Ice Age

Magna Carta Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


It's been two years since Ice Age burst onto the scene with their debut disc The Great Divide... and despite all my predictions, these guys aren't superstars yet.

In one sense, that's a damned shame, since Josh Pincus and company proved they were one of the most talented and diverse progressive rock groups out there since the glory days of Yes and Jethro Tull. But in another sense, maybe it's a good thing that Ice Age didn't become famous for their first album - especially since their latest release, Liberation, blows it away.

Working in all of the same influences that made up The Great Divide, Ice Age - vocalist/keyboardist Pincus, guitarist Jimmy Pappas, bassist Arron DiCesare and drummer Hal Aponte - take the concept of prog-rock and redefine it for the 21st Century. Offering up songs that have all the hooks that could make these tracks chart-bound intermixed with brief interludes that work their way into the following songs (as well as provide a buffer between such epics), this release is, quite simply, excellence committed to compact disc.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

From the opening moments of "The Lhasa Road (No Surrender)," the listener knows that they're in for an exceptional treat. What Ice Age has learned over the past two years is how to develop their own sound while still paying silent tribute to the prog-rock bands whom they are following. Pincus still has a set of pipes that reminds me of Dennis DeYoung, yet he truly has come into his own on Liberation, developing his own solid style that sets him apart from so many other bands in the genre.

Musically, Ice Age holds its own water very well. Pappas's guitar work is properly subdued, suggesting that he could pull off solos that would make Eddie Van Halen's jaw hit the floor if he so wished. But while there's plenty of flash in his playing, it feels like it's wise that Pappas doesn't put the pedal to the floor and let loose with a shredding solo. DiCesare's bass work is brought up just to the right spot in the mix, illustrating how important his contribution to the band's sound is. As for Aponte, he might not be trying to out-duel Neal Peart on this disc, but he puts forth an outstanding effort in his trapwork.

Radio is naturally afraid of any song that goes over five minutes in length, meaning that unless you buy Liberation, you won't hear the pure beauty of songs like "A Thousand Years," "To Say Goodbye, Part III: Still Here" and "When You're Ready". For Ice Age's sake, I sincerely hope that Magna Carta considers doing radio edits of some of these tracks... and that some rock stations have the balls to program these tracks. Album-oriented radio has long been missing such dynamic music, and once people get a chance to hear these tracks for themselves, the glory that I've said Ice Age has deserved since their last album will be heaved on them at an astonishing rate. Trust me: it's all well-deserved.

I listen to a lot of great music in this job, but I don't often hear discs which are as memorable as Liberation. This is not only one of the best discs I've listened to all year, it's one of the best discs I've ever listened to, period. Break out of the flavor-of-the-month musical mentality and give Liberation a chance... you'll see how wonderful it is to free your mind.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Magna Carta Records, and is used for informational purposes only.