Iciclan – Frozen Dimensions

I find it quite impossible to dislike this album simply because there’s a fucking yeti on the cover. Seriously, how many albums can you name offhand that have the abominable fucking snowman on it? Metal covers need more mythical creatures that aren’t dragons and/or elves. Loch Ness monster. The sasquatch. Platypi. Really, anything would be really cool as an addition, and the fact that this album has a yeti on the cover just makes it way cooler than it already is. And it actually is pretty cool, all things considered: Iciclan adheres rather strictly to convention, but I’ve never seen that as a bad thing anyway.

For a band from such a sunny climate, Iciclan makes some awfully cold music. Yeah, they seem at first glance like the Aussie equivalent of I.C.E., but these guys seem to take themselves more seriously. The basic sound here is probably mid-era Immortal with less groove and happiness, laced with a bit of rockish mid-paced Darkthrone stuff. It’s violently melodic: all the riffs are clearly defined melodies, but they’re played so viciously they seem atonal. I.C.E. is indeed another point of reference, though this is a bit more raw and binary than that band is. In fact, this release seems very binary in general: it’s mostly blasting and tremolo and shrieks, with very little adornment in any sense. Closing track ‘The 16th Cycle’ is literally nothing but blasting and tremolo riffing, and yet it doesn’t seem stupid or boring simply because the riffs are very solid. It’s weirdly inorganic in the guitar department: it almost sounds like they’re synthesized, with the incredibly precise movements between notes. It’s especially interesting when combined with the very warm and human drumming in the Immortal style, with just enough subtle tempo change to be very cool. Vocals are your average black metal rasp spiced up with periodic double tracking via death growl, which is nice during the most aggressive points of ‘Frozen Dimensions’.

The songs on this are actually very short, ranging from two to four minutes, and the entire album ends in under twenty five minutes. I actually like this: adds a bit of ‘Panzer Division Marduk’ feel to the proceedings, where the songs only last long enough to get all of these particular chainsaw riffs out before moving onto the next theme. Call it ‘Raping The Ancient’ for koalas. And honestly, with music this simple and straightforward, why would you need a longer running time? Iciclan realizes that there’s no reason to waffle around with keyboard intros and ambient interludes when the people have come for ripping black metal. So that’s what they do: grind out brutal, one-dimensional music that is awesome simply because it gets the job done so succinctly. I can think of hundreds of bands that could use a SHORTER running time, but not that many that could use a longer one. There’s something to be said for conciseness, and ‘Frozen Dimensions’ says it well.

So I suppose you know what you’re getting here: fierce, simple, very direct black metal from down under. I dig the honesty and intensity of this music: it tries to be exactly what it is and nothing more. There’s no progressive leanings, no attempts at being a special and unique snowflake: just savage black metal all the way. And that’s a goal that I can get behind.

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~ by noktorn on September 20, 2007.

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