Ice Age - "Liberation"
(Magna Carta 2001, MA-9051-2)
From Aural Innovations #16 (June 2001)
It's hard to knock these Magna Carta bands. So many of them don't really distinguish themselves from one another, and Ice Age is no exception. But here the rub... these guys are kick ass musicians... the compositions are intricately (if oh so typically) constructed... and there's plenty here for fans of heavy progressive rock that mixes the neo & prog metal realms to drool over. Dream Theater, Shadow Gallery, Echolyn, Kansas, and Styx are obvious comparisons, though you'll hear traces of Metallica as well. The lineup is a standard quartet of guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, and vocals, though I think keyboardist Josh Pincus has one of the most powerful voices I've heard in a while. Dennis DeYoung is the closest analogy that comes to mind.
The songs that most turned me on are the ones that incorporate fiery metal with shredding but tasteful guitar. "The Blood Of Ages" is a standout in this regard. It rocks fast and furious, the band blazing as a tightly knit unit. The blazing keyboard/guitar interplay on "A Thousand Years", "Musical Cages", and "The Guardian Of Forever" is absolutely stunning. "When You're Ready" goes into more neo prog oriented territory that recalls IQ, Pendragon, Marillion, and the like, though still with heavy doses of metal.
In summary, If you're into tightly played prog metal á la Dream Theater, but also like the kind of 70s radio friendly progressive rock that Styx and Kansas played, then you can check out Ice Age with confidence.
For more information you can visit the Ice Age web site at: http://www.ice-age.com/.
Liberation is distributed by Magna Carta. You can visit their web site at: http://magnacarta.net.
Contact via snail mail c/o Magna Carta; PMB 1820; 208 East 51st St; New York, NY 10022-6500.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz