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Just like the name of the band, this album is a mouthful. Just like reviewers before me, this could of been a lot better. Never before has a black metal album sent chills down my spine like this one. The problem is, the shivers were out of a desire to hear something much better then what was there.
The music is cold as the frosty glaciers, but it has no direction or real point. The structures fall flat and the songs become very stale. The vocals lack the power needed to hold the music together. The drumming is fast and spot on, but lackluster in diversity. The guitars are well mapped and played out, but they have no direction. The bass is no better, and the lyrics themselves aren’t anything to jump about. Every song sounds the same and the album turns into a borefest with few redeeming qualities.
It’s hard for me to write a lot on things I don’t love or things that make me squeal as if I was a little girl again. Never have I heard anything that was completely nailed in the average. It is not bad, because it is a solid piece of work and musicians are talented in their field. It is not amazing or even good because it’s so lackluster of any inspiration.
There is so much potential here. I hope if they make another release they show that potential.
All in all, this album is just OK. The concept (full blown black metal brutality) is definitely present throughout the album, but it tends to get one sided. The vocalist surely doesn't help, with his mono-tone barking over the whole thing. He has his moments, like on the end of track 9 he almost does a low howl, but not quite. They sound good, especially how they are laid on top of the music, but could use some extra balls here and there. There are definitely good spots and rough spots. For instance, tracks 6 and on are a really interesting listen, while the whole rest of the first half of the album seems forced. Some riffs are like, "woah dude, that's friggin' awesome!" While others are like, "woah dude, fast forward. This riff really sucks and they keep playing it."
This album is good and very brutal (and on track 7, melodic), but definitely could get better if a few things were changed. The way the vox are done rhythmically sounds really interesting, as if they were chanting in black metal-ness. If only that singer could get a little variation, then he would be awesome. Most of the riffs are really cold and brutal. If only they cut out those weird crappy riffs in the first half that don't fit. The drums are fast, vicious, and well-handled. If only they could write a song at a different tempo than "lightning." The funny thing is, all of the sameness is purged right before track 6 and the rest is much more interesting. I would definitely recommend this album to someone into more brutal black metal, but I would be more interested to see what they will come out with next, as it will likely be more mature than this album.
Even the absolute haters of this band can’t deny they have a decent theme going – ice, white, winter, cold, etc. The white cloaks and masks definitely help the listener understand what they want you to imagine when you spin their debut album “Apocalyptic End In White.” I’m very much a fan of the type of look they’re going for, despite me being indifferent to make-up and corpsepaint and all that sort of stuff.
It comes as a real shame that this album does not have anything “cold” about it. Most of the album is a real assault of speed and precision, crushing the listener with brutality and speed. Unfortunately, that’s all it is. Fast and crushing. The drumming is mostly blasting away over semi-simplistic guitar riffs, which are definitely black metal in their delivery. This basically covers every song on the album, and there are no interludes (except the minute-long intro) that can give you a break or convey the theme of winter or coldness. It’s a real shame that the music is so structured and one-dimensional because every member of this band is definitely capable of their respective roles.
Not all the album is bad, though: The beginning of “Apocalyptic Blizzard Regime” is a slower beast, before going into the blasting, speeding norm. “Cascade Cavern Catharsis” seems to be a more melodic song, despite it still delivering plenty of speed. The guitar riffing in the chorus on that song is perhaps the best, or at least an above-average, on the album.
The vocalist is a talented and important member of this band, and his style very much fits their style musically. There are a lot of vocals in this album, which is a bit of a disappointment, because it would’ve been nice to hear an extended piece of instrumentation, or even an instrumental track. He could’ve been much worse, though, so it’s not that bad that it retracts from the quality of the rest of the album. The lyrics, while there is a lot of rhyming, are quite good, which is (once again) a pity that the music doesn’t reflect their message properly.
