|Review: Ice War - Sacred Land|
Label: Fighter Records
Year released: 2021
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: June 4, 2021
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Rated 3.45/5 (69.09%) (11 Votes)
Sacred Land is the fifth full-length album from Jo Capitalicide's Ice War in the past four or so years. That's not counting the shorter releases or his output from other projects like Aphrodite, so the man is productive. I've reviewed quite a few Ice War releases and none have impressed me much, so I was intrigued when Sacred Land came into my review queue with the news that the musical direction was shifting from speed metal to a doomier, epic style. I like the riffs on this album and Capitalicide has done a decent job of creating a more expansive atmosphere, very different from the immediacy of his prior speed metal output. "Nuclear Gods" has similarities to Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" in both songwriting and lyrics and leads the way on an album that embraces that kind of vibe. Where Sacred Land loses me is Capitalicide's vocals. I don't know if he sings off-key and with an annoyed tone on purpose or if that's just the way he sounds but his voice does the music no favors. The chorus on "Nuclear Gods," an otherwise cool song, is flat and lifeless where it should be loud and attention-grabbing. Songs like "Slay the Beast" and "So Far Away" suffer similar fates, being decent musically but hampered by dull, repetitious and/or out of tune singing.
On the one hand, I like the direction Ice War takes on Sacred Land. Points to Capitalicide for trying something different and going all-in. On some levels, it really works. On the other hand, he needs to improve the singing if he wants to take this band to the next level.
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