Horny Horntoads! Where did this come from? It happens from time to time that a band would emerge without warning to provide us with a magnificent piece of music that would stand rigid above the masses of colorless cookie-cutter bands which are being fed to us by the music industry.
ICE SWORD come from the endless vastness of the US metal scene and I’d say they are a part of the upcoming US heavy/epic metal movement alongside bands like ETERNAL CHAMPION, GATEKEEPER, VISIGOTH, yet they have subtle differences in their musical approach.
ICE SWORD‘s music, even though it has strong roots in the ’80s metal sound, is characterized by a late ’90s – ’00s aesthetic that’s clearly inspired by bands like SLOUGH FEG, and for some part by underground heroes like DRAGONHEART, EXCELSIS (do you remember them?), HROM, AIRGED L’AMH, and if you could ever believe it, BAL SAGOTH (without the harsh vocals). I also spotted huge chunks of inspiration coming from QUICKSAND DREAM, not only musically but also in the way ICE SWORD narrate the story throughout the album.
As far as I understood, “Dragon Fire” is a concept album. I didn’t have the time to thoroughly go through the lyrics as it’s quite a demanding record when it comes to musical part. This means that you won’t find easy listening, catchy tunes, nor the usual song progression as there are quite a lot of tempo changes, very particular vocal melodies, dual guitar harmonies that spit out Celtic-like tunes, and a sense of genuine obscurity. Do not take for granted that it’s going to be a memorable, easy to listen to album, as it takes some time to get used to it since the song rotation is not the usual one (you get three ten-minute songs in a row!) and it is quite lengthy. That said, I sense that its weird attractiveness will capture the genuine underground fan.
To sum up, ICE SWORD is a band that manages to stand out by providing something different; last time I checked it was TERMINUS that did something similar to this. The album is self-released and apparently will not be out there for long. Something else that should be mentioned, is that the band has invested a lot effort both on the cover and interior art of both the CD and the LP versions of the album. Do not miss this one, it will be at your loss.