Friday 27 August 2021

Iceburn - Asclepius (Album Review)

Release Date: June 25th 2021. Record Label: Southern Lord Recordings. Format: DD/CD/Vinyl

Asclepius - Tracklisting

1.Healing the Ouroboros 18:48 

2.Dahlia Rides the Firebird 17:49


Joseph "Chubba" Smith -Drums 

James Holder - Guitars 

Gentry Densley - Guitars, Vocals 

Cache Tolman - Bass


I was a huge fan of Iceburn back in the late 90s with their blend of Jazz/Experimental Rock with later releases seeing the band venture into Doom Metal. Iceburn released their last album back in 2001 and the band has now returned with Asclepius. The album feels like it has been 20 years in the making with iceburn revisiting their earlier Jazz Fusion Metal sound with elements of Hardcore, Psych and at twisted style of Doom Metal.

I became a fan of Eagle Twin (Gentry Densley’s other fantastic band) because of Iceburn as I wanted to hear what Gentry had in store for his new musical adventure. However this is Iceburn’s chance to shine once more with this album. The record is firmly rooted in heavy Jazz Fusion textures with Progressive Metal and Doom Metal being added at the later stages. The album contains two tracks running 18 minutes in length and the Drone/Industrial atmosphere is quite experimental with a heavy Start-Stop sludgy presence. This is most definitely vintage Iceburn but given a 21st Century Makeover with the guys using their years of experience wisely and playing muscular slabs of Doom Metal.

This record does remind me of Eagle Twin's last album in many ways but still remaining truly original on it’s own technical and creative merits. Both songs follow the same creative pattern of heavy Jazz based Rock/Metal passages with a foreboding sense of Doom lurking in the background. Though, the moments of Classic Hard Rock and Twin Guitar riffs lighten the mood along the way.

Opening song - Healing The Ouroboros - is my favourite song with Iceburn being more adventurous and daring on this track. With its endless changes in musical beats and tempos for a rather solidifying sound that really comes alive when the Jazzy sounds meet with the Doom Metal grooves then everything becomes a weirdly exciting style of heavy music.

Second song - Dahlia Rides The Firebird - is another crazy exposure into Iceburn’s psyche and this is perhaps the heaviest offering with moments of pure twisted carnage. Maybe not as strong as the opening song but still a thrilling spectacle of Experimental Doom Metal.

Asclepius is perhaps the most technically impressive record I’ve heard this year and that’s down to the sheer variety of different styles the band play for this release. I’m hoping we don’t have to wait another 20 years for an Iceburn release. As this is an essential listening experience for long-time fans of the band but it also allows first time listeners the perfect opportunity to discover this great band all for themselves.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Lauren at Rarely Unable PR for the promo. Asclepius is available to buy now on DD/Vinyl via Southern Lord Recordings.


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