Music | In The Middle review Iceage ‘Plowing Into the Field of Love’

Iceage don’t strike as an ordinary post-punk group; over just a couple of years this Danish team has managed to become the flagman of the narrow subgenre of raw, almost warrior-like in its aggression Scandinavian punk music and break through to the bright side of underground music scene. Though at some point the band’s embracement of this style might have become a tad too passionate – in 2013 Iceage were accused of using «nazi-like» symbols in their image – the collective had denied fuelling things on purpose. Instead, Iceage have now decided to take a different path as their sound experiences a curious transformation on their third album, the name of which already seems to warn us about the said shift, being titled «Plowing Into the Field of Love».

Indeed, the very first track on the album, ‘On My Fingers’ features Elias Bender Ronnenfelt chanting in a noticeably more lyrical manner comparing to the half-crazed and howling style he would normally demonstrate on the band’s two previous offerings, while still keeping the mythical nature of his messages. Nevertheless, the reckless guitars on following fast-paced ‘The Lord’s Favorite’ and ‘How Many’ make Iceage sound like an extra twisted and dark Peter Doherty’s side project, and that appears problematic to call it a positive change. ‘Forever’, though, is a different story as the Danes bring in violins in such a fashion that it actually fits the album’s aesthetics and makes up for a truly solid, well-structured single, just like the use of horns on the album’s closer crafty spices it up. To top it off, there are songs like ‘Cimmerian Shade’ that are good reminders that Iceage can still pull off that original mighty Nordic sound.

‘Plowing Into the Field of Love’ is quite tricky in a way that while Iceage did moderate their sonic image and came up with a decent record as a result, it is difficult to shrug off the feeling that it is not exactly their cup of tea. However, it is worth noting that Iceage were not afraid to take the risk of leaving their comfort zone to seek the ways to develop their sound further and definitely succeed to prove that they’ve grown up as musicians.

Stepan Nilov

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