Saturday, February 21, 2015

Iceburn 7"

Utah's Iceburn, much to my complete and utter confusion, was a band that was overlooked by about 95% of the scene during their heyday, and the gap between kids who were into them and those who weren't seemed to widen with every release. This was especially true of the later, more LSD-influenced improv jazz stuff (when they were known as The Iceburn Collective). The band was always totally off of the map as far as what people considered to be "hardcore punk", particularly for a band whose records were released by the two bigger labels in the scene circa 1994: Revelation and Victory. I heard a ton of responses similar to "Ugh, really? Iceburn?" during my high school years and shortly thereafter when discussing our favorite bands of the day with friends. Most people just didn't seem to "get it".

In the early days when they were a Victory Records band (circa 1991-1992), they had a somewhat off-kilter, D.C. / post-hardcore sound going for them. This stuff was executed fantastically well because, simply put, they were dope f'n musicians and knew how use their supreme songwriting skills to craft bombastic, meandering and heavy tunes with lots of tempo changes and plenty of distinction. After you heard their first full length Firon once, you knew exactly who you were listening to when you went to your friend's house a few days later and he/she was playing the same album, even though you were pretty sure he didn't own it.

It was around 1994, the year this two song 7" was released (on the sensational Art Monk Construction record label), the band found themselves drifting away from the heavier stuff and more towards the experimental, acid-jazz shit. Which, for the record, was also really good...just different. And mostly instrumental. This two song jam came out in between the two definitive, pants-poopingly great Iceburn masterpieces, the Hephaestus and Poetry Of Fire full lengths. "Moon" was recorded in November 1993, and "Brew #9" is from a live show the band played during March of the same year in their hometown of Salt Lake City. Members of Iceburn / The Iceburn Collective went on to play in Rival Schools, Helmet, Eagle Twin, Danger Hailstorm, Jets To Brazil and Ascend. I've always been a huge fan of original drummer Joseph Chad Smith's diverse playing style, and to this day dude is still a pretty big influence for me.

This band is/was clearly not for everyone, but those who could weather the storm of weirdness and keep an open mind were treated to one of the most rewarding, albeit underrated, punk bands of the 1990s. If you've never heard the band before, this seven inch probably isn't the best place you could start, but it would give you a decent idea of their style, saxophone and all. This gem is AMC #5, in case you were keeping score at home, and comes from the era when the label was based in Pennsylvania, not Virginia.


1) Moon
2) Brew #9 (live)

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