HELLFROST AND FIRE “Fire, Frost and Hell”

By Dr. Abner Mality

CHUG CHUG CHUG A LUG! If you can’t get enough chug in your metal HELLFROST AND FIRE have arrived. The latest project featuring busy growler Dave Ingram, you can instantly tell this is bowing at the altar of CELTIC FROST and HELLHAMMER...the sigil on the cover gives it away. So Dave gets to do plenty of “OOGH!” and “HEYYY” while the riffing chugs away at a steady lope on every track.

I’m glad I gave this more than one listen because I was rather disappointed the first time around. Sure, the band sounds like a perfect cross between mid-paced FROST/HAMMER and the typical approach of Dave’s main band, BENEDICTION. Sounds good, but the songwriting is rather unadventurous and some tracks plod rather than chug. CELTIC FROST themselves realized their music needed an extra layer of frills and weirdness to really stand out. Here, you don’t get much in the way of either...it’s extremely straightforward and rather one-paced. However, on the second listen, the riffs sunk in more and I appreciated the perfect production. The thing that really carries all of Ingram’s projects is the man’s voice itself. I love that warm, bear-like growl...one of the supreme death metal voices.

Top tracks for me would be the opening stomp of “Legion of Hellfrost and Fire” which sets the tone just right, the short but slashing “Meridian’s Acquisition” and the final grooving chugfest of “Within and Without The Emperor’s Frontier”, which really does have the kind of cool swing that FROST used to have (as well as a very CELTIC song title). In the end, I still think DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN is the best of Ingram’s side bands by far, but HELLFROST AND FIRE has its charms.