Sunday, October 14, 2007

Iciclan - Frozen Dimensions

Iciclan is a pretty unique band, not because of the music they play, which is basically highly Immortal-influenced brutal black metal with a few death metal elements and mid-paced rockish sections scattered throughout, but because of the band's ideology. Frozen Dimensions is a concept album about a creature that eats ice every ninety years to survive. The short description I provided may not sound appealing, but it's way more intriguing than the themes a lot of other black metal bands confine themselves to.

The music on this album is extremely concise and to the point. At twenty-four minutes, there isn't any room for filler tracks or even fills throughout the songs, for that matter. Songs are mostly made up of blast beats and riffs that are almost exclusively tremolo picked. As I mentioned before, this album is completely filler-free. The only fills present are flurries of tom rolls played at every little opportunity and speedy double bass kicks played at breaks in song verses, most noticeably on 'Ice Eater'. Riffing is played with a great deal of tightness and precision. None of the riffs ever fade out before the next riff simply because riffage is constant. The guitar tone and riffs are pretty melodic, but the savage speeds reached throughout songs like 'The 16th Cycle', with it's relentless blast beats and chainsawing tremolo riffs, strip the guitars of any easily discernible melody. Drumming is very consistent and tightly performed. Whenever the drummer isn't furiously blasting away, he's pulling off heaps of seemingly random tom fills and rolling double bass kicks rhythmically interspersed with snare, cymbals and occasionally tom hits every three or so kicks.

There are a few death metal elements present on this album, like the death metal lyrics on 'Twisting Ear Then Embrace', the guitar solo on 'An Ancient Place' that wouldn't sound unusual in a death metal song and the growls that are often double tracked with the vicious black metal shrieks to created a cool layered effect. Twenty-four minutes doesn't seem like very much for a full-length, but the detailed concept of the album alone provides enough material to qualify this as a fully thought out album, not to mention the complete absence of fillers.

Frozen Dimensions doesn't waste time with pointless ideas, musical experimentation, intros and outros or ambient interludes. Just look at bands like Xasthur, who have hour-plus running times but only thirty minutes worth of ideas present in any given album. Iciclan doesn't try too hard be unique or different, they just do what is necessary while sticking firmly to their black metal formula and leave it at that.

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