Tuesday 8 June 2021

Iceburn - Asclepius

Labels: Southern Lord

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 25 Jun 2021


1. Healing The Ouroboros

2. Dahlia Rides The Firebird

I may have got a little excited when I saw this sitting in my inbox this evening. I've been really intrigued by Iceburn ever since I picked up a copy of Hephaestus from a local record shop here in North Yorkshire (of all places) a few years ago. It was a blind buy at the time, except for the fact that it had the Revelation Records logo on it's sleeve. On listening to it, I realised that it was nothing like any other Revelation release I had heard (maybe I've not heard many, I don't know!) and since then I've promised myself I'd seek out more of their music, while also being a little nervous about doing so. Asclepius is the band's first new music in about twenty years and it's found the perfect home on Southern Lord. Intelligent, progressive, ever-shifting music has been the bedrock of this educated collective (maybe that's why I've been nervous) and when you consider that the album is named after the Greek god of medicine/healing, it becomes clear that this was meant to be.

I must clarify something about the above, lengthy paragraph; I’m not nervous about this because I see myself as being intellectually inferior but because I may not have the words to fully do this release justice. We’ll see...

Asclepius is made up of two long tracks, so it’s not about instant relief. ‘Healing The Ouroboros’ begins with guitar work that reminds me of the song ‘Brando’ that Scott Walker and Sunn 0))) released as part of their collaborative album Soused, before Iceburn veers off in a more sludgy/trad-doom direction, which is more akin to sister band Eagle Twin. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that the music keeps you guessing with experimentalism in abundance. That said, and doing a complete 180 degree turn apparently, this is way groovier than I was expecting it to be. Not complaining one bit though, as it seems totally right for a warm and muggy English Monday evening.

The feedback that kicks off second song ‘Dahlia Rides The Firebird’ is the aural equivalent of a sign saying ‘hey, we like rocking’, which is exactly what Iceburn does all the way through this record. Even if it’s not the kind of rocking you can dance or bounce to, it will satisfy you. The main thing that will keep you hooked here is the constant riffs that take the lead throughout. They tend to sit atop of the recording, while the bass and percussion provide the much needed low-end. The vocals are delivered sparingly and without pretence or showy-ness. This album is definitely one that’s accessible for those willing to give it a chance.

To sum this album up after only a couple fo listens is difficult. I’ll go with the less is more approach and just say that it’s really good. You can do the rest…

You can watch preview videos of both song's via Iceburn's bandcamp page here - https://iceburnsl.bandcamp.com/album/asclepius.

Asclepius is also up for physical/digital pre-order there too.

Iceburn - https://www.facebook.com/IceburnSLC

Southern Lord - https://www.facebook.com/SLadmin

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