For those of you choice readers who have been around since our very first installment with Undeath guitarist Kyle Beam, you may remember that Chad Green—vocalist for fast-rising death metal monsters and most recent Decibel cover stars Frozen Soul—was directly referenced as a dedicated gamer, even while on the road. It was when Kill Screen reached out to the frostbitten frontman that we discovered that the love of digital entertainment not only extends to most of the rest of the Texas crew, but is crucial to their discovery of heavy music. What came of our exchange led to a veritable LAN party of an interview as bassist Samantha Mobley and guitarist Michael Munday decided to drop in to be a part of the action. It became quickly apparent that gaming is more than a passive hobby for the trio as all three have factored gaming into their routine—both on and off the road—and were kind enough to share a nearly two hour conversation about the past, present and future of this hobby we all love. Overused puns aside, Kill Screen is proud to warmly welcome Frozen Soul this week.
As if our in-depth interview wasn’t already proof positive of the Texans’ digital devotion, Frozen Soul and Kill Screen are teaming up to give away an exclusive Nintendo Switch featuring a custom Glacial Domination wrap! Courtesy of the fine folks at Century Media, this one-of-a-kind offer only requires you to sign up to be in the running. Looking to increase your chances? Simple things like adding their as-yet unreleased album on Spotify and Apple Music, sharing the post on Facebook or giving them a follow on Twitter will all increase your chances at winning this grand prize. You were already planning on doing those things anyways, right? Entry into this contest closes on Friday, May 19 at midnight (the same time that Glacial Domination will be unleashed upon the world), so act fast if you want a chance to win—after you read this killer interview.
What was everybody’s first gaming experience?
Green: Man, first gaming experience? I don’t even really know if I remember my very first one. I know one of the first games that I ever loved was Super Mario RPG. That game and Zelda and stuff like that were games I loved and got sucked into. I think those are my first real memories of giving a shit about games. I know I played NES, but I remember specifically Super Nintendo, Holy shit, this is crazy.
Munday: The earliest I can remember is going over to my grandparents’ house and playing Halo on my uncle’s Xbox. Growing up, I also had an N64. I played Mario Kart 64, Super Mario 64, Ocarina of Time. Those are the ones that I have the most memories of that I can be like, Oh yeah, this is when I started playing games and stuff.
Mobley: My first one is Super Nintendo, Super Mario [World]. My dad got it for Christmas and then fucked it off. It became mine. I was 5. That was so sick to me; like, the sickest thing ever. That was my first one.
What are some of your favorite titles or types of games? What have you been playing lately?
Green: Apex Legends. I’m super addicted to the rush that I get from just dropping in with 20 other teams and fighting to the death really fast, dying instantly and then starting the game over. I’m about to start playing Diablo IV. The beta opened up for this weekend. And then Magic: The Gathering, aside from video games. Magic: The Gathering is one of my ultimate loves.
Munday: My favorite game series of all time is Halo, at least the first few ones up until 343 [Industries] became in charge. All those early ones, Halo: [Combat Evolved], 2, 3 and Reach, ODST and even Halo Wars were all just gold, in my opinion. That’s probably my favorite game series, but lately I’ve been playing mostly just Fortnite and the new Call of Duty. They just scratch this itch in my brain. The I wanna grind on something itch, you know? The other day, I started a new game of Fallout: New Vegas. I’m doing an evil character run through, this time around.
Mobley: I mainly play Overwatch. Overwatch is what I play every night when I get home, usually. I have played that since the beta [for Overwatch 1]. That’s my favorite game. I play little games in between that. I was playing Divinity: [Original Sin] II a little bit. I played Ark before and Rust and some of those kind of games. But mainly it’s been Overwatch. That’s my thing.
Chad, you were specifically mentioned in our first-ever column with Kyle from Undeath as being an active gamer on the road. Is this true? What are your go-to games while you’re touring?
Green: Yeah, I have an Asus ROG book that I got not long ago. For the last three or so tours, I’ve been bringing it with me. Mainly Apex, just because I don’t have to commit to it, you know? I can just get on, boom. I have Overwatch on there. I don’t play that too often, but every now and then I’ll just leave it up or give it to Sam and she’ll play Overwatch. I was playing The Witcher 3: [Wild Hunt] on there. I have a bunch of my Steam games on there, but for the most part it’s just Apex on there that I play.
