Ice War - Defender, Destroyer
Fighter Records
Punk Speed Metal
10 songs (38'27")
Release year: 2020
Ice War
Reviewed by Alex

I have missed a couple of Ice War albums between the eponymous debut and recent issue Defender, Destroyer, so I can’t comment on the trajectory of the evolution. Ice War is a creation of one Jo Capitalicide, so he is obviously free to do with Ice War as he pleases. Yet as much as I have enjoyed the rough edges and straightforwardness of the debut, I can’t bring myself to like Defender, Destroyer. Gone is the nervy vibrant Accept-like protometal, replaced by junior Motorhead and punk primitivism aspect pushed to the extreme. Not that I am a punk enemy, but Defender, Destroyer approach simply left me unmoved.

Some songs on Defender, Destroyer are still catchy (Power from Within), and heroic melodies and cool hooks are still present (Rising from the Tomb). There are some songs when I recognize Ice War circa 2017 as well (Skull and Crossbones). Yet most of the album is possessed by stumbling over itself, incoherent rapid punk beat, screaming vocals, sound compressed to the layer thickness of a postal envelope and drilling atonal guitar runs posing as solos (title track, Soldiers of Frost). Here and there songs like that could have injected energy in the album, but Defender, Destroyer just doesn’t progress beyond the same repeating set of ideas. As soon as there is a tempo change to a Maidenish gallop (Mountains of Skulls) or some sort of a different military beat at the beginning of Crucified in Fire, there is return to this all-encompassing breakneck rumbling. Speed and dexterity certainly impress in guitar playing, but after a while the album on the whole just becomes boring. Second or third time through some songs I almost skipped originally became more palatable (Running out of Time), and nicer solos became more noticeable (Crucified in Fire), but I still struggled to remain patient for 40 min duration. Adding lyrics which scream & repeat Soldiers of Frost 13 times (yes, I counted) don’t make it any more attractive, and doing so 20 times towards the end of the title track and Running out of Time (no, I didn’t count, but it did feel like 20) doesn’t help either.

Maybe it was the punk angle I was caught by surprise with in Defender, Destroyer, or maybe it was the incessant repetitive nature of it that I could not get over with while listening to the album. You are welcome to form your own opinion, especially if, unlike me, you followed Ice War a little closer, and have witnessed Manifest Destiny before this.

Killing Songs :
Power from Within, Rising from the Tomb
Alex quoted 60 / 100
Other albums by Ice War that we have reviewed:
Ice War - Ice War reviewed by Alex and quoted 90 / 100
Ice War - Dream Spirit reviewed by Jared and quoted no quote
Ice War - Battle Zone reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
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