Monday, July 30, 2012

Ice Dragon/Kroh Split 7"

The ever prolific psyche/doom outfit, Ice Dragon, has teamed up with industrial influenced miscreants, Kroh, for a split 7” that is a diametrically opposed study in the dark arts separated by both essence and execution. Musically, both bands unleash up-tempo rockers that are thoroughly distinct within their catalogues while managing to maintain a semblance of familiarity to each band’s chosen path. Birmingham, England’s Kroh infuse a dose of early 90’s, Wax Trax! era industrial rock that is equal parts 1000 Homo DJs, ‘Psalm 69’ era Ministry, and the Butthole Surfers at their most mainstream, without sounding as abrasive or experimental as any of the above bands. Ice Dragon, on the other hand, embrace their familiar lo-fi production to beckon forth a galloping, sword-and-sorcery fueled anthem straight from the Enchanted World.

Kroh’s offering, “White Lies”, is an anomalous union of tribal drumming, charged industrial guitar riffs, and melodious vocals. The vocals of Francis Anthony are a distinguishing characteristic of Kroh’s sound and a key element that really separates the band from many of their influences. Kroh ignores the dominance of heavily distorted vox celebrated and selectively employed by many of the late 80’s/early 90’s era industrial acts in favor of a style that is more tuneful and saccharine. While initially cloy, the vocals offer an interesting juxtaposition to the dark lyrical content and instrumentation that dominates the band’s songs. “White Lies” easily stands out as one of Kroh’s strongest tunes to date and, despite its divergent approach, complements Ice Dragon’s contribution to the split.

“The Hooves of My Lord” gallops up and tramples the listener from the onset with a mesmerizing, infectious riff suitable as a soundtrack for strutting your stuff at the renaissance faire in a homemade tunic.  The track marches along triumphantly—slowing down to allow for some psychedelic lead guitar—only to bridle up and dash into the nether at a breakneck pace. Hail to thee, Oh Minotaur. This may be one of Ice Dragon’s catchiest endeavors and, yet again, illustrates that their creative depths are seemingly boundless.

The Ice Dragon/Kroh split is essential listening for fans of either band as both bands have contributed memorable, catchy tunes that make this split 7” a worthwhile purchase. The 7” is limited to 80 orange and 120 green discs of standard weight vinyl, so pick this up before it’s gone for good. Track it down through either band’s Facebook or Bandcamp page.

Words: Steve Miller
(Originally published at Doommantia)

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