Saturday, January 4, 2014

Icecocoon - Deepest Crystal Black

Deepest Crystal Black
Owenian Records

Despite a history stretching as far back as some eight years, Adelaide (South Australia) based post rock/progressive outfit Icecocoon are a relatively new act on the scene. But all that is set to change with the release of their new album ‘Deepest Crystal Black’.
With so many years between the release of their debut effort ‘The Sindividual(s)’ (2005) and the release of their new album, it comes as no surprise to find that the band has changed a lot in that time. So much so that it’s not hard to think that it’s only the name of the band that links the two albums together.
Meticulously pieced together over a twelve month period, Icecocoon (Who comprise of vocalist, guitarist, bassist, keyboardist and songwriter Owen Gillett, Blood Red Renaissance bassist Matthew R. Davis and Blood Red Renaissance drummer Tom Kilsby) have returned from their self imposed hiatus to deliver a truly captivating release in ‘Deepest Crystal Black’, with the opening track ‘And Where Now?’ (The first single to be released from the album) showcasing the band’s rather unique take on the hybrid post rock/progressive sound. Although the track is a rather short one (Barely running beyond two and a half minutes), and the song itself rather simplistic in the structural sense, Gillett has managed to produce a guitar sound that’s huge and that well and truly gives the song depth beyond most. Not to be outdone, Davis provides some great bottom end to help bolster Gillett’s thick guitar tones, while Kilsby’s presence proves to be every bit as important. But outside of the sound, it’s the general catchiness of Gillett’s voice and riffs that hook the listener in; elevating what appears to be a simple song into something quite complex when really listened to.
The follow-up track ‘Wreckage’ conjures up comparisons to Devin Townsend’s ‘Ocean Machine: Biomech’ (1997) era with its gentle wave after wave of guitars and Gillett’s wide array of vocals on display (Not to mention his rather convincing Townsend croon on the higher end of his range), and that’s certainly not a bad thing. Again, the song is an inspired mix of the band’s performance and Gillett’s own song writing, which works together to produce a first class song.
From here, the band follow up the former track and take things a step further on the rather impressive ‘Fire To Ice’, while ‘It’s All On The Line’ is a definite stand out with its killer heavy riff driven guiding force and the vast array of stunning melodies and vocals from Gillett himself.
‘The Ende Of August’ represents a change of mood and pace for the album with the band relying more on atmospheric keyboards and sparse guitar work to evoke a melancholy mood reflected in the song’s lyrics, while the instrumental piece ‘At A Clearing’ marks a turning point within the album with its acoustic based sound.
The instrumental piece ‘Death Of A Star’ is without a doubt the heaviest song on the album, which is not surprising given the song is dedicated to the late Pete Steele (Ex-Carnivore/Type O Negative). While there is a touch of Steele’s influence in the guitar work and vocals, the song still has more than enough of the band’s own sound to stand on its own.
Finishing up the album is the short introductory instrumental piece ‘One Year Later’, which is followed closely by the monumental closer ‘About Loving Someone’, which is another personal favourite. Much like some of the previously mentioned efforts, ‘About Loving Someone’ reminds me of Townsend’s work on ‘Ocean Machine: Biomech’ with its deliberate slower pacing, thick yet clear huge sound on the instrumental front and Gillett’s remarkable use of vocals and melodies.
Initially, ‘Deepest Crystal Black’ didn’t really grab me. Perhaps it had something to do with where my mind was at, or merely a case of not listening closely enough. But after giving the album some time to really sink in, it’s clear that Icecocoon has delivered a truly impressive album that needs to be given time to truly appreciate.

For more information on Icecocoon, check out -

© Justin Donnelly