Fitting in with the traditional heavy metal revival bands, Ice War make a very stripped-down brand that only really scrapes from the bottom of the classic influences. Their most recent effort Manifest Destiny is a worthwhile album that doesn’t stick around too long, coming in around the half-hour mark. For the most part, it works as a ride through historical tales and adventurous lyrics done in an accessible manner.
People familiar with Haunt should be able to draw some similarities. The building blocks are quite in-line vocally and instrumentally, but admittedly Ice War isn’t nearly as memorable composition-wise. The main thing that drags them under is mixing. The riffing is steady, not having a whole lot of oomph, but the solos seem to jump out of nowhere barring poor transition. The vocals are also way too high in the mix, but I’ll admit that the bass is quite prominent despite the raw production.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of flavor to taste thanks to the cream-filled center. By that, I mean all of the interesting moments are focused in the middle of the disc. “Edge Of The World” has a super fun structure, between the uplifting bounciness in the riffs and the cymbal tap patterns. “Light Shine On” carries a feeling of hope, led on by a hook that’s sprinkled with higher notes. The chorus here is powerful as well. On the contrary, “I Would Die For You” boasts some sadder vibes to mix it up some.
Manifest Destiny has loads of potential here, and for what it’s worth, it’s solid. There are just some obvious production/mixing gripes that need some serious attention, and a bit more heat in the embers could create a massive fire. Anyone into the newer wave of heavy metal groups should seek this out.