By Greg D'Avis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Poetry Of Fire
The buzzword for this sort of thing seems to be "post-hardcore," which is accurate in its own way Ä Iceburn was originally formed out of the ashes of mosh-heavy unit Insight Ä but the tag doesn't quite do the band justice.
After all, not many bands labelled as such would be able to pull off their own interpretation of Stravinsky's "Rite Of Spring," as Iceburn did on a previous record, and not many punk bands these days offer up their own interpretations of Miles Davis tunes.
Poetry Of Fire is the third full-length (and we do mean full-length Ä the five songs clock in at over 72 minutes) from this Salt Lake City five-piece (previously a three-piece, and a five-piece again before that), and it's by far their most cohesive effort to date. Iceburn's last album, Hephaestus, was a dull foray into self-indulgence, but despite its monstrous length (did we mention 72 minutes?), Poetry is solid throughout.
Iceburn pretty much transcends all labels Ä the closest approximation would be John Coltrane meets and gets into a street fight with Loose Nut-era Black Flag, with classical undertones. That doesn't work? Try: Iceburn is the soundtrack to your strangest dreams, the ones that vanish when you wake up, leaving you feeling unsettled, but unsure why.
The first three tracks are all new studio endeavors, amalgamations of jazzy improv and hefty guitar wall-o'-sound which alternately lull and crush listeners. Vocals are way, way down in the mix or, most of the time, not present at all.
The album also carries two live tracks, with the second, "Poem Of Fire," turning into a medley of Black Sabbath covers and offering up the most unrestrained burst of fury on Poetry Of Fire. It's the only track with any emphasis on vocals, and it's a mind-blowing way to end the album.
Poetry Of Fire is one of the more difficult releases from the independent music spectrum in some time. It's a riddle, full of unexpected twists and turns which may turn off as many people as it attracts.
Iceburn pretty much defies all attempts at classification and description, and in these days of rampant clonism, that's a good thing, sonny.
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