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Ice Age

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4 stars If you haven't heard their debut, don't start here, but get that one first! If you like The great divide, you'll like this as well. I was a bit disappointed upon hearing this, though. Full of expectations after the brilliant debut, their second record is merely very good. The overall song-quality is definitely down a notch, and the sound has been subtly changed. Still, there are a couple of very good tracks on this record. Listen to The Lhasa road, A thousand years, When you're ready and The wolf. These guys are still great technicians though, and if you're a big Dream Theater fan, I don't think this will disappoint you.
Report this review (#25358)
Posted Thursday, November 13, 2003 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. I feel a little guilty in not giving this album 4 stars because there are so many great moments on it. I'm not a big fan of the vocals that do sound like Dennis DeYoung at times. He has a powerful voice but I don't like the tone when he sings loudly. The lyrics which I don't usually take much notice of are very impressive. It's not often that i'll read the words of all the songs, but I did because they are that good. Lots of keyboard and guitar solos on this one as well.

"The Lhasa Road (No Surrender)" is a good opener that features the bands technical ability. Nice guitar solo 2 1/2 minutes in but an even better one 4 minutes later. The bass and drum work late is a highlight as well. "March Of The Red Dragon" is just over a minute of drums and synths that blends into "The Blood Of Ages". It turns heavy rather quickly until the vocals come in. This contrast continues. I really like the beautiful guitar solo that comes after the mellow passage 5 minutes in. This and "When Your Ready" are my two favourite tracks. "A Thousand Years" opens with some nice guitar. The keys are also impressive after 3 minutes. Check out the guitar to end the song. "When Your Ready" is simply gorgeous for the first 2 minutes before it becomes more powerful. The original melody does return 6 1/2 minutes in. This is the longest song at almost 9 minutes.

"Musical Cages" opens with some great sounding guitar that goes on for 2 1/2 minutes and then the piano takes over. Some riffing follows before we get a keyboard solo. Nice bass lines ! The guitar is very active as well. Great instrumental. "Monolith" is a short acoustic guitar piece with a Spanish flavour. "The Guardian Of Forever" opens sounding like FATES WARNING so i'm already won over. It becomes fairly light though before getting heavy again. "Howl" is another short instrumental. It opens with synths but the guitar is the star of this show. Nice. It blends into "The Wolf" which becomes an uptempo song with passionate vocals. Some beautiful guitar after 2 minutes. "To Say Goodbye,Part III: Still Here" has some really uplifting moments on it. Almost Neo sounding with uptempo synth runs. Good track. "Tong-Len" is another short instrumental. It opens with Eastern sounds before the piano takes over. Very tasteful and peaceful closing track.

I'm looking forward to hearing their debut that everyone seems to like better than this one. I can recommend this one heartily to anyone who is into melodic Prog-Metal.

Report this review (#152871)
Posted Monday, November 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars For those who haven't read my previous review for this band: it's unbelievable that such a high quality prog metal band is so little known (or at least reviewed). So again I have to say: wake up, progmetallists of this website and do your job ! This band absolutely deserves that.

So, got that off my chest, now I can do my own review. Liberation is the successor of Great Divide, one of the few in prog history that got my highest reward: 5 stars (and: totally deserved). The successor has proved to be very worthy for this bands reputation. It's another excellent effort and I wanted to review it for a long time but problem is the often occurring dilemma for the 4 or 5 star rating. I mean this must be at least the 20th case in which this problem is causing me headaches what to do. This is thus another plead for the half-star ratingpossibility that would end this pressing problem.

On this fantastic release I can detect at least 5 great songs, only downside is they can't quite match up with the best tracks of their debut. So that explains my doubts about the 4 or 5 star rating. I would do them a bit wrong with 4 stars, but another 5 would probably be a little overdone. So here we go again, it will be 4 because of the lacking oftrue masterpiece status but I'm very unhappy about it !

Ice Age is a high quality and very technical prog metal band producing very good compositions. The overall final judgement for this band is that it's one of the best in this department, to me absolutely a match for Dream Theater and Symphony X although the similarity with these bands isn't really obvious.