Sam and Michael, do you both game on the road as well?
Munday: I do, yeah, but I bring a Nintendo Switch with me. I don’t play a lot. Just when I can, which is usually just in between van rides and shit. If there’s internet at the venue, I’ll play Fortnite. Same reason Chad said: You don’t have to commit to it or anything. The last U.S. tour we did, I was playing Skyrim. I usually play just RPGs or FPSs, if I can.
Green: Yeah, I have a Switch, too. I think we basically all have Switches now in the band. Switch is super fun and it’s just very convenient. Hunting for games on the road and stuff. It’s a lot of fun.
Since everybody has their Switches, is there any party gaming on the road—like Mario Party or Mario Kart—or is it pretty individual?
Mobley: Pretty individual, for the most part.
Munday: I bring Mario Party with me and if we have the time and all of us are hanging out at the venue, then yeah, we will. But for the most part, it’s all individual.
Green: We actually all haven’t had Switches very long, so we haven’t had a lot of opportunities. I think we’ve only had one U.S. tour so far where we’ve had most everyone in the band with a Switch, so we haven’t even gotten to that point yet. I’m sure it’s coming because I’ve been buying games and making sure I have multiplayer games and Sam’s got a bunch of multiplayer games. I’m sure it’ll eventually happen, but we haven’t had the chance yet.
Have you been able to bond with any bands that you were on tour with over gaming?
Green: All the guys from Bodysnatcher. Kyle [Medina, vocalist], he’s huge into games and stuff. We talked about it quite a bit.
Munday: Sean [Beasley, bassist] from Dying Fetus.
Green: Oh yeah, that’s a huge one. He has his gaming laptop with him and open more than I did on both the tours we did.
Munday: Well, he also had a broken foot, so he couldn’t really go anywhere.
Green: Yeah, true.
What are some of the difficulties of gaming on tour? Do you find that it’s fairly easy or is it more of a challenge and kind of take it where you can get it?
Mobley: It’s more of a challenge because a lot of venues have really shitty Wi-Fi. You gotta take it where you can get it. Hopefully on this next tour—since we’re playing third—we’ll have a little bit more free time to relax and kind of set up and game a bit. Before, it was kind of go, go, go; you gotta hustle up, load in, load out and that kind of thing. In Europe, it would have been nice to kind of game over there, but the Wi-Fi was really shitty everywhere, for the most part. Hopefully on this Black Dahlia tour, we can all have some gaming time in. It’s pretty difficult to set up and get going on that.
Glacial Domination saw Matt Heafy as producer. If memory serves, he’s a gamer as well. Was there any gaming with him during the production of Glacial Domination, or was it kind of all work, no play?
Green: It was more all work, no play. That sounds really rough. That sounds like there’s no fun. [Laughs]
Munday: We had fun while we were doing it, but we just didn’t have the time to really game or anything.
Green: He’s a busy dude. Me and him talked about gaming and stuff. He got me linked up with some people from Twitch. I’ve just been so busy. And that’s just kind of an excuse because I’ve been not doing it, and I should. He got me linked up with Twitch to get going in that world. That’s as far as it went so far. We haven’t actually gotten into any Warzone or anything like that. I’m sure we will eventually.
Are you looking to start doing some streaming in the future?
Green: Yeah. I’m in the process of upgrading my computer. It’s a little outdated. I built it in 2017 and it was pretty top-of-the-line when I built it. But now it struggles on certain games. With streaming at the same time, you just need a better computer. My better computer is my laptop, unfortunately. I just gotta upgrade and I’m gonna make streaming a normal thing, for sure.
I started getting everything ready. I have my mic, I have my interface and I have the equipment other than the computer. I have Stream Labs set up. But when I go to try to actually stream, it just does not go properly. It’ll be a post-set up sort of thing.
Is it mostly console on the road and then PC at home?
Munday: Chad and Sam are PC at home. I’m more of an Xbox guy. The PC I have, it’s way, way outdated. It’s, like, 2012 specs. [Laughs] It’s got a fuckin’ GTX 970 in it or something like that. It’s old as shit, but I mostly play Xbox at home.
