The opening track ‘Legion of Hellfrost and Fire’ wastes no time on unnecessary bullshit. With the direct barrage of the guitars and dynamic drums played in mid-tempo, the band combines the roots of U.K. Death metal. There are a lot of hints to early Benediction, especially in the grooves that bring some memories from the classic album ‘Grind Bastards’. The powerful drum explosions are handled by Travis Ruvo furiously hammering out the drum kit. ‘Black Secrets in the Splintering Walls’ is heavily laden with brutal riffs and double bass drums. The song is empowered by the flexibility of the tempo changes. Despite maneuvering at the same pace, the chunky guitars make it so enjoyable. Although the approach isn’t new here, Hellfrost And Fire managed to offer some fresh death metal tunes from the heyday. There’s also a guest appearance by Scott Fairfax of Memoriam who delivers acerbic solo segments in all the tracks. Through the crushing impact of the growling Dave Ingram really puts his stamp on the songs.
His old school trademarks are evident on tracks like ‘Across The Bridge of Tyrants’ and ‘Meridian’s Acquisition’. These songs are thoroughly packed with roaring growls and structural riffs. While the other track is highlighted by thundering solos and atomic drum beats, the excellent use of the double bass creates proper filling to the song. The scorching guitar solos cut like a sharp blade. In my point of view, the album has one negative remark that the guitar arrangements don’t offer many variations: even though ‘The Lost King and The Heir Apparent’ begins with the slow, hooky intro of the rhythm guitar, it soon becomes overburdened by the crushing drums. The vocals on this track are fair. However, the song lacks in dynamic effect. Guitarist/bassist Rick DeMusis exert clear intensity switching from rapid crunchy riffs to groove, but somehow they’re less effective.
‘A Crown Of Conquest’ is a powerful track that has its moments. The opening riffs of this song are quite assertive. The album emphasizes the performance of the vocals and the drums make the guitar department underweight. ‘Debris Wrought from Winter’ is overwhelmingly crushing. The drums offer stomping heaviness and the guitars are relentlessly brutal. This is one of the songs that include a strong, pungent guitar solo. The bass guitar produces dense cacophony and the solos give it a fantastic scope. ‘Fire, Frost And Hell’ is a result of organic musicianship with pounding drums that are headed up by the vocal performance of Dave Ingram. The final three tracks like ‘Sonance of The Swords’ pertain to the same formula offering a corrosive old school death metal riffing that provide excellent vibes of 90’s death metal. Overall Dave Ingram’s performance on this side project is close to Benediction’s latest album ‘Scriptures’. His charismatic vocals shine throughout the album.
The highlight of the debut is that the crunchy riffs dominate most of the songs. ‘Throne of Infinite Illusion’ opens brutally. The chugging riffs form a powerful wall of sound with the drums and the rhythm section pulling out some feral death metal reverbs.
Hellfrost And Fire offers harsh old-school brutality, although there are elements from bands like Obituary and Celtic Frost that make the songs organic and energetic in approach and tempo. The closing track ‘Within and Without the Emperor’s Frontier’ is wicked and ruthlessly savage, full of powerful riffs.
- Music / Songwriting 8/10
- Vocals / Lyrics 8/10
- Mix / Production 8/10
- Artwork & Packaging 8/10
- Originality 9/10
‘Fire, Frost and Hell’ holds the classic authenticity of the 90s death metal, where the trio has successfully managed to convey a slab of brutality with organic riffing!