Ice Age – Waves of Loss and Power (Sensory Records)Friday, 10th March 2023
Part of the Magna Carta roster during the late 90’s/early 2000’s, Ice Age flew the flag for progressive rock/metal in the New York area at a time when internet bulletin boards were all the rage to discover new artists in your favored genres. Waves of Loss and Power allows the quartet to return gracefully to a scene that has evolved tremendously – so much so they are a part of the ProgPower USA festival this coming fall. These eight songs continue the fine depth of stellar musicianship, synchronizing interplay, tempo shifting, as well as executing killer hooks and melodies to cohesively express musical ideas in such a way that the appeal isn’t just for the trained set, but also the ardent progressive mavens.
Immediate standout aspects to the quartet’s style include the proper ability to draw attention through strong main musical components that build out into crisp branches of virtuoso mastery beyond the classically-trained, multi-octave melodies from keyboardist Josh Pincus. His penchant for emotional-laden theatrical lines melds the best of 70’s/80’s heroes like Steve Walsh and Dennis DeYoung to make “Perpetual Child, Part II: Forever” and “All My Years” compelling frontrunners on first (or consecutive) playbacks. Experience pays off whether the song is compact or epic – these gentlemen knowing when to lay back into a bit more of a calmer, groovier segment or go full force in propulsive, progressive passages that drop jaws – producing numerous compelling movements should you choose to look at the songs in collective form or break them down instrument by instrument. The opener “The Needle’s Eye” features killer fills / time signature juggling out of bassist Doug Odell and drummer Hal Aponte, while guitarist Jimmy Pappas weaves a mix of crunchy riffs plus psychedelic/jazzy lines to provide dynamic aural appeal. With three songs spanning the ten to almost fifteen-minute mark, comparisons to acts like Rush, Dream Theater, and Symphony X abound – but there’s also this 70’s progressive angle where Kansas, Styx, and those offspring are influential to where Ice Age want to take their sound.
At 66 minutes, Waves of Loss and Power does live up to the progressive rock/metal tag – yet doesn’t seem to exhaust or overwhelm due to its conscious balance between musicality and catchy, connected songwriting. Welcome back to the fold – let’s hope that the second time around proves to be beneficial for a decent run of killer records, as this feels like Ice Age could be the comeback act of the year through this amazing album.