Mobley: Yes. I upgraded my PC last year just for the release of Overwatch 2 and was so disappointed with Overwatch 2 when it came out. I upgraded my computer and I was so stoked for this. We left for tour, actually, so I only got to play Overwatch 2 a little bit here and there. It was still going through a lot of rework stuff in the first couple weeks. And then when I got home to play it from tour, I was like, Oh boy, I’m gonna hunker down and really play this thing. I was so upset. I could not believe how bad that game was. It just got to the point where it was unplayable. I had to go play another game. The balancing was so off, the meta was horrendous. I dunno, man. That’s when I started playing Divinity II, because I was like, Man, fuck Overwatch. I was really seriously upset. Like, putting my Overwatch toys in a box. I was like, Goodbye, Overwatch. [Laughs]
Another complaint: The skins are so lazy. There’s been a handful—like, those little Zeus and Cerberus Pharah skins, those were kinda tight. But for the most part, this cyberpunk bullshit that they’re doing, that shit is so whack. And it’s, like, 20 fucking dollars a skin! I’m not paying for that. It’s ass. It stinks. [Laughs] And even the tier system. Why does this exist? Why is it so much? Charms? What is this charms crap? You remember they took away a bunch of maps and now they’re putting them back in? I guess there’s not enough content.
Who is your main?
Mobley: It depends; I flex. I will play Ana or Zen as a healer. I main Pharah right now. I like playing Zarya and D.Va and Ashe is really strong right now. I play Ashe or Mei or Pharah, but mostly Pharah. I like Pharah a lot.
Were you there for the shutdown of Overwatch 1?
Mobley: I was. I think I recorded my last game on Overwatch 1. I was just like, [salutes]. I don’t know what awaits, but, sayonara.
It was weirdly emotional for me [Michael].
Mobley: Oh, for sure. I was kind of getting choked up about it. I was like, I don’t know what lies ahead, but I’m scared. Goodbye, Overwatch 1. Oddly, I’m so tied to Overwatch because it’s just been my comfort game for so many years now. When I get home from work, when I get back from tour, I have my group called “The Clumpers” that I play with. They’re my homies, they’re my dawgs. I dunno, man. It’s getting better on Overwatch, but that shutdown was so emotional for me and then I was just so fucking upset when Overwatch 2 came out. It is getting better—slightly—but it was rough there for a little bit.
I’m down on Blizzard for so many reasons, and this certainly doesn’t help.
Munday: Man, that’s how I feel about fucking Halo Infinite. They dropped the ball super hard on that.
People seemed really upset with Halo Infinite. What was the downside of that for you?
Munday: The old Halo games had a lot of features that were community-based when they were released on launch. One of the big things, for example, was this thing called Forge, where it’s basically a map editor and the players can make their own maps and game modes. They didn’t have that on launch for this. They were like, “Yeah, we’re gonna have it on launch” and blah blah blah, and the custom games were broken. I will say about Halo [Infinite]: The core gameplay—shooting people and killing people—is excellent. It’s the best it’s ever been. But the things to do in the game [are] just really lackluster. There’s barely any maps and there’s only one or two good maps to play on.
The main thing is all these huge community features [are] just missing from the game and they promised they would have them. Like split screen for the couch co-op players; they didn’t have it. I still don’t even think they have it. The way they tried to monetize the game… Their battle pass seasons are 8 or 9 months long. It’s like, people lose their attention spans so fucking quick. You gotta make it 3 months max, like how Fortnite does it. They were monetizing armor colors, which was something that was always there from the beginning. You had to pay to use colors on your armor, which is just absurd.
It seems like companies are only encouraged to do this. The amount made from microtransactions just vastly eclipses the old-school sale of individual games.
Munday: Oh yeah, for sure. There’s definitely a correct way to do it. I think Fortnite’s business model is excellent. I’ve spent more money than I’m proud to admit because there’s really cool shit on there. The other day, I just spent $20 on a Resident Evil 4 pack that has Leon and Claire Redfield. It looks fucking cool. There’s a correct way to do it to where you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. But most of these companies, the bang for your buck isn’t there. That’s something that Call of Duty is really guilty of, too.
