Ice Age - Breaking The Ice

(CD, GMR Music Group, 2017)

It is not a big secret that the '80s was the golden era for Metal with many bands popping up all around Europe feeding from the fresh and untapped energy rising from the duel guitar frenzy. It is also known that the market was not at all ready to absorb all this new (and really good music), resulting in many bands getting lost between poor management and poor(er) decision making. Just by reading the first lines of the “Breaking The Ice” press release, one realizes that Sweden’s ICE AGE falls into this category. Yeah, four demos from the mid to the late '80s and lots of gigs were solid signs that the Swedes were onto something good. I guess, you can imagine how things went down considering that this band name comes up in discussion between old-school metalheads who are always digging for '80s obscure gems. However, “Breaking The Ice” comes to break the ice (pun intended) and resurfaces ICE AGE being the band’s debut LP after something more than three decades. It’s never too late, huh?

There are two ways once can approach “Breaking The Ice”; you can either start digging through the internet to see how ICE AGE sounded back then and make comparisons or you can just listen to the LP and see if the music fits your Metal needs. However, both ways can be pretty unfair since: a) there is no way for any band in the world to sound like it did decades ago and b) falling into the 'copying the '80s' or the 'reviving the old-school sound' trap is inevitable. So, the only solution is to load “Breaking The Ice” into the sound system of choice and let it rip at the highest volume because in the end of the day if something makes your clock tick, it’s as good as it can ever be.

If I am not mistaken half of “Breaking The Ice” is re-recorded songs from the band’s four demos and before jumping the "do not touch the originals" wagon think how difficult is to get your hands on them. Also, it is a good representation of how ICE AGE have changed / evolved after all this time. Of course, “Fleet Street” sounds cleaner than the original and Sabrina has more melody in her singing (love the catchy vocal lines during the chorus) but the galloping rhythm and the classic Thrash guitars with the technical twist are more than enough to keep you hooked. And when I say technical, I am talking about CORONER or even early ANNIHILATOR so it is not about over-complicated riffs and multiple layers. In other words, the music is one step more complicated than the old-school Thrash without missing the headbanging worth one would be expecting to hear from an '80s band. “Hell Or Nothing” is a new recording but really, it does not sound like it was written in a different decade from the album opener and this should be credited to how the band approached the song-writing. Sabrina’s vocals are expressive and you can hear this in the way she delivers the irony infused lyrics of “Clever”. I love the groovy break with the awesome hi-hat sound which reminds of SLAYER and their “Seasons In The Abyss” mid-tempo parts. Old-school Thrash (also) means lots of snare drum action so be ready to get into the pit with “Instant Justice” before indulging yourself into some galloping headbanging action with “Total Collapse”.

ICE AGE do not hit the ultra-high tempos of the traditional Thrash and maintain a strong footing on melodic / technical territories making “Breaking The Ice” even more interesting ‘cause I’d hate to have another run-of-the-mill '80s-Thrash record which quickly fades away from memory after some headbanging-worthy spins. I guess, you can credit the technical aspect of the Swedes’ music like “Mental Disorder” or the faster “No Need To Bleed” deliver with the clean guitar breaks, the killer bass sound and the multiple riff layers which deserve more listening time to peel off.

No matter how ICE AGE envision their future and if they will get onboard the touring / recording music cycle, I believe that “Breaking The Ice” gives a well-deserved second fighting chance to the re-recorded songs and then sweetens the deal with some killer technical Thrash tunes. Definitely it is worth to check “Breaking The Ice” especially if you miss this type of Thrash and not just the 'copying the '80s' one.





01. Fleet Street
02. Hell Or Nothing
03. Clever
04. General Alert
05. Instant Justice
06. Breaking The Ice
07. Total Collapse
08. Mental Disorder
09. No Need To Bleed
10. A Case Of Cerebral Death


Sabrina Kihlstrand - Vocals
Linnea Landstedt - Guitar
Viktoria Larsson - Bass
Andre Holmqvist - Drums