There are good and bad qualities to be found here. The band members are more than capable of using their instruments (or voice), and they deliver plenty of speed. The production is also quite clear, so all members can be heard properly. However, the songs are all similar in structure, tempo, and intensity, which means you will hear similar things throughout the album, particularly the second half, where some of you are waiting for it to end or for the music to give you something different and fresh. It’s not the worst, and in fact it can be very enjoyable. I just hope they can do more, if they release another album.
Best tracks: Astral Frost Invocation, Upheaving The Ancient Thirst, Cascade Cavern Catharsis
At the very least with their white masks and cloaks and the blue and white colours on the album sleeve, I.C.E. stand apart from the rest of the black metal crowd visually but musically it's another story: the band's aggressive blackened death metal charge can only go so far in ferocity and proficiency, and proves to be not at all original where it really counts. You hope that when a band boasting musicians already known to be good at what they do and who can play well together, and presenting a concept that's obviously BM yet cartoony and not taking itself seriously, comes along that its music will be good and maybe even great. But what we get here is an album that's big on speed, attack, technical proficiency, a big production and ... not much else.
There are eleven songs with a running time of over 38 minutes: that in itself says most tracks are short with not much development of riffs, melodies or rhythms or they're all crammed together in a package so tight they're easy to miss in the resulting blur. A lot of songs are brief hot blasts of machine-gun drumming and bass-heavy guitars and don't have a very distinct identity, they almost bleed into one another. Each song also features a lot of singing for such short pieces so there's not much space for instrumental guitar riffs to stand out. As soon as you hear something that threatens to be mid-paced and melodic and actually quite interesting, as in "Onward Banshee Legions", it gets swept out of the way by more hammering percussion and seesawing mathy death metal-style guitar work.
The lyrics to the songs are not bad, they're not too much like the frightful purply prose often seen within and without the Metal genre and they're surprisingly evocative and visual even though they trade in familiar demonic fantasy / Viking mythology / end-of-world apocalypse subject matter and the inevitable victory of the ice gods over errant humanity in claiming dominion of the planet Earth. Nearly every song refers to whiteness in some way - snow, ice, the Arctic regions, winter - so everything is linked to the eventual Whitewash of civilisation and humans. It's a shame therefore that nothing in the music or its production indicates the encroachment of eternal winter, not even a few breaths of cold air or discreet sprinkles of ice-crystal atmosphere or snowflakes between tracks, cliched though these little details are.
The production is clean which it needs to be for the band's technical style but it adds little to the concept behind the album. I.C.E. could have gone for something much more icy and glacial that could have made the guitars steely and the drums sharper if perhaps less solid. The atmosphere can still remain clear even with this kind of production.
Some of the more interesting tracks include "Onward Banshee Legions" for being slightly slower and melodic; "Cascade Cavern Catharsis" for an insane guitar intro; "Convulsing Frigid Death" (bass guitar droning groove early on); and "Behold thy Frozen Arctic Kingdom" which in parts is more melodic BM than the rest of the album. The outro "Ravaskeith's Revenge" should be a really important track as it deals with a soul's transformation but it's not different from the other tracks and misses out on being climactic and exultant. Now that something approaching emotion has been mentioned, it strikes me how there really is very little emotion on this album; the band's all-out assault on the senses and constant death metal twisting and turning don't allow for emotion or dynamic structure in the music.
Considering the raw materials involved in this recording, I found it very disappointing: the musicians bring a lot of potential, the concept though hackneyed is still strong and there can always be a new angle in there somewhere, and the lyrics are batty enough but the music turns out to be one-dimensional. Too much emphasis is laid on attack-attack all the time and split-second careening all over the record: this might be all right for death metal up to a point but black metal needs something different and more varied. It's very easy also to get the impression the guys were showing off what they can do.