Green: I was big into World of Warcraft and EverQuest. Those are all subscription-based games that you have to pay to play every month. For the longest time, that didn’t really exist in console gaming. You just bought the game and you had it, but the game ended at a certain point. They didn’t keep things coming. Every year, you got a new Call of Duty game, which I guess is kind of still a thing. With the microtransactions—I don’t agree with it, necessarily, because it’s a money dump—but it keeps the game still alive. They’d probably just give up and start a new game. It’s weird how it turned into that. I guess I was a little bit more used to it because I literally paid for WoW for, like, 10 years. [Laughs] But I got to play that game for 10 years because of that. If it didn’t, it would have been like all the other games that came out—the massive multiplayer RPGs and stuff—that just died because they were free-to-play. They didn’t last. Maybe it started out as that, and then it just turned into this crazy, “You’re gonna pay $10 to make your armor green.” It’s like, “What? No, I’m not doing that.” Although I have spent way too much money on Apex: Legends. I have 8 heirlooms. They’re weapons that you hold in your hand that you can see that are in any skin that you use. They’re, like, 1 out of every 150 opened packs or something and I have 8 of them because I’m an idiot. [Laughs]
As somebody who is not an Apex player, what’s the hard sell on Apex?
Green: I don’t really think there’s a way to sell it to someone who’s never played. It’s a hard game to play. The reason that I got into it was because it was so much like Overwatch. All the legends have their special ability. They have a tactical ability that’s on a small cooldown, and then they have an ultimate ability. It acts a lot like Overwatch does, honestly. It’s a lot harder because it implements stuff from Halo and from Call of Duty. You aim down sights to improve your accuracy. That’s a little bit harder if you’re coming from Overwatch. You’re not aiming down sights unless you’re Soldier  or Ashe or Widowmaker; everybody else, you can just hip-fire. Having that extra thing that you have to do, it’s just a little hard to get into. Learning the characters’ abilities, it’s hard. But I will say that if you spend a little bit of time, it’s worth it. You are so satisfied when you win. It’s not just doing the same 5v5 or 6v6; every game is insane. If you’ve got 5 squads chasing you and you manage to kill one of them? You feel like a god. It’s the biggest rush.
Munday: Apex is the most skill-intensive one, or the one that requires the most skill to play if you want to be good out of all of the BRs [battle royales]. It’s a really hard game. That game is so hard for me to get into because I suck at BRs. [Laughs]
I [Michael] have played Apex before and the comparison to Overwatch is kind of why I was drawn to it. I wanted to like it. The whole aesthetic and the use of heroes was really appealing, but the battle royale aspect of it was really punishing for me. It’s kind of disheartening to play a game where you’re like, I waited 5 minutes to get into this and I died in 20 seconds. Now I wait another 5 minutes.
Green: Yeah, it’s the hardest part about it and I used to feel the same way. Me and Michael used to play BRs together. Eventually we both quit. I quit for a while just because of that same reason. I spent all this time looting buildings just to die. But I started realizing that the best part of BRs is just dropping hot, fighting, dying and restarting the game. If I can get 5 kills and die? That’s it, you know?
Munday: It’s different when you hot drop because it’s just so action-packed and super quick. It’s more of a buzzkill for me when you land somewhere, you get good loot, you’re not fighting a whole lot and then you get to the late game and you just get fucking annihilated. That’s what really bums me out most of the time.
Green: Everyone I play with, we stopped playing like that. It was just miserable. All the games that I win is because I dropped hot and then our team just crushed everybody. That was a great game, it was fun. 9 times out of 10, I’m just dropping and dying.
Another thing that makes Apex a hard game to get into is that it has the Halo system to it. You can’t just spray somebody down and kill them; they have a shield. Apex is more of a game about running away and finding cover. Very little time do you just walk around the corner and get beamed down by somebody sitting [there]. Somebody attacks you, you generally see them and can [think], OK, how do I fight this fight? Should I fight this fight? Should I run? That’s the kind of stuff that really makes me stick to Apex. There’s been times I’ve killed 2 or 3 squads with just one person on my team. We got attacked and then we backed up and let them come to us until we had the advantage. Another squad would join in and we’d circle around and let them fight each other and then join back in on the other side. Stuff like that is really, really cool and kind of feels like flanking on Overwatch. Using your ultimate ability to keep them away from this area over here so that you can go to the other side. If you’re not used to it, trying to wrap your head around all that stuff feels impossible.
