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Quick Review: ICE AGE Breaking the Ice

Posted by on November 6, 2017 at 4:53 pm

Ice Age – not to be confused with modern post-punk powerhouses Iceage – were an early female-led (*) quartet from Sweden that made a few waves regionally in the mid-to-late 80's, but ultimately broke up before ever releasing any material commercially. Progressing from power metal initially to straight ahead thrash toward the end, the group recorded four demos across several line up changes prior to their demise.

What does this have to do with 2017? Well, the internet – and its attendant digital tape trading making super obscure demos available to anyone who goes looking for them – have revived interest in this promising group, and through the miracle of online serendipity Ice Age are finally making their uber-overdue debut on wax.

Breaking the Ice is half-and-half newly penned songs and re-recordings of old demo tracks, but in spite of the stylistic change from power metal to thrash back in the day the album is consistently cohesive. This is very much a "Metal Massacre" blend of early thrash, back when bands were implementing the speed and choppy, galloping riffs of Metallica but splitting the difference with power metal in conservative fashion (thrash not having yet become a provable commodity). So no, this ain't Municipal Waste or Power Trip, but yes it is a bit of a period piece.

Singer Sabrina Kihlstrand's vocals are closer to Doro Pesch than Angela Gossett, but she does bring a bit of an edge that's somewhat lacking in the (practically giddy) guitars. Aside from side openers "Fleet Street" and "Breaking the Ice", there's not a lot of standout material, but it's a welcome frolic through a long gone era that not even "re-thrash" successfully emulates to this degree.

Score: 7/10

(*) Yes, I realize that many contemporary women bristle at the idea of pointing out that a metal band contains one or more females, but in 1985 it wasn't so much about "othering" as it was identifying an at-the-time novel development in a sausage fest industry. No disrespect intended.

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