LIVE REVIEW: Frozen Soul, Celestial Sanctuary, Wallowing, Boston Music Rooms, London, 06/08/2023
Photo Credit: David Gonzales
Death metal music is experiencing an ongoing renaissance as present. The new wave of bands has re-lit the fire and the scene in general is in the best place it has been for some considerable time. One of the bands leading the charge in the revival of the beloved genre is Frozen Soul. The Texas natives released their sophomore album Glacial Domination this year to rave reviews from critics, fans, and their counterparts alike. Tonight, the band take to the stage at the Boston Music Rooms in North London and look to bring a new ice age to the nation’s capital.
Wallowing take to the stage bathed in green light, dressed head to toe in black, including large flat brimmed hats with veils covering their faces. Smoke bellows from the machine at the front of the stage (to the point of setting off the smoke alarms multiple times), drowning the members and adding to the mystique. From the very first notes of the set, it is clear that the audience is witnessing something unique. The dual vocalist attack, coupled with the chaotic instrumental whips the crowd into an early frenzy, before the more drone/doom metal aspects of the band set bring the right back down to earth and leaves them staring in stunned silence. Despite feeling like an odd choice for an out and out death metal line up the band put on a tremendous show and will have undoubtedly won over some new fans this evening. 7/10
If you have been to a death metal show in London over the past two years, then you will undoubtedly have seen Celestial Sanctuary. These underground heroes have been the flagbearers of the new wave of British death metal and have it be considered at this point to be one of the hardest working acts in rotation at this point. Having supported the likes of Cattle Decapitation, Undeath and Gatecreeper in recent times just to name a few. Tonight, they have the baying crowd in the palm of their hands as they lay down countless riffs and headbanging moments with the same high calibre of banter and charisma as always. The new songs from their forthcoming Insatiable Thirst For Torment album sit well in and amongst the now beloved staples of the band’s set and bodes well for the release when it drops later this month. The Cambridge locals are very clearly on the ascendancy, and it won’t be long before they are selling out venues of this size all on their own. 8/10
Everything tonight is being run on a pretty tight schedule with an impossibly early curfew of 10pm and things don’t get off to a fantastic start when technical issues delay the start of Frozen Soul’s set. However, immediately the Texans show the enthralled crowd that the wait was more than worth it as they deliver a crushingly heavy rendition of Encased In Ice, complete with a snow cannon, circle pits and stage divers aplenty. The whole occasion is drenched in a party atmosphere and the band look like they are having the time of their life on stage with smiles etched across all of their faces. The new track Invisible Tormenter goes down a storm and provides one of the biggest and most emphatic circle pits of the night.
Despite the various technical issues and delays at the start of the set the band power through with tremendous professionalism and the members look like they are having the times of their lives on stage as they lay down a ferocious rendition of Beat To Dust. The breakdown section looked as though it could reduce the venue to rubble at any moment and the sheer number of bodies flying around the room is almost laughable. There is no sign of the band letting up with the inclusion of Arsenal Of War; a track that was chosen as one of the lead singles for the group’s sophomore effort and rightly so with it proving to be one of the real highlights of tonight’s set with even more crowd participation and even a number of hardcore dancers called to order in the pit.
By the time Death And Glory rears its head the temperature in the room has reached almost unbearable levels. There is steam raising from the adoring crowd and band alike, with the ceiling dripping with condensation. None of this however, seems to slow the band down at all and they deliver Glacial Domination with as much swagger, as they do snarl and venom.
Towards the end of the set things derail slightly once again with guitarist Michael Munday exiting the stage after feeling unwell (he would later unnecessarily apologise for this after the show). With time seemingly running out with the delayed start to the set and strict 10pm curfew the band members have a quick word with each other, before announcing that Crypt Of Ice will be their final song of the evening.
This was a show that deserves the upmost amount of praise. Not only for the superb performance of the songs and the energy displayed onstage from the band, but also their steely determination to soldier on through the performance despite the unfortunate events that surrounded proceedings. Despite the wheels attempting to fall off on multiple occasions Frozen Soul not only held things together, but delivered a memorable performance that will rank among one of the best of the year to date. 9/10
Written By: Richard Webb