Pretentious wankers dressing up in white cloaks pretending they're possessed by ancient ice spirits or some other bollocks sounds rather amusing at first, in fact I had a hearty fucking chuckle when I read an interview of these musicians. At this point I could only assume their music must have some merit, some sort of redeeming quality that could explain their inane behaviour. I can only assume I was drunk at some point because I had managed to forget the one minor detail that would send this idyllic thought flying right out the window; they play Black Metal. Oh boy did I feel the slimy trail of yolk dribble down my face when I queued this album up for listening. It's bollocks, shite, crap, awful, lamentable and some other words I don't care to mention. Okay it's not quite that bad but it's a far cry from what I was expecting, it's quite obvious that the band read quite heavily from Marduk's book on 'how to blast and tremolo pick the listener to death' which is probably the shittiest book to have ever been 'written'. Thankfully they do add a bit of variation here and there in the form of slowing down or even having a completely different riff! Drums are set to blast near perpetually and at other times they just keep the beat, which is nice I suppose.
Some notable positives about this album are few and far between, for one I really do enjoy actually being able to hear the bass lines even if they aren't particularly adept. Although I think this can be attributed heavily to the high production values, the guitar tone is crisp but manage to sit alongside nicely with the drums creating ye olde wall of sound that has been perpetuated for too fucking long now. The song names are pretty neat as are the lyrics, although a lot of this is due to the members of this band being off their meds no doubt. Unfortunately that's where the positives end really, I'd love to say I enjoy a particular song but the problem is that all they do is blast on pretty much every song and then somewhere around the middle they'll add in a different section once or twice just to say they've managed to write wholly different songs; the difference between 'Hypothermic Possession' and 'Onward Banshee Legions' is so minute it's petty, you could easily interchange those parts and you'd be none the wiser. Oh I'm sure there are certain technical differences and there may be a slight tempo change or a different measure; I'm sorry but that shit doesn't fucking fly.
I think more than anything I'm really disappointed with this band and it's potential to be really inventive or interesting, especially considering the whole back story and characterisation they've got going as a basis for lyrics and further more for song compositions. They could have produced black metal with a real atmospheric, and frosty edge that evokes powerful imagery combined with some batshit insane lyrics to really drive home the whole motto of; lost in tundra = fucks your grey matter to a fine dust. Instead they've appealed to the lowest common denominator by peddling a simplistic style of blast/tremolo black metal that continues the fine tradition of being uninventive and fucking retarded for the sake of maintaining this utterly futile culture surrounding that of being 'kvlt'. Fuck that shit I say, break that fucking mold along with other bands like Peste Noire and Wolves in the Throne Room. I'm sure 'Panzer Division Marduk' was really cool the first listen through but there are other ways of making a truly great black metal album and copying Marduk is not the first step.
Many praise this album as being the savior of USBM, but this is really not the case. When did unoriginal lyrics, death metal drumming and boring guitar riffs become concidered something to enjoy in black metal? Don't get me wrong, this album is decent, but it lacks in originality and emotion. If you hadn't figured it out by now Tony Laureno is the drummer for this band, along with other members from Aurora Borealis. If you, know anything about Tony you will know that he has been the drummer for acts such as Nile, God Dethroned and Belphegor, and has also been the live drummer for many great black metal acts like Nachtmystium and 1349, and he has played for the infamous Dimmu Borgir. I have heard his work in Nile and I saw him play live with 1349 and Dimmu Borgir, and let me tell you, he needs to stick to death metal. His style really does not work with the black metal sound. If you don't know what I mean then compare the drumming on "In their darkened shrines" by Nile to the drumming on Hellfire by 1349. The styles, while similar in speed, differ greatly in mood and feeling. This is my first problem with the album.
Secondly, this band complains about being compared to Immortal, but how can people overlook the obvious similarities between the two bands lyrics? ICE has used a very cliche concept in the black metal world and made it their own by wearing kabuki masks and white robes. The atmosphere of the album is not even as chilly as that of say, Blizzard beasts by the great Immortal. The guitar riffs are very bland aswell. They seem to just carry on from one song to the other with no memorable moments save the first real song on the album with the intro vocal "We are fucking ICE!" which is probably the best part of the entire album.
