ICE, or Imperial Crystalline Entombment, offers listeners bitter cold and blistering rage. Apocalyptic End in White, the Maryland group’s ferocious debut, is the work of committed black metal ascetics. The album recalls Immortal in both its mythology and disgustingly fast technical ability, but End in White is ICE’s own for those very same reasons. Its commitment to black metal’s most extreme textures is completely realized, from its cloaks and masks to the grandiose lyrics, lycanthropic imagery, towering guitars and the torturous fast-forward nightmare of percussion that rages without quarter for the album’s entirety. The action takes place on the windswept tundra, where the deity “Råvaskeith” metes out cold justice with the back of his hand. Banshee legions clash mightily with wolves who stand upright, and the snowfield steams with the blood they’ve spilled. Like a coward on the battlefield, there’s no real escape from the LP’s rapidly marching pace. However, there are impressive dynamics buried in the squall, such as the lulling intro to “Apocalyptic Blizzard Regime” that sets up its frenetic apex, and guitars that periodically shift “Convulsing Frigid Death” into a lurching, hesitating meter. Powerfully imagined and explosively played, ICE’s Apocalyptic End in White is helping to kill nü-metal dead.
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.