ICE AGE – ‘Breaking the Ice’ Album Review

ICE AGE – “Breaking The Ice”
By: Tom Hanno

Ice Age is a thrash metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden, and they have an album out called Breaking the Ice. They actually formed back in 1985, but never released an album until this release. Even more surprising, is that they were very successful with only 3 demos; demos which sold thousands of units. In 1990 the band split up, due, in part, to unrepairable problems caused by poor management.

Breaking the Ice consists of 10 tracks, five of which are newly re-recorded versions of songs from their early demos, and 5 are brand new. The cool thing is that you cannot tell the difference between old and new, they flow effortlessly in a very cohesive manner. There is an enormous Megadeth tone on this record, and the odd thing is that it seems to be the latter era of that band, not the classic era as one might think.

That ‘Deth sound is most heard in “Hell or Nothing”, which is about their original manager. Vocalist Sabrina Kihlstrand says this about the track/manager, “An evil manipulative person who managed to ruin the band in such a short period of time”, and you can hear her anger and frustration in the execution of the vocals. Musically, the hammer-on, pull-off style of guitar in the verse is really cool. It takes what is a basic riff, adding an element of expertise to it, and when it moves up the fretboard, leading into the chorus, you can hear that classic thrash sound a la Dave Mustaine and Co.

“Clever” is another standout among the ten songs, and, again, is very Megadeth in sound. From their bio, “The material on Breaking the Ice is particularly personal to Kuhlstrand, with “Clever” being a prime example. “I’ve felt very hurt and let down by a good friend of mine. It was nothing that happened overnight but it built up gradually to a point where I finally had enough of this person’s behavior towards me. This song is about the betrayal of a friend and this person in particular,” the frontwoman says.” The vocals are powerful, and you can hear the angst in them. I love the fact that they have a Megadeth/thrash sound, especially considering that these 2 bands started around the same time, but half a world away from each other.

The title track is another example of powerful riffing, a thunderous rhythm section, and impassioned vocal work all coming together to create great thrash metal. The chorus is fast, with double bass drumming, and some great guitar playing. I know I have compared them to Megadeth quite a bit, but that sound is so prominent on this album, right down to the way the vocals are executed. Being an immense Megadeth fan, that aspect of Ice Age’s music is what made me love this album as much as I do. The guitar solo is brilliant, speed and skill intertwined, and is over almost as quickly as it started, but it is an exceptional solo.

“Total Collapse” reminds me of a mix of Anthrax and Megadeth, with the Ice Age sound applied to it. I’m thinking Persistence of Time era Anthrax, with its speed and chunky rhythm parts. The vocals are executed with the same skill as the rest of the album, and the bass guitar really sticks out to me on this one; with its great tone and power.

Breaking the Ice by Ice Age is an excellent Swedish thrash metal offering, one that has been decades overdue. I am glad to see these legendary women return to the musical stage, and am pleased to hear that they have not lost any of the power that they originally had. I suggest that you go give them a listen, purchase a physical copy, and bang your heads in pure pleasure!!!! Enjoy!!!!

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