Now there are soom thing about this album that I do enjoy, one of the things being the vocals which are very fitting. It is not so much that this album is bad, but rather that it is NOT good. The whole doesn't pick up any presence. I can't sit down and listen to this entire album, its just too boring. But I digest, the intro is pretty great, and the the following song seems to really be going somewhere, but after 3 or 4 songs I just get annoyed.
Pick this up if you think that you like Tony's drumming mixed with "black" metal aesthetics presented in an icy, frost-bitten apocalypse. If you think that my warnings are valid, then just download it, don't spend 15 or so dollars on it.
Regardless of the fact that I.C.E. may or may not be an Immortal rip-off or a complete joke, the power of this album can't be denied. Containing a sound more similar to the early Norwegian bands on amphetamines than the hordes of "kvlt" bedroom projects that have been emerging from the U.S. in recent years, "Apocalyptic End in White" is a collection of frost-bitten, speed-laden black metal that will make you say, "Brr..."
Before we discuss the music, I'd like to discuss everything about the artwork and layout. I.C.E. are definitely one of the more mysterious bands I've run across lately. Of course, all of the members use fairly typical pseudonyms, which tie in with the image, music, and lyrics: Blissered, Mammoth, Icesickkill, Bleak. Rumors have circulated that I.C.E. features members of Divine Rapture and Aurora Borealis, but nothing has been confirmed. The sense of mystery goes even further by the band's supposed "message" and their dress, which is simply white robes with plain white masks. "Apocalyptic End in White" also has some incredible artwork; the band's logo isn't overbearing and illegible, and the illustrations of blizzards devouring all life mark a wonderful coorelation with the cryptic lyrics that revolve around the coming of an entity named Raveskeith to dominate the world with endless, bitter winter.
As for the music, it is a true, worthy salute to the visions of merciless, cold, and grim black metal. The production brings out the best aspects of the music; it's clear without being "polished". Every song contains a certain wintry ambience created by the whirling maelstrom of blistering riffs, and the piercing vocals add a seeting, venomous edge to round out the sound. Guitars are fucking incredible. There's nothing fancy, but the power and conviction behind the compositions is incredible. "Cascade Cavern Catharsis" utilizes cold harmonies and grim-faced breakdowns, and the opening cuts will send a surge of adrenaline through your veins. There are also some more epic moments, such as "Glacial Lyckanthropic Horde" and "Behold thy Frozen Arctic Kingdom." Whatever it may be, the riffs on this album never fail.
The drumwork on this album is another high point. The sheer speed of the double bass makes one think that the drummer isn't even human. Blastbeats are the dominant thing here, but even these are kept fresh with the occasional splice in thrash beats or accents on the cymbals. There is no visible sign of tiring or being exhausted, either; it's totally relentless. I'll be the first to say that the drums were produced wonderfully; they use a full, clear sound that is neither sterile nor triggered... Thank God.
What makes "Apocalyptic End in White" so effective is the thick production. For a black metal album, the overall execution is flawless without sounding like it was "Pro-Tooled." The bass is audible at most points and does a sufficient job of making the album that much more ambient and atmospheric.
"Apocalyptic End in White" is sure to melt (or freeze) your face off. Totally merciless, cold, grim, and well-constructed black metal. Incredible production, flawless musicianship, great riffs, evil-as-fuck vocals/lyrics and speed-freak drumming. Prepare for an endless winter.
Favorites: "Astral Frost Invocation", "Hypothermic Possession", "Cascade Cavern Catharsis", "Behold thy Frozen Arctic Kingdom."
