Label: Transcending Obscurity
Date: March 18th, 2022
A new project by a death metal superstar? Who is it? Rogga Johansson? No? But how can it be that there’s a side project without his fingers within?
Dave Ingram is a less busy musician, though he is no stranger to helping out his fellows with various projects. On the other hand, the man made sure not to waste any time during this “no touring” pandemic. Thus, Hellfrost And Fire. A three-man pact with Satan, sealed in the oldest of death metal bloody rituals.
The promotional sheet mentions that Hellfrost And Fire was initiated out of necessity to build upon the undying legacy of the Swiss masters, Hellhammer and Celtic Frost. The fact alone is enough to raise a number of eyebrows. No less than Mr. Ingram’s involvement in it. And there are two reasons for that. First of all, because the two legendary bands seem to be experiencing a growing interest in their old glory these days. The second reason calls for caution, since there were many, and quite uninspired, copycats over the course of years.
And then there’s this border-free trinity. While it is not up for discussion that they went for that primeval extreme metal feel, the direction Hellfrost And Fire eventually went in definitely needs further explanation. After all, these are experienced musicians with reputations to uphold and as far away as possible from nitro-fueled teenagers in need to emanate their heroes just for the sake of being the truest of the true.
Hence, talking about Hellfrost And Fire must include at least two aspects. The origins which, as mentioned, lay with the Swiss old-timers and the spawn of these roots which is death metal in its most obvious form.
In short, we’re dealing with old school death metal. The sound of this trio dwells on the thin line between the originators of extreme metal altogether and their offspring in the first generation of best known death metal bands. Most obviously, the UK legends, such as Bolt Thrower or Benediction. Yes, this is the easiest way out for me, considering who’s in the line-up but who cares!? There are touches of US scene as well. Earliest Morbid Angel, for instance.
If I need to dissect it further, I would say Hellfrost And Fire took the cryptic depths from Celtic Frost / Hellhammer tradition, cruelty and ferocity from the UK and power from the old Tampa, Florida.
With all of the above, I need to mention “Fire, Frost and Hell” is no classic for the ages. It is an interesting album, no doubt. Most of all, it is an intriguing solution to the “problem” of uniting two (or three) worlds mentioned in the previous paragraph. The trio used their experience, mixed it with classical metal upbringing and skills they obviously possess to create a record worth your time and money. Still, I do not see anybody spinning it on a more regular basis in the future. After all, we are living in an era where an album must have a special “zinger” to keep the audience glued to it.
This record in particular is very good, but it’s still easy to go on after couple of auditions. Especially if you did not grow up with the “old ones”. So, a killer it is not. But it surely is a nice gift for the old school ones, with pain filled necks to shake them about a bit. Above all, it is an honest record. Most definitely not just another pastime for a bunch of aging musicians. In that regard, Hellfrost And Fire are very successful and one can only congratulate them on a fine debut album. Hope for more of these in their busy futures.