Album Review: Hellfrost And Fire - Fire, Frost And Hell
Reviewed by Ewan Gibb
It took a shameful amount of time for the penny to drop. "Hhhmm, Dave Ingram sounds a lot like Tom G Warrior there. Oh, there's a classic Warrior 'Heeeeeyyy!'. That's a bit of a Celtic Frost riff, no, correction, it's more like Hellhammer... Hang on. Hellhammer? Celtic Frost? Hellfrost! Aha!". Now I get it! Or, at least a large part of it.
Though it doesn't tell the whole story. Nope. This isn't a Warhammer style tribute show, it's respectful worship. The production is relatively modern, if no frills, but heavy. Really heavy. Clear. Sufficiently crisp, and heavy. Did I mention that? Heavy.
The musicianship is in service to the material, and there's no doubt Dave Ingram is the standout performer, still delivering the goods as he did on Benediction and Bolt Thrower albums in the past. There's some suitable Tom G Warrior-isms, and much of the phrasing even recalls original Arch Enemy vocalist Johan Liiva. It fits the music perfectly.
And what of the music? I think Hellhammer are a more accurate comparison than Celtic Frost, in terms of the riffs, and any comparison with Bolt Thrower is understandable, if not painting a wholly accurate picture. A reference of more conservative and old school death metal like Asphyx would also put you in the right postcode. With the heaviness of the production, and the influence of Mr T G Fischer, once in a while there's even a glimpse of Triptykon. The riffs are chunky, the songs move forward with an enjoyable, head nodding, mid to slow-paced groove. Pummelling double bass drums being deployed judiciously.
Criticisms? There's not a huge deal of variety. Honestly, in some cases the first riff of the next song could easily have been the next riff of the last song. Some extra gears would be nice perhaps, and some extra speed here and there would add welcome spice.
But in providing very heavy, chunky, pounding death metal of a very specific type, I don't doubt Fire, Frost and Hell achieves exactly as its creators intended.