Best tracks on the album are: The Lhasa Road, Musical Cages and To say goodbye pt.3

Report this review (#158714)
Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2008 | Review Permalink

Great band! ICE AGE is a band formed by four excellent prog metal musicians. Especially, I noticed guitarist Jimmy Pappas and keyboardist/vocalist Josh Pincus. This band is, IMO, still so unknown, but the two albums they had made are in front of progressive metal music. Put the hand on it and make sure of it! When I first listened to this band, I never realized the quintessence of progressive metal gathered in around one hour of audition. For me, it was a nice surprise!!! Really! Liberation followed the great success and the same line The Great Divide did 2 years ago. Excellent sound, professional musical textures and Pincus's voice is one of the best I ever heard in metal music (heavy sometimes, but so warm on e.g. When you're ready). Songs are as complex and epic as they are on the first album and the same thing with the lyrics. This album does not stand at he same level with Great Divide (which is for me a masterpiece) only because of a little lack of inspiration and, I would say, a little percentage of flatness in the second part of the album (e.g. To say good-bye Part III isn't high enough like the first 2 parts from the first album and the instrumental track-Musical cages-is quite good, but in comparison with Spare chicken parts is a bit modest). Basically, heavy parts are splendid combined with acoustic guitars and relaxing keyboards in a perfect unity. Well-done again for the band ! If you like DREAM THEATER, KANSAS, SPOCK'S BEARD, you'd like ICE AGE!

Report this review (#168271)
Posted Monday, April 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is such a great band. I picked up Ice Age's 1st album "The Great Divide" 2nd hand for only $5 after seeing their name in a Magna Carta booklet, and wow. I was pleasantly surprised and excited that a new band was actually producing great progressive music!

Then i got this album. I am surprised that the majority of reviewers think that their debut was better than this follow-up, Liberation. I actually think it is a step forward, and even more consistent than the 1st album.

There is not a single forgettable melody on this album, save for perhaps a tiny bit of "To Say Goodbye Pt. III". Everything else is just beautifully constructed --- the musicians are very proficient, guitarist Jimmy Pappas is disciplined, only displaying technical ability when it needs it. The singer is unique; might take a bit of getting used to, but after a few listens it really grew on me. Singing is theatrical, kind of similar to Damian Wilson (Threshold) and Dennis DeYoung.

Another thing I really like -- the song structures are set out as a mix between either short 1-2 min songs and 6-8 min ones. It sets a nice atmosphere and flows well as an album. Lyrics are thought-provoking too.

Anyway, the music is performed without falling into the heavier trend of recent progressive music; Ice Age have the perfect balance, only a slight metal leaning.

Check it out, support this underrated band.

Report this review (#229000)
Posted Wednesday, July 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Without any doubt,LIBERATION is that kind of album that can be considered to be a forgotten pearl,a musical jewel!I still cannot explain what was wrong with ICE AGE and why they didn't become more popular!They were signed by MAGNA CARTA label,the craddle for excellent prog bands like SHADOW GALLLERY,MAGELLAN,ENCHANT,LEMUR VOICE,ALTURA,DALI'S DILEMA..and they had all the arguments for becoming major!Everything on this second release of the band is far better to the excellent debut album THE GREAT DIVIDE!Very good production and wery well composed and structured songs,compositions with feeling and passionatelly performed by a very,very talented band!JOSH PINCUS has a very easy recognisible voice in a very pleasant accord,register!The musicianship is amazing,technically speaking they were almost perfect!Songs like WHEN YOU'RE READY and THE LHASA ROAD are so elaborated and made with mature creativity and the whole ensemble of the album is one of a work very professionally achieved!Pure prog metal and rock madness in the good sense!Great change of rhythms and many ideas in a single composition-that's the essence and attractivity of prog music!MUSICAL CAGES is a gorgeous instrumental and it's the perfect oportunity for the band to prove at what high degree of musicianship and virtuosity they were! Mindblowing indeed!They put such a high level of creativity to their albums and I was sure after this second fabulous release they will hit the third time with the most mature album possible! Unfortunatelly that didn't happened and I was so sad seing dissapear such a promissing band!!!But the 2 albums released are their legacy to the prog metal world and they deserve all our respect! 4,5 stars without any hesitation!
Report this review (#259258)
Posted Monday, January 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 realy