Sam, you shook your head earlier at the mention of CoD and Fortnite.
Munday: What’s the beef? [Laughs]
Mobley: What’s the beef? I just don’t like it! I think Fortnite is kind of whack. No disrespect, Mike. And Call of Duty is just… bleh. To me, those are dude-bro games. The dudes that play football are like, [deepening voice] “Yeah, let’s go play Call of Duty.” They’re not going, “Let’s play Overwatch!”
Munday: You know why I love Fortnite? I love Fortnite because it’s so silly. All these fucking collabs they have, there’s so many video game characters and movie characters you can play as. You can be Master Chief and your teammate’s fucking Xenomorph and your other teammate’s Iron Man, you just go kill Goku. It’s so ridiculous. It’s so silly and dumb fun, I love it.
Green: Michael actually got me into playing Fortnite again. When we were on that tour with Napalm Death. We found a gaming café near our hotel. Me and Michael went and played and I started playing a little bit more after that. I’ll never forget a guy playing Iron Man literally had a hammer. I heard this crash out of nowhere, I was like, What is this? Godzilla or something? What is happening? Some dude just landed on me with this giant purple hammer, smashed the hell out of me and it was Iron Man, or someone that looked just like Iron Man. He just killed my ass and flew off. I was like, What the hell just happened? If you’re playing with friends and stuff like that happens, it’s really fun. I was playing by myself, so I was like, Man, fuck this game. [Laughs] But when me and Michael were playing, we had a ton of fun and that’s the best part about those games; just having shenanigans and doing crazy stuff.
That’s so many of these multiplayer games, though. It’s not 100% about the game anymore, it’s about the social aspect. You talking about MMOs earlier and how that business model begat the battle pass system reminded me about a really interesting video about how battle pass systems are dying as a business model and how they’re trying to figure out what the next “forever” game is going to be. And now with this deluge of remakes, it’s kind of indicative that it’s not really working anymore.
Green: It’s gonna be crazy to see where gaming goes. One of my things is it’s super hard for me to play single-player games. And it’s because of games like WoW. I played it for so long, I felt like I had a life on that game. I worked hard for my gear. It’s crazy how that stuff works. Even games like Overwatch; you’re going on how long since that game has been out and you’ve been able to play it? Just buying a game and beating it, that’s not as much of an appeal to probably a lot of people now. When they get a game, they want to invest their time into getting better at it. The better you get at the game, the more fun you have. The more you win, the more fun you have. You don’t want to play these games that just end and you’re done with them. I’m sure there’s obviously still a ton of people that do.
I wonder if they’re gonna do some of these remakes and turn them into open world things. I don’t know, they may have already. It’s gonna be crazy if they start doing that with all games. That may preserve its lifetime; to make it last longer and give people more of a reason to spend more time with it.
It’s interesting seeing the way that some franchises adapt to the times. You had mentioned EverQuest earlier. Is EverQuest even still around anymore?
Green: Oh, it’s huge! Actually, my brother Josh plays. It’s called Project . It’s an emulator server that emulates old EverQuest. It’s got thousands of players still on it. But EverQuest itself is still a game. My brother that passed away, he never stopped playing EverQuest. He had his character and I have a friend named Joey that still plays EverQuest, too. Well, it’s EverQuest, so he plays it also. And he also plays EverQuest II, the sequel. Both those games are still going, it’s crazy.
I’m still waiting for the day that the original EverQuest team puts out the new RPG that they were working on. [It] was supposed to be like a new version of EverQuest; I forgot the name of it. It was taking things back to where they were. It was supposed to have graphics similar to WoW. Last time I heard, it was still gonna be a thing, but it hasn’t happened yet. But, yeah, that game’s still around. People are still playing it like crazy. Honestly, how many games can say that?
