Ice War – ‘Ice War’ (Shadow Kingdom Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Phil Cooper   
Friday, 22 September 2017 04:20

Ice War artworkHaving been a long time and prolific songwriter within the metal and punk underground, Jo Capitalicide has developed a sound akin to the early days of NWOBHM and has slowly been refining the output, firstly, with the band Iron Dogs, who released two albums from 2011, before changing the name to Ice War and subsequently recording several EPs, beginning with 2015s ‘Battle Ground’.

 

Jo Capitalicide has since taken on his solo project further culminating with the release of Ice War’s self-titled album.  Looking to deliver a hard-hitting metal album that has its roots firmly entrenched in the early days of metal with a rounded sound that owes nothing to the more modern stylings, can Ice War provide a fresh delivery to a classic sound?

 

‘Battle Zone’ is the first offering and it’s immediately clear from the opening bars where Ice War is taking its influence.  A heavy distorted riff that moves it galloping power chords and high vocals. The bass and drums lock in tight and push the whole thing at a pounding pace. These are all structurally integral to the NWOBHM sound and it’s not too much of a stretch to picture this as an early Iron Maiden or Angelwitch track.  Track two ‘Dream Spirit’ follows the same vein of the early metal sound.  This time the guitar riff follows a groovier edge as opposed to galloping and with the phrasing of both the guitars and vocals ‘Dream Spirit’ has the feel that is could be B-side for UFO. However, Jo Capitalicide is still able to capture a uniqueness to the sound that does give it an extra edge.

 

 

Head down no-nonsense thrash is the order of the day for ‘Standing Rock’ a furious guitar lead attack with speeding riff and intense tremolo picked lead lines.  The rhythm section once again forms the important engine room role of driving the track forward with a ferocious bass and snare blast beat and during the verse section the ride symbol complements the vocal lines and provides blistering metronome to the track.  Throughout the album there are aspects of all earlyy metal thoroughly explored, the tribal beat of ‘Slavers Whip’ has an almost Judas Priest like quality. Whereas album closer ‘Falling Out’ offers a masterclass from start to finish in metal guitar playing 101, with twin harmonies, intense riffs and intricate lead parts all woven together with the complete sound of the band.

 

 

It would be easy to dismiss this album as a rehash of old ideas and an attempt to pilfer the ideas of other more successful metal bands from the NWOBHM era who were the originators.  However, with little more than a cursory listen to the album it’s possible to identify more within ‘Ice War’. Jo Capitalicide has succeeded in building on the early metal sound and bringing together the very best elements that make metal exciting and put his own take on it. 

 

Whilst it is possible to draw many comparisons as I have done so, there is solid under layer of originality that gives ‘Ice War’ its own sound that makes it more than an imitator. The lack of any modernity to the album is an extra edge in the age of technology, proving that sometimes you just can’t beat a classic sound when it comes to metal.

 

‘Ice War’ is released next Wednesday (27 September). You can get your copy HERE.

 

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