Apr 6, 2012
Ice Dragon - Tome of the Future Ancients ...
"Manuscript 408" opens this album with over ten minutes of slow chugging build up which is somewhat typical of what to expect from them but the next track entitled "NATIAIWS" is nothing anyone could expect. A jolting split from their average songwriting, and the jolt comes compliments of a brilliantly placed theremin that runs for the duration of the track. It gives you a feeling like you are chain-smoking menthol's under a black light, amidst a heavy hash musk. "Man Sitting In A Field Of Green Grass" serves as a calming interlude between the thick bangers and is almost akin to something you'd hear on a Boards Of Canada album. "Illuminations Foretold" and "Steal Away From Hell" are great examples of how Ice Dragon can also approach their songs with very primitive back beats and rock riffs that seem to loop on forever but somehow never grow tired. It's probably something to do with their chosen vocal approach which is quite clean in comparison to most other new bands of this ilk. It's really quite impressive how this little group is able to produce such a large sound on record. "Steal Away From Hell" also sports a killer Iommi style breakdown where the electric guitars and vocals really get a chance to shine. I specify the electric guitars because this record is armed to the teeth with instruments including acoustics, upright bass, synths, sitar, mellotron and the aforementioned theremin.
We get another soothing and serene interlude in the form of "Astronomical Union" which utilizes silence in a way that most newer bands almost never do. The use of silence on this album is pure gold and reminds me of why I'm such a Michelangelo Antonioni fan. One must admire Ice Dragon's brazen approach and contribution to the genre, they're like the N.W.A. of heavy psych. "Black Book Of Hours" and "Night" are two tracks which show Ice Dragon perfecting their tendency for drone in the same overtly cockeyed approach. This ain't your daddy's psychedelic drone rock so put those Hawkwind records down, for now, and listen up! "Night" ends and so begins the "Crystal Countdown Into Alpha". Suddenly everything we know is bullshit as Ice Dragon morph themselves into an unlikely neo-folk group with this particular track, which flies completely "out of left field" as it were. "Crystal Countdown Into Alpha", like "Meddoe" before it, lies at the heart of what makes Ice Dragon so potent and mentally infiltrating for me personally. Their willingness to throw caution to the wind and do what comes naturally rather than fulfill the need to gain popularity by regurgitating what listeners are already used to hearing from these kinds of bands. Just like when The Stooges went out on a limb in recording "We Will Fall" and listeners were all but forced to treat them as a serious act, doom listeners must respect Ice Dragon for the choices they've decided upon in crafting "Crystal Countdown Into Alpha" and 'Tome Of The Future Ancients' as a whole, regardless if they enjoy the record or not. Speaking of "We Will Fall", the following track entitled "The Bearded Mage" features some beautifully well struck sitar and is actually also the longest track on the record. This cut features a killer solo that stretches for miles and cries like a fucking newborn! "Adoration Of Ra" follows on as the third slow, psychedelic meandering interlude and "Infinite Requiem" pretty much does the same thing. My only complaints here are that these last two tracks could very easily be combined into one and that Ice Dragon really skimped out on the artwork this time around, which is quite unlike them, but in a way so is this record. Let's just hope they're waiting to unveil the cover art for the vinyl version.
Look for Tome Of The Future Ancients out later this year on LP from Yersinia Pestis but until then, stream and download it for free on BANDCAMP.
Words: Wes Cueto
Tags: Ice Dragon