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Wednesday 6 January 2021

Reviews: Frozen Soul, Helestios, Kavyk, Blessed By Perversion (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

Frozen Soul: Crypt Of Ice (Century Media Records) [2021]

Conceived in 2018 Frozen Soul go against the heat and sweat of their Texan membership with a much more glacial affair, their influences are drawn from old school death metal veterans such as Bolt Thrower and Obituary but also the numerous metal, punk and hardcore bands from the Texan scene most recently the crossover power of Power Trip (R.I.P Riley). It's here that the membership of the band come from doing time in these other bands before a few chance meeting led to the formation of Frozen Soul the focus shifting to make bleak, glacial, dense death metal. Chad Green (vocals) and Michael Munday (guitars) brought together the rest of the band, Samantha Mobley (bass), Matt Dennard (drums) and Chris Bonner (guitar) and recorded their debut full length in March of 2020, just as the pandemic hit. 

However much like most death metal bands the music is much more malignant and evil than any virus so when you get hit by the grinding riffs you can feel them course all around your body. Re-recording the three tracks from their acclaimed demo many will have already heard tracks such as the doom laden Encased In Ice, the thrashy Hand Of Vengeance and the raging Merciless but they have been given a much stronger audio quality but you also get the destructive assault of Wraith Of DeathBeat To Dust which has a hardcore beat to it and the death march of Twist The Knife all of which flesh out this vicious death metal record, for a debut full length Crypt Of Ice really nails those influences mentioned earlier in the review. Frozen Soul could be the next big thing in death metal, watch this space. 8/10    

Helestios: Your Pain Tastes Good (Self Released) [2020]

Forming in the middle of the pandemic may not be the best idea, but somehow Helestios have managed to write, record and deliver a debut album within one year. This band are based in Basingstoke but the members hail from Latvia, Greece and The Netherlands originally coming together in the UK for their first collab together. What they have managed to craft in this topsy-turvy world is a very slick modern heavy metal record that manages to use classic/thrash influences along with heavier trends born out of bands such as Machine Head where the melody is met with the heaviness of groove metal. Clocking in at over 30 minutes, Your Pain Tastes Good, which sounds like a sleaze album and is wrapped in a very power metal album cover is a much heavier, meatier record. 

Opening with some a bit of throat singing on Sacrifice before Stelios Aggelis' guitar gets us started with some nifty lead runs before the rest of the band come in with crunchy riffs, Agnis Aldiņš (bass) and Ian den Boer (drums) are the pumping bottom end linking in with Aggelis and Henrijs Leja's guitars for tracks like Black Storm which are reminiscent of Lamb Of God mainly due to Leja's gruff vocal shouts. Elsewhere on the record there are proggy elements as the riffs chop and change on Return To Baalbek while we get some dark power metal sounds on the title track, while All Attack is an outright thrash attack. A commendable mixture of sounds on this debut album from a band who are clearly more experienced than the short existence of this band alludes to. Your Pain Tastes Good is a sterling debut effort so expect Helestios to be a name you will hear on the UK scene as 2021 progresses. 7/10

Kavyk: Radiant Abyss (Caustic Hollow) [2020]

Crawling out of the swamps of Louisiana are four piece Kavyk who play a blackened style of sludgy death doom that is characterized by thundering blastbeats, out-and-out aggression in the raw vocals and furious black metal riffs. Radiant Abyss features a bubbling melting pot of styles that all veer on the extreme side of things. Cathartic Voices is a great example of this sound with blistering riffage of Troy Bennett and Max Kimmons from the outset getting the head moving as it shifts into more atmospheric realms towards the final part of the song. The rhythm section of Brian Eiermann (bass) and AJ Martinez (drums) manage to tread a fine line between destructive speed and enveloping doom (Civilized). With similarities to High On Fire and Thou, it's no wonder that James Whitten who recorded and mixed this record has worked with both bands and has given the extremity a clean-yet-dirty style that brings both torrid aggression but also crushing desperation. Radiant Abyss is a record that has been honed on the road and finally delivered in the mist of a pandemic so it's gloomy atmosphere hits you right in the feels. 6/10

Blessed By Perversion: Remnants Of Existence (Iron, Blood and Death Corporation) [2020]

Something a little more feisty now from Athens Greece as 10 year veterans Blessed By Perversion return with their second full length a record that has been around five years in the making, their previous full length Between Roots And Darkness came about in 2016. Blessed By Perversions sound is categorised by Anti-Christian/Religious lyricism and technical death metal that originated in the 90's with tracks like Among The Tombs Of The Absent Gods full of ever shifting riffs, Manolis Kouelo (rhythm guitars), Vaggelis Nanos (bass) and Vasilis Nanos (drums) unleashing the style of American death metal pioneered by bands like Death and Deicide. It's the ever-shifting death metal riffs that really highlight the talent of this band with Kostas Foutris adding some slick lead guitar playing over the top of it as Andrew Moschopoulos growls from the depths of hell. At just over 20 minutes it's a rip snorter of a record that delivers a short shock of death metal power. 7/10

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