Hailing from the most frostbitten, desolate, void of Maryland, Imperial Crystalline Entombment have unleashed this agonizing work of pure frost. The only way to even begin to describe "Apocalyptic End in White," would be to start with diversity. This entire album has some of the most diverse, and unique, structures that black metal has to offer. Lyrically I.C.E. are cold, and bitter, yet catching in the rhythms. I.C.E. have taken the frozen darkness of black metal to a more extreme, and aggressive level. To accompany the phenomenal lyrical structures, the vocals pierce through like artic hatred. The dual vocals, death metal, black metal combination, on "Hypothemic Possession," is just violent, hateful, and cold. The brutal kick off of "Astral Frost Invocation," surges adrenaline through me, igniting my hatred like an explosion of freezing wrath.
My next piece of admiration is for the sick, fast drumming. I prefer war influenced black metal, so I generally enjoy blast beats, grinding guitars, and blackend, grim, vocal assaults. The drums on this cd, are a whirlwind of snowblinding, malice. The double kicks at points are so fast I can't believe that someone is really playing it. Beats on this work have everything; lightning blast beats, precise fills, heavy as fuck breakdowns, etc.
Finally the orchestrations of bitter disgust. First I would like to say hail, for down tuning. It seems like a lot of U.S.B.M. bands are afraid to stray from standard E tuning. Amazing guitar work here as well. At times strongly reminding me of "Panzer Division..." era Marduk. This not being bad though. The wide range of atmospheres that I.C.E.'s guitars create leave each moment of this cd flowing without getting boring. Much like the vocals, the guitars are extremely structured well. The tightness of the two guitars are superior. Perfectly arranged, and alligned. Winter has a new set of demons representing the icy, frost. Watch your back Immortal, Imperial Crystalline Entombment have emerged from a darker, more frostbitten, realm. "Apocalyptic End in White," is a definite for any collector of elite, top notch, black metal.
‘Apocalyptic End In White’ features the hands down “coolest” (pardon the pun) album cover on a black metal album EVER. The band members are pictured as alien wizards summoning flying octopi amongst a backdrop of gleaming frost.
From the album’s first frostbitten scream proclaiming “We are fucking I.C.E…” you know that you are in for one hell of an album. And yes, folks Hell HAS frozen over, overtaken by Bleak, Mammoth, Blisserred and Icesickkill, the frost summoning alien wizards from the realm of arctic blasts blinding snow who command the wintry destructive power that is known as Imperial Crystalline Entombment. Insanely fast, chilling blasts propel accelerated black metal rhythms which are accentuated by piercing northern screams and numbing shrieks. The band’s demo EP caused a great stir in the black metal community upon its release, prompting wild speculation about the group and it’s undertakings. A tremendous amount of anticipation has surrounded the release of this album, and with good reason. With ‘Apocalyptic End In White’, I.C.E. have managed to emerge as the black metal band with not only the best image in the genre, but as some of the most incredibly proficient musicians as well.
Summoned from the sub-zero abyss, I.C.E. dominates on tracks such as ‘Astral Frost Invocation’ and ‘Convulsing Frigid Death’. You can’t compare this band to another group of artists in the genre, as I.C.E. have now seized the throne once held by Emperor as the world’s preeminent black metal band. This band is the total package – visuals, lyrics, music, mysterious personas and most of all they take their frigid concept and extend it into every facet of their existence. The bracing speed of ‘Cascade Cavern Catharsis’ slices through your skin while ‘Behold Thy Frozen Arctic Kingdom’ envelops you inside its gelid grasp with blistering licks and a brain freezing breakdown that proves this band does not always need to play at top speed in order to be decisively lethal.
’Upheaving The Ancient Thirst’ unleashes a flurry of Arctic magic, a hailstorm of riffs that drift into one another with a howl like the Northern winds. The unrelenting nature of the band’s sonic attack is remarkable as they slam through blast after blast like a machine. For those that are of the opinion that this band sounds like Immortal, let me clue you in. Immortal cannot touch I.C.E. Period.
Rise winter zombies, Rise! I.C.E. has come forth to chill you to the bone. Behold the frigid winter nightmare that is Imperial Crystalline Entombment!