IceThurS – Unlocked Door (2016)

This is the debut album from Russian experimental folk/thrash/death/electronic three-piece IceThurS. Of the nine tracks, each one gives a different feeling and I’ll have to break that down here. The album opens with a native language cut very much in the vein of Viking metal replete with folk instruments, pummeling bass riffs, razorblade scowls and clean female chants. “Gift” turns the whole thing into an electronic/industrial metal act complete with downtuned bass that reminds me of something like early Blood Stain Child. The female vocals still remain despite the change in sound and much weightier vocal element, but I can’t say that I mind them. “Compotator” begins with a man vomiting in the toilet, some rustling bags and then full-on The Crown style death/thrash. Blasts are utiized in the piece as well as happy choruses, where the female vocals are yet still a part of this band. It’s very odd to hear such a heavy approach with these cleans, but it works for the band and really allows them to stand out. I’ve heard three songs from this band so far and have gotten a different act with almost every approach. Interesting.

“White Road” returns us back to the folk of the opener as it comes off with a very traditional approach that later transforms into a heavily unexpected instrumental pounder. This is actually quite cool, as most bands would have recorded the track at a straight-forward level, where no extreme sections were utilized at all. It will depend on the kind of listener you are as to whether or not you think this is overkill, but it keeps me listening and I’ll allow it. “Loki” comes next, with a very avantgarde feel. It’s a heavy track with a scant bit of folk and clean vocal, which later builds strength and becomes a bit more fierce. The next piece is another native language cut that more or less transforms a native folk song from it’s traditional structure into that of metal. Following that we have “War” which combines the downtuned riffs, folk instruments and slight electronics to create a more contemporary approach, complete with a nice little solo section. It’s one of the band’s more modern moments, that’s for sure – but it’ll appeal to fans of modern deathcore stuff more than some of the other tracks here. As we continue, we approach “Vengeance Of Veles” which sounds a little bit like Italian folk music with a slightly more operatic approach. Later it becomes a sort of tribal chant.

The album’s final cut and title track is a bit of a clusterfuck, it seems like a little bit of everything is going on here and I can’t quite discern the nature of the piece. It has sections that I can see as modern groove, but there’s literally so much experimenting in one place that I’ll admit they’ve kind of lost me. That might be a bit of a detriment to the whole thing really, as the band first inroduce a few songs in different styles, only to have them mix together in so many ways that it becomes indiscernible towards the very end of it. Maybe a “less is more” approach might help these guys a little. In any case, I would recommend at least giving it a listen and you can do that on the enclosed Bandcamp link following this review. What can I say? It’s different, but maybe so different that structure seems to have been thrown right out the window. There’s a point where we must eventually ask ourselves, “how much is too much?”

(9 Tracks, 35:00)



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