no room for any more of it.
I thought Glacial Domination sounded like the next step for the band as whole, and the latter half felt like a “cold” suite.
CG: We had the plan to have a mix of songs on the record, like, “We’re Frozen Soul, and this is who we are, and these are some songs where we explore new things.” It ended up being that the first half of the album and especially the opener of “Invisible Tormentor,” which is a very Frozen Soul song, and then “Arsenal of War,” shows a little of the new sounds, and “Death and Glory” is an old Frozen Soul track. “Morbid Effigy” is a little bit of both, and then the title track is the first leap we took while recording this, a little bit more melodic. We tried to vary it, but the older stuff was early, and the newer stuff was later; on further listens, you can hear more of the mix within the individual tracks.
Even the transitions between tracks help to allow for the slow build of the music and the overall intentionality.
CG: In general, we like setting the atmosphere. I’m really looking forward to hearing what people who buy the vinyl in particular have to say about the record front to back. Michael and I have listened to the album as a single file from when it was mastered. I know the two of us have listened to this religiously. We want to know how it sounds as a whole. We crafted it that way.
Generally, I avoid singles before release so as to not sully the overall sound for me.
CG: I’ve heard from people a lot that they don’t want to listen to the single because they want to hear everything as it was intended to be. Social media and having the content is something that needs to be there.
In terms of the album, can you shed some light on the leaps you took on the latter half of the record as a whole?
<Michael Munday: The two tracks that follow the title track, “Frozen Soul” and “Assimilator,” come together as one cohesive piece, even though they are listed as two separate tracks. We took it and ran with it as far as we could, one of our favorites to record.
What makes that suite of sorts stand out among anything you have recorded before?
MM: Just how meticulously crafted it is. What we did with the guitars and vocals—At times we buried the vocals and allowed for the guitars to come through and the focus on instrumentation, especially with the solos which we didn’t have before.
CG: On those two “one track” songs, it was the first thing we had done as a concept of something else, in this case John Carpenter’s The Thing. We have some things that have to do with the film that spin a different kind of perspective such as revenge, depression, anger, paranoia, all themes from the movie and the book. It was a leap forward for us that morphed and became a landmark point while recording. Even the samples were done by Gost. It was a place for us to experiment with all of our instruments and allow us to explore some themes, give the fans something more than the plays on the word “cold.” We really wanted to deliver Frozen Soul as a band.
Speaking of revenge, are we talking about “Best Served Cold”?
CG: “Best Served Cold” is definitely that song where you are going to get yours when the opportunity presents itself, taking care of business, but not in a reactionary way. Musically, this has been one of my favorite songs that we have written, one of the first we wrote post-Crypt of Ice. Our drive to do something new with the band.
MM: Yeah, this was the first fully complete song we had for Glacial Domination.
CG: This song was very much like one of the first songs we wrote together, which was “Hand of Vengeance”; I think we did better this time around. Lyrically, things repeat, but they change; a bunch of thought put in here shows Frozen Soul for what we were and that we have a love to write songs that we love and fans will want to hear again and again.
Was there any intentionality with the last two tracks, “Abominable” and “Atomic Winter,” as the final two? What was behind the order of the tracks?
MM: One thing about “Abominable” is that it was a song that we co-wrote with Matt Heafy from Trivium. He brought the main riff to us, and then we put our spin on it. He helped us come up with a fast riff which took us outside of our comfort zone. We don’t write riffs like that normally. It was a Wacken, stadium-esque type of track with people chanting along with us.
CG: It’s definitely the song that was a challenge for us to write; we’re not used to writing songs like that. We really owned that song at the end of the day, even though we were originally worried about it. The best thing that Matt brought to the table was truly showing us our potential as musicians and as people. We can take risks and experiment and put other things in our music, and it doesn’t have to be one thing over and over again, just because it’s what we are comfortable doing. A lot of people who I have spoken to have praised this as one of their favorite tracks on the album, which makes me happy even though I am a little surprised. Frozen Soul is our life; we have suffered to try and do things, so when we take risks, we worry a little bit. I think it turned out great. “Atomic Winter” then starts, and it is a fun song, and it features riffs that Michael and I have had for years.
MM: The first riff we wrote before we started to record but the rest of it is from the Crypt of Ice sessions that we didn’t know what to do with. We needed another slobberknocker of a track that was just fun based on the layout of the rest of the album. I said as a joke while recording that this sounds like King Kong vs. Godzilla. So now, that’s what this song is about.
CG: This was born out of pure fun, just the two of us writing. It was ass whooper into the next. No structure; it’s death metal; just do what you want. Everything came together, so we found a home for it. This song is Crypt of Ice, but it was done more innovatively. It turned out awesome. Sure, we wrote it as a battle of the titans, but this is from the perspective of someone who is witnessing the carnage. Everything is burning and destroyed, but welcoming this god of destruction.
I know you guys are playing Decibel Metal and Beer Fest on Friday; how are you feeling about that?
CG: I know we are having a listening party after the show at Brooklyn Bowl next door, an official event for our beer, "Berried in Ice", a collab with 3 Floyds, before we head out to Pittsburgh the next day.
Any closing thoughts?
CG: One thing that I want to touch on is the song “Annihilation,” which is a full-on synthwave track. It’s not death metal, but it does have that creepy, ‘80’s horror vibe to it. It’s because we were working with some samples, and they ended up not working, and we were at our producer’s house and played around on the keyboard, and this song was born. We added it to the album and kept it a separate track from Glacial Domination. We were really in tune doing that, and it turned out really special, just another sign of us stepping it up for this record. Really stoked to see what people have to say about the record.
Glacial Domination releases May 19th via Century Media.
Also, we've got a magenta/black marble variant of the album for pre-order up on the BV web shop.