A feeling of perfection

-- Ice Age --

David Hardy

Album genres:
Prog metal
Album artists:
Hal Aponte Drums
Jimmy Pappas Guitars
Josh Pincus Vocals, Keyboard
Doug O'Dell Bass

Review written by David "Orcish Shredder" Hardy.


How could I, as a former Magic the Gathering player who really started a little before the release of this expansion, have missed a group with this name? That's just impossible! And I don't regret it! 

So yes, Ice Age's style is a bit far removed from what I mainly listen to but, sincerely, how can I not sit down, shut up and listen to a release that's this flawless? So yes, we are as far from deathcore territory as we could, but let's be honest... as much as they took the time to release this album (22 years to be exact), there is as little to nothing to throw away in the final result and it's a connoisseur's delight!

Started on the basis of the band Monolith, well to speak more brutally, after having released their bassist there remained only three (Jimmy Pappas, Josh Pincus, Hal Aponte) which sought therefore a bassist, the first (Arron DiCesare) did not hold and was replaced by Doug O'Dell in 2001 (an exchange with Coldsteel to which Hal Aponte left). Add Mike Furey on drums and you have Ice Age... how can I put it, a band that is surprisingly good for the little fame I know of them on the internet! Especially compared to their experience in the business! I can't explain it and again, it saddens me!

Main dish:

The first track of Ice Age's "Waves Of Loss And Power" album is called "The needle's eye." The part around the first minute mark (chorus) clearly reminds me of Iron Maiden obviously tinted by real prog ... A clear entry, and without doubt, from some moments (around the 3rd minute) the most violent track of the album. Doug (Bass) must clearly not bother on this track! How many fingers does he have by the way? And how many strings does he have on his bass ? A good starting tune and that gives me only one desire: to go further!

As much as the first track reminded me of a good old Iron Maiden tune, this second track has Dream Theater in it! How many different keyboards did Josh use during this song? That's a question that begs to be asked. And I'm giving this title a big thumbs up for the choice of said keyboards since they manage to give the song the correct color and intention at the right moments! That makes it possible to keep this tune interesting despite it's length being a little (too much) out of radio standards. Indeed, a musical piece that lasts for more than ten minutes so it's not radio-friendly length. Unfortunately, because it's a track that begs to be discovered by the mainstream public!

"Perpetual child part II Forever" is the title that makes you search in their discography because there is no part 1 in this album. Namely, part 1 takes place in their debut album "The great divide" from 1999 (that doesn't make us any younger), again a track of more than ten minutes. Here the atmosphere is a bit darker at the beginning but turns into melancholic and then inspiring afterwards. I am amazed at the accuracy singer Josh on high notes, it's a real treat... even more when it is supported by the band's backing vocals a little lower in the spectrum that puts it even more forward. Fortunately, there are moments of pure instrumentals to give the vocals a bit of reest. Then the 80s synthetic sounds come in and provide a great bridge for the second half around the track 9th minute. The guitar leads are so technical that they would make you swoon but they don't take over the song (as they often do) because they are just right and don't overflow into demo mode. The change of vocals around the 12-minute mark is very noticable and allows us to take in all the vocal power! To return to the part 1 of the title... although it's a nice track and is mor towards the heavy metal side rather than prog, we can feel the evolution and the professionalism that has built within Ice Age over all those years! Bravo!

Next up is "Together now." Pay particular attention to the 30-second solo around the song's 4th minute... listen to the transitions, the magnificent recording, the effects just well dosed at the right time. Come on, if I really wanted to give a negative to this album, I'd say that this tune sometimes feels a bit messy here and there ... but it never lasts long (barely a few seconds) and at the limit that are justified in using this song as a climax of a musical phrase. So even in this we can't even spit! That being said, it's not my favorite track on Ice Age's "Waves Of Loss And Power" album.

During the first few seconds of the following track, "All my years," we've got the impression that we've made a jump in a more heavy & glam metal oriented universe but it's a little strane due to the saturated guitars combined with this type of sound. It makes me want to leave this universe but then, Doug's bass arrives along with Josh's vocals... and we arrive to their more alternative style, it goes from one side to the other and in this title we clearly feel that when we hear Josh, we lean more on the prog.... when we are more on Jimmy's guitars we're into heavier territory

In any case, what an absolute mastery on all levels! To know how to transition from one style to another by giving what allow every instrument it's necessary space to shine! I applaud! And not to mention that this is the shortest title on the album due to its less than five minute long playtime! One could almost believe that they made it on the corner of a table between the entry and the main course but, once again, it shines with utter brilliance! We would say that it's the most refreshing track on the album.
"Float away" is a small filler track which passes like a letter in the post office, that is eaten without hunger, it is always as clean... but, even if it is more passable for radio airplay because of its small 4:31 runtime, it's not the track which left me with the biggest impression.

An ending song split into two parts but which are named parts 4 and 5... I'm not sure if you follow me but, in either way, the seventh track of this album is called "To say goodbye part IV" and is a very pleasant piano instrumental, I would have just preferred the sound a little less shiny and rounder. But what I can say it's the first time I've seen an album ending track split into two parts with the first part being an instrumental opening. It's not everyday we hear a combination like that.

Then this last title? As we expect the piano from the previous track/part makes us enter into this last song before the rest of the band starts. To be frank with you I found there's a small bit of Galt Mac Dermot and its famous "Hair" within the style of this track. Well, well, another New Yorker! Coincidence? In any case, I enjoyed it until the last drop. A Very well placed finale, it leaves a pleasant and tasty taste, not too melancholic, but not too joyful either, really, and as for all the rest of the album, everything feels right at just the right time!

What I get out of this album:

It took Ice Age 22 years to give birth to a beautiful baby, intelligent, harmonious, with a good constitution, solid foundations and an approach to prog metal perfection on all levels! It's an album worth putting among the best stuff that bands like Dream Theater, Styx, Kansas and Rush!

And considering the number of assholes on this planet, I could only advise some future mothers to have the same gestation if this guarantees a similar quality of offspring! We can only hope that Ice Age will still be making one or two more albums in a shorter period of time because... without wanting to be mean guys... the clock is ticking and we want more before it's time for retirement!

I didn't mention one of the guys: drummer Mike Furey... how can I tell you that in my opinion he feels like the spiritual son of Phil Collins? His drums always hit in the right place, it's intelligent, it's clean, it's clear, ... it's mostly at the service of the song and his companions while, as we hear at certain moments with his moments where he is put forward, he has the technical capacities to tell that we're dealing with a master, but his musical humility makes that he transcends the song rather than to put himself forward, and it's exactly that which shows that he is a genuinely great drummer!

You can feel that they are at full mastery of their art, and that both within Ice Age themselves and in the production of this "Waves Of Loss And Power" album it all feels just killer! What a pleasure to hear so a well done album! And believe me that could llisten to this everyday! This album is really a summary of what I have to say about what makes a good album! To consume without moderation and especially to share it at maximum!

For the record, and in spite of it is not my favorite style, I do not hesitate to grand to the group and to the team which recorded and produced this album a score of:


A must have for those who take the effort to listen to it (and to listen to it again) carefully! Nothing to throw away, I would even say everything to show as an example! Ice Age is a band and "Waves Of Loss And Power" is a production both worth rating 5 stars plus a bonus star!

P.S. : If you only like extreme death metal, go the other way, you might die from too much melody! 
P.S. 2 : Be careful, if you search a little in what they did you will be surprised because... I'll let you discover that for yourself! :-D