Video games are starting to have a more noticeable influence on the metal community. Games like the Souls series and Elder Scrolls are popping up more as regular lyrical themes for bands. Would you say that there are any games that have influenced Frozen Soul?
Munday: Definitely, 100%. Straight up, man: One of the samples that we use live is the Shadow Temple theme from Ocarina of Time. It’s just chopped and screwed. The song “Gravedigger” that we have, that’s also based on the Shadow Temple from Ocarina of Time, but Chad just did it his way because he’s the vocalist. It’s definitely made its way into it from my perspective. I don’t know about anything else Chad has, other than “Arsenal of War” and EverQuest.
Green: I think—just in general—this band wouldn’t exist without gaming, without movies. That’s all a huge part of it. It’s kind of shaped all of us as people in the band. If we’re not all playing games, we all love movies. It’s a huge thing. All the fantasy stuff, the comedy aspect of death metal, all of that stuff comes from those worlds. I’d say games have more of an impact than movies do, really. I’ve spent an ungodly amount of time playing video games in my entire life. [Laughs] Between table-top gaming and electronic gaming, yeah, it has everything to do with the band. 100%. I literally don’t even think I would have found any of this stuff if it wasn’t for gaming.
Munday: Oh, yeah, straight up. I wouldn’t really be into alternative music if it wasn’t for the [Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater] and Burnout games.
Green: Plus, this stuff just opens up your eyes. Video games, they open your mind a little bit—well, I’d say a lot a bit—to not taking things too seriously and finding the enjoyment and the love in stuff like this. If you can play games and you’re immersing yourself in that fantasy or that action, well, when you hear a death metal song that’s all about killing people or whatever, you’re not gonna be like, “Oh my god, that’s about killing someone.” You’re just like, “This is hilarious.” You’re used to that world already. You’re used to seeing something and knowing, This is make believe, this is just fun.
In conjunction with this interview, Century Media and Frozen Soul are going to be giving away a Nintendo Switch with a wrap featuring the art for Glacial Domination. How did this come about?
Green: We actually got approach by Century Media, by Sonia [Goldberg]—one of our project managers—about doing this. It started out as a Nintendo 64 and went to a Game Boy, and now we’re doing a Switch. It came from them just thinking of cool things to do with the things that we like as people.
What would each of you personally recommend the winner of this Switch be the first game that they play?
Green: Personally, I would go with Mario Kart. That’s what I would say to play right off the bat. If you’ve never played a Switch, I’d say Mario Kart. Not only can you play it, you can play with your friends.
Munday: For me, aside from Dark Souls, Doom, Elder Scrolls, that type of shit, I’d probably say Super Mario Odyssey or Breath of the Wild.
Mobley: I’d say Smash Bros. Smash Bros. should be fun for anybody. Overwatch is a little clunky on Switch, so I can’t really recommend that. [Laughs] It’s a little rough.
Munday: Just a little!
Green: I can’t play first-person shooters on the actual Switch; it feels impossible. But once you get the controller and set it away from you, it’s a whole lot easier to play.
What games are you looking forward to this year?
Green: For me, mainly Diablo IV. It goes kind of back to those “forever” games. I kind of already have the games that I play and I’m not really looking to play another game unless it’s a game that I can get quick on Switch or something. Well, I guess that’s all not true, because Ark 2 is supposed to be coming out this year.
Munday: Oh, god.
Green: My life might just end this year. [Laughs] Ark 2 is supposed to be out before the end of the year. It’s also supposed to be a little bit easier to get on and get off of the game so that I don’t have to play it for 12 hours at a time out of fear that I’m gonna wake up and all my stuff is gone.
Munday: If it doesn’t get delayed—which I’m pretty sure it will—Starfield. Basically just Elder Scrolls in space. I’m really looking forward to seeing a new Bethesda IP. I’m a really big fan of the Fallout series and the Elder Scrolls series.
Mobley: Diablo IV is probably gonna be pretty cool—hopefully. I’m not really hip to everything because I’m so balls-deep in Overwatch. Looks like Dead Island 2 is gonna come out next month. That might be pretty cool. Other than that, hopefully Overwatch becomes more fun.
Green: Looking forward to some Overwatch patches! [Laughs]