The second offer of this excellent and yet short lived progressive metal band from USA is another great ex of how must sound a progressive metal album, powerful, intristing inventiv and damn tight musicianship. While I prefer the first one over thi, Liberation from 2001 is winner for sure. Great voice again made by Pincus, instrumental passages shines on each piece, so definetly a good album. Maybe the sound is not so fat as on first release but is ok in the end. Again long pieces, great progressive metal arrangements, tight passages where the keybords goes hand in hand with the rest , quite impresive overall, pieces like The Lhasa Road or When You're Ready are absolutly great, younger band must take some notes because Ice Agen kick ass all the way. So a good towards great, I still like the first one much more, is more pretentious and was a real bomb when was release and I think the better one from the two they release so far. Ice Ages was disbanded in 2004 but the members of the band were formed another outfit under the named Soulfractured where they play a more direct kind of metal, without that overly complex arrangements from the Ice Age fame. The mebers said that the chapter Ice Ages is closed now Soulfractured is the band that they work hard in the future, they also issued a selftitled album in 2006. Back to Ice Age, this short lived band made two of the best albums in prog metal in last 2 decades for sure, they will be remebered for the, specialy first album The great dived who realy kick major ass all the way, killer album IMO.

Report this review (#440832)
Posted Saturday, April 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars |F| Power-prog meets AOR. And believe it or not, it's even cheesier than it sounds.

This is an old album that my brother purchased during his power-prog phase. To be honest, this album was a lot more depressing than it was displeasing to actually hear. I like a lot of (less idiotic) AOR, and I like a lot of (less cheesy) power-prog. The musicians are clearly quite technically skilled and have no fear of showing it off as much as possible. It is well produced, with some very creative compositional aspects that amount to nothing more than turgid self-indulgence.

This work in fact fulfills every negative stereotype of prog metal imaginable. Most of the album has an "epic" and an obnoxious, overly happy/inspired sound, and rarely departs from this sound. Almost every track has the same or similar formula: sixteenth-note guitar/keyboard runs and patters at a fast speed, incredibly cheesy string settings (though occasionally some cool synthesizer settings that work effectively), some crunching "awesome" guitar riff topped with pads and an "epic" melodic vocal line. It is so self- indulgent with new material popping up that only ever adds to the cheesiness already established. Moments expressing musical substance were few and far between, and quite literally so. It was all so overkill that half-way through the album I dreaded there being another track; I was crossing my fingers, hoping it was over. Twice I put myself through listening to the entire thing, and both times I came out thinking I couldn't bear to listen to another prog metal album again.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those anti-prog-metal trolls that go around giving every prog metal band bad reviews (like some very prominent collabs on here). In fact those people should give this album a listen, and I'm sure they might change their views on the truly substantial prog-metal albums out there. Because this album really puts into perspective the "cheesiness" associated with prog-metal. Trust me, after hearing this, you'll never think Symphony X made even one cheesy track ever again. You just won't listen to Symphony X for a good long time after being so over-exposed to such "epic and sweeping" soloing and vocals. You might as well listen to Dragonforce, at least they don't pretend not to be pretentious.

Like with my masterpiece ratings, I rarely give a poor only for those albums that have little or nothing to offer in the substance of its composition. It's clear how much work went into the album: the musicianship, planning out the composition, the production, etc. This album could've been great, but it ended up nothing more than a load of pretentious, turgid, "prog"- metal hogwash. If Dragonforce and Styx happen to simultaneously be your two favorite bands, you'll love this album.

Report this review (#465974)
Posted Monday, June 20, 2011 | Review Permalink

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