GMR [Release date 21.10.17]
Many fans of 80s thrash may well remember all girl Swedish band Ice Age. Originally formed in Gothenburg by Sabrina Kihlstrand, Pia Nystrom, Sabrina’s sister Helena (later replaced by bassist Viktoria Lafsson), and drummer Tina Stromberg, these four girls toured Europe and played to some quite large crowds. With a power metal sound that moved towards the sound of early Metallica and Megadeth. A number of cassette demos include Rock Solid, General Alert, Untitled and Instant Justice sold thousands.
I remember having all four cassettes, bought at a packed gig at the Shelley Arms in Nutley, East Sussex (not quite Rock City but home of many wonderful gigs). Line-up changes and management issues led to implosion.
Now reformed with two new members we finally get an album, which combines songs written for those demos and new material.
Alongside vocalist/guitarist Sabrina and bassist Viktoria are lead guitarist Linnea Landstedt (ex Tyranex) and drummer Andre Holmquist (ex Manimal).
We’re off to a strong start with the 6 minute opener Fleet Street. Some classic 80s thrash, some strong roots, and the occasional dip into guitar harmonies that nod to power metal. Hell Or Nothing is rifftastic and the vocals nod to something suitably evil.
Clever has some nice hooks, and like the rest of the album it’s full of riffs and guitar interplay. The album is short on blistering solos but there is a good blast of one here.
A blast from the past (and it is a REAL blast) is Instant Justice, intense and brutal, a quieter moment and some vocal harmony in the chorus, then it’s turned up again, your ear drums will remember this one.
Closing track A Case Of Cerebral Death has an epic feel, and suffers at running to 4 minutes – this one needs to be 6 or 7 at least. Some great guitar work over the pounding rhythms here, and a very decent guitar solo too.
Very retro, quite intense, and (this is probably my rose tinted spectacles speaking) a CD anthology of those original tapes wouldn’t go amiss either. Very enjoyable classic thrash metal. ****
Review by Joe Geesin
Joe asks Sabrina a few Q’s about the album and what the band’s upcoming plans are…
Love the new album. Is it fair to say you’ve kept your trad – thrash influences?
Thanks a lot! We are all very happy how it turned out.
Yes, its fair to say we kept our traditional thrash influences as they were back in the mid 80’s. Since I didn’t really play music for 25 years it was only natural I picked up music where I finished.
What were the highlights of recording it?
For me the whole process of recording an album was a highlight. The technique is obviously so different then it was back when we recorded the demos. There were several AHA experiences all along the recording procedure but the greatest feeling must have been when we heard the first song final mixed. Wow – we were so pleased!Personally I never thought I would record an album so this is a bit of an unrealistic feeling it has finally happened.
Will there be another album?
Yes of course there will be! We already have 4 new songs almost finished and they are so bloody good it would be criminal not to have them released.
What inspired the reformation?
We have had many requests during the years but there was always some reason to why it couldn’t happen. In January 2015 at what was meant to be a re-union show ,we finally made it happen. We felt it was so much fun we just had to continue and this is how it all came about. The joy of playing,writing music and being on stage again – inspired us.
Will the original line-up ever play together again?
No – unfortunately Pia Nyström does not want to be part of this Ice Age. We have asked her, more then once, but she is not onboard. The drummer Tina would maybe consider it but due to logistics and work related matters it most likely will not happen.
What else have you been up to since the band broke up originally?
I have just lived an ordinary life, worked, had one child – very little to do with music. After the break up of Ice Age I lost faith in music and the music industry completely and wanted nothing to do with it for years. I was quite hurt.
What caused that break up?
Ice Age split up due to a co-operation with a management which didn’t work out, at least not for me. I left the band but offered to play on the last UK tour. However this either did not end well so gigs ended up cancelled. Management threatend to kill me, threw me off the bus and left me on the motorway – so there I was without my guitars and amps and had to make my way home. The band continued without me with 2 new members and lasted about 6 months.
Can you remember playing the Shelley Arms in Nutley, East Sussex? Any other memories if Ice Age back then?
This is almost 30 years ago and my memory fails when it comes to names and places. But I remember that all the gigs we did in the UK was great fun and there were a lot of people, and I only really have positive memories from the shows.
Who would you most like to tour with?
Its quite obvious I guess – being Dave Mustaines spiritual kid sister J of course it would be Megadeth
Would you ever compile those early cassette demos on CD?
No, I don’t think so, but who knows. Besides they are already out on a bootleg/pirate CD by the old management.
What is your all-time favourite album?
A hard question, and everybody who knows me would expect me to say an album by Megadeth but my all time favourite album is Rainbow – Rising
What next for Ice age?
Gigs! First off we have a tour in Sweden we call Triple Thrash Treat, together with the awesome Reignsaw (which I recommend you check out) and FKU.
Then we are visiting your lovely country on March 31, yes! London underworld – this will be so much fun and I hope all our old friends will come and see us and say hello.
In the summer there will be festivals – so we will have a busy 2018!
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Each week David Randall presents ‘New to GRTR!’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, with the emphasis on independent artists and labels. During December he replays favourite tracks including power plays featured during the year. This show covers the period January-March and was first broadcast on 1 December 2019.
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