Swedes Ice Age caused a brief ripple in the mid-to-late eighties, their all-girl lineup being a definite talking point in the male-dominated world of thrash metal. Magazines like Kerrang! lapped them up, yet, for all their undoubted appeal both visually and musically, the band never snared a record deal despite securing some plum support slots in their all-too brief career, which foundered eventually on the time-honoured rock of terrible management.
They did record a quartet of demos, however, and six of the tracks they recorded back in the day on those tapes now form the backbone of the band’s first ever album release, a quarter of a century after the fact. Led, as they were then, by vocalist/guitarist Sabrina Kihlstrand, Ice Age have put together a pleasing album of slightly dated, highly melodic thrash that, if it comes across as just a bit meek for young fans of what passes as thrash in 2017, is sure to appeal to longer-in-the-tooth thrashers who remember the band from their first go round all those years ago.
Kihlstrand puts in a strong performance, singing with a gritty conviction over a backdrop of what can only be described as Megadethian thrash; Opening track Fleet Street kicks things off nicely, despite turning twenty eight this year, but the real meat of the album lies in tracks like the excellent General Alert and the fast-paced Instant Justice. Fellow long-term member Viktoria Larsson plugs away on bass in a mix that doesn’t highlight her energetic playing nearly well enough, whilst lead guitarist Linnea Landstedt proves equally efficient whether soloing or riffing. Andre Holmqvist (a man!) provides solid yet flexible percussive backup.
The title track is a quite superb slice of melodic thrash, redolent of early-period Metal Church as well as carrying those ever-present Mustaine references, whilst the jagged Total Collapse features a nice chorus and some fine lead work from Landstedt.
Ice Age have successfully integrated their old ‘classics’ seamlessly with their newer material, which is no mean feat in itself. Whether that will appeal to new thrash fans bred on dystopia and brutality remains to be seen, but old fans are going to lap absolutely love what’s on offer here. Great stuff.
Ice Age will release Breaking the Ice through GMR Music on October 22nd.