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Hellfrost and Fire - Fire, Frost and Hell Award winner

Hellfrost and Fire
Fire, Frost and Hell
by Leanne "Metal Maiden" Evans at 19 February 2022, 4:33 AM

OSDM is the ambrosia of the metal gods – at least in my opinion – and the recent resurgence of reviving old school death flavours has delighted me no end. Dave Ingram is a hallowed name in the death metal genre; a man revered by many a metal worshipper and acknowledged as one of death metal’s most venerated vocalists. His talent in bands such as BENEDICTION, BOLT THROWER and HAIL OF BULLETS – to name just a few – is legendary, and BENEDICTION’s last release, “Scriptures”, showed that Ingram’s vocals are as enduring, youthful, and vigorous as they were nearly thirty years ago.  Never one to rest on his laurels, Dave incepted a new band into the death metal realms in 2021 in the form of HELLFROST AND FIRE, intent on reinvigorating traditional sounding death metal. With its foundations firmly cemented in breathing new life into old territory, HELLFROST AND FIRE is forged from a trifecta of seasoned musicians, with Ingram at the helm, Rick DeMusis (GATH) on guitar and bass and Travis Ruvo (CROPSY MANIAC) fuelling the engine on drums. With already brutish, battalion strength behind the vocal and instrumental talents of the band, HELLFROST AND FIRE pushed their artillery to the limit, employing the extraordinary abilities of none other than Scott Fairfax (MEMORIAM and AS THE WORLD DIES) to add weighty solos to an already uncompromising formula.

HELLFROST AND FIRE have created a memorable debut in their full-length, “Fire, Frost and Hell”, an album that nurtures traditional old school death metal concepts, combining choppy, battle-ready tempos, underpinned by mid-paced grooves and stomps, fortified by well-thought looming guitar passages and cleverly injected solos, that strike colossally, catastrophic atmospheric moments. The record sways from subtle BENEDICTION and BOLT THROWER injections, through to output in the vein of CELTIC FROST. Opener “Legion of Hellfrost and Fire” offers an aptly unnerving and sneering intro with unsettling down tuning, low crushing riffs and purposeful pummelling from drums of hellish measure in a call to arms of battalion strength that rages through. It’s the well-thought crafting of battle-like ambiance that make this album so gratifying, the dark, heavy riffing in “Black Secrets of the Splintering Walls” penetrating and the crunching bassline amassing a marching effect. “Across the Bridge of Tyrants” powers with gnarly timbres, temporal switches and instrumental layering, an army clearly advancing.

“Fire, Frost and Hell” is dripping in death, so much so, you can taste it. It’s bleak, hefty and drenched in satisfying heaviness. The vocals carry the tracks with conviction, with Ingram thrusting every ounce of talent from his prodigious career into the full-length, as blood thirsty as ever. His coarse vocal passages emit sonic violence from every which way, “Meridian’s Acquisition” especially encompassing a raging furnace of hulking vocals that bellow and bombard you with grit and intent. The crawling intro of “A Crown of Conquest” reflects a dogged determination in the thematic, ultimately bursting into a track of thumping measure, with something equally as pounding and visceral pulling forward in “Debris Wrought from Winter”, offering a punishing smog of sound. As you dig deeper into “Fire, Frost and Hell”, the BOLT THROWER flavour really starts to creep (there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that in my book!), an undulating groove backbones “Sonance of the Swords” and a thrash-like gallop offers the foundation for “Within and Without the Emperor’s Frontier”. Personally, I love the element of nostalgia that the record delivers and I’m certain fans of the ‘good old days’ will do, too.

As a long-time admirer of Dave Ingram’s work, and given his vast catalogue of achievements, there was never going to be any middle ground with my opinion; I’d either come away wholly satisfied and hugely fulfilled, or massively underwhelmed and greatly disappointed. After listening to “Fire, Frost and Hell”, I’m over the moon with the end result and especially impressed with Dave’s ability to carry the record with his uncompromising, anvil-heavy vocals. The album brings all the guts and glory of traditional OSDM in an uncomplex and sincere way, integrating all the blasting intensities of the genre, incorporating lashings of brutish intent with swarming soundscapes, whilst creating dizzying auras amongst a combination of pacing and incendiary moments. To put it simply, this is traditional, no-nonsense death metal: no bells, no whistles, no bullshit…Oh, and with one of metal’s finest on the vocal throne for you to savour.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Legion of Hellfrost and Fire
2. Black Secrets in the Splintering Walls
3. Across the Bridge of Tyrants
4. Meridian’s Acquisition
5. The Lost King and the Heir Apparent
6. A Crown of Conquest
7. Debris Wrought from Winter
8. Sonance of the Swords
9. Throne of Infinite Illusion
10. Within and Without the Emperor’s Frontier
Lineup:
Dave Ingram – Vocals
Rick DeMusis – Guitar/Bass
Travis Ruvo - Drums
Scott Fairfax – Guest Solos
Record Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
     


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