Thank God - Ice/Age [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Thank God

Ice/Age [12-inch] (2010)

Exotic Fever

Thank God has been kicking around for about five years now, but only last year managed to release a proper full-length debut, Ice/Age. My only prior experience with this band involves a split EP with Tigershark, where I could only describe them best as "screamy, Gravity-style hardcore" with a few special twists. While Ice/Age largely stakes out the same territory, a spastic and fairly violent attack wet and wild enough to remain compelling enough for its half-hour, it's probably even more out there than their past stuff.

For starters, the opening title track panics and sways like a dizzier Antioch Arrow before bumbling, off-kilter "singing" comes in, tapping early '90s Jesus Lizard. And then the track becomes an ambient, haunting smear. "Chicken/Dance" has a bit of Arab on Radar's grindy and needly pinch, while "Cash/Mere" honestly adopts some of Jello Biafra's tone-deaf wails. This is a good thing, believe it or not.

"Set/Go" is a mid-point adventure. It starts by providing some of the band's more accessible moments, and while calling the flatly sung introduction noise pop is probably generous, compared to the rest of Ice/Age, it may as well be. However, the track quickly mutates into something like a combo between '80s Flipper-style hardcore and that early '90s screamo scene they're so indebted to. By its last minute, it feels like the song is melodically referencing the Nation of Ulysses' "The Sound of Jazz to Come" (particularly the "We dance on your grave every night" lyric). That band might influence "Hugo/Chavez (1)" too, though its instrumentation and playing sounds decidedly non-Western.

There's really little order and mode to the way Thank God navigate this album. It's just a brutal, high-pitched, feedback-enriched onslaught for its course, but the thing is, they do this well. But let's be up front, here: Ice/Age is a pretty niche release. Aficionados of the screamy, noisy, experimental and spastic should find something to like here; most others will probably find it pretty obnoxious. If you fall in the former camp, Ice/Age should find you fairly well.