Ice Age -
Waves Of Loss And Power

(CD 2023, 66:49, Sensory Records SR3092)

The tracks:
  1- The Needle's Eye(7:04)
  2- Riverflow(10:48)
  3- Perpetual Child, Part II: Forever(14:35)
  4- Together Now(8:00)
  5- All My Years(4:35)
  6- Float Away(4:31)
  7- To Say Goodbye, Part IV: Remembrance(2:31)
  8- To Say Goodbye, Part V: Water Child(14:45)

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Twenty-four years ago Big Apple based prog metal quartet Ice Age released their debut called The Great Divide. I have listened, and still do, to that magical album a lot; the opening track of The Great Divide called Perpetual Child really blew me away and I still consider that song one of the pinnacles of Ice Age and prog metal in general. I never thought that this notorious band would come up with a new album, but to my surprise Waves Of Loss And Power is Ice Age's third album in 24 years' time indeed.

Ice Age's superb track Perpetual Child (recorded in 1999) is continued here with Perpetual Child Part 2: Forever and it is again an awesome prog metal epic clocking in over fourteen minutes, which is even longer than the first part. The four guys from the beginning are still there, being: Josh Pincus (vocals), Jimmy Pappas (guitars), Doug Odell (bass guitar) and Hal Aponte (drums) and the sound and musical style of Ice Age has not changed, thank god for that, at all on their third album in almost a quarter of a century. Ice Age's sound is an extraordinary blend of the best of Shadow Gallery, Dream Theater, VandenPlas, Kansas, Rush and Symphony X, so the best prog metal sound ever indeed, mixed and mastered by Rich Mouser, who also worked with Transatlantic, Dream Theater and Spock's Beard, so, there you are!

Waves Of Loss And Power (excellent title by the way) almost clocks in at seventy minutes, but that is definitely not one bloody minute too long as there are absolutely no fillers on this spectacular “comeback” album, which will end up very high in my list of favourite albums of 2023 for sure! Eight tracks complete this album and five of them are epic prog metal gems which I can listen to almost endlessly; yes, I know this may sound exaggerated but I cannot help myself here as especially The Needle's Eye, Perpetual Child Part 2: Forever and To Say Goodbye Part 5: Water Child belong to the best prog metal songs I have heard in a very long time indeed! Opener The Needle's Eye is just as spectacular as the opening track on Ice Age's debut album, so heavy riffing by Pappas as his guitar crunches and grinds through the entire track, lots of tempo twists and turns, excellent vocal parts and sheer prog metal finesse all the way, so a sweeping song of breadth and ambition for sure. So, The Needle's Eye a powerful kick in the teeth with epic passages and even middle eastern sounding licks; a more than excellent opener. Follow up Riverflow kicks off with a short piano introduction before the electric guitars take over and this song is a really indescribable display of melodic prog metal, as it is filled with delightful and exciting melodies, awesome vocals and some intriguing guitar solos. All My Years and Float Away are the two “short” songs of this album and they are really more rock-influenced tracks. All My Years is even kind of radio-friendly with a catchy melody and chorus, while Float Away is again really Ice Age-like and here Pappas 'soaring guitar solo steals the show. The songs To Say Goodbye Part One and To Say Goodbye Part Two can be found on Ice Age's debut album, while To Say Goodbye Part Three is featured on Liberation, their second album; now twenty-two years later this musical saga continues with To Say Goodbye Part Part Four: Remembrance and To Say Goodbye Part Part Five: Water Child. Remembrance is a kind of overture for the last part, being a solo piano piece before the real epic kicks off. Water Child is a prog metal epic that ebbs and flows, featuring Ice Age's unique style, a great ending to an astonishing “come back” album indeed as Water Child eschews any sense of boredom as not a second of this song, clocking in at nearly fifteen minutes is wasted.

Welcome back Ice Age, one of the best prog metal bands of our time. Waves Of Loss And Power is probably the best prog metal album of the year 2023, so check it out and play it LOUD!!

***** Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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