30 Oct 2020 - Thorsten
Blackened-Death-Grind | Division Records | Release date: 30 Oct 2020
One of the more extreme bands to come out of Switzerland recently is Icare from La Chaux De Fonds.
Revisiting your own work can be painful if you notice that what you produced is not the best possible result. Nevertheless, it can also indicate a new, a fresh, a more relevant start. Finally, such a revision can also finalize a process that one was not aware of when starting out initially, because in the meantime one has gathered so much information and experience that the original product is not what one wants to keep. The latter was the case for Swiss blackened death-grind outfit Icare.
The band was founded in 2016 and their album Khaos is the third incarnation of music they wrote more than two years ago but which they kept rewriting – once for the stage and once after witnessing the performance of fellow Swiss-metallers Euclidean. What was pure grind-chaos before is now not less powerful and brutal but it is “only” one part of the ride. The band now has added parts that turn the songs more into the post-metal or also blackgaze direction. When looking at the tracklist, it is pretty remarkable that the tracks are listed according to the length of the songs, starting with the 35-seconds-whip “Khaos” and ending with the twenty-minute-noisecore-epic “Le Dernier Souverain Du Royaume Déchu”, even more remarkable is the fact that the record still makes sense as a whole.
If Briqueville wrote grindcore-songs, “Cauchemar” or “Emmuré” would be something they might use for their rituals. If Ulcerate strove for post-metal epics, “Nuit de Glace Au-Dessus du Sepulchre Noir” or the aforementioned final track could be theirs. This is for fans of atmospheric black metal as well as for tech-death aficionados. You will be blown away by the ultrasonic speed of the songs and then you will be reeled back in by those little dots and sparkling guitar motifs. And then you arrive at the final three songs and their combined running time of 32 minutes, 47 seconds (of totally 59 minutes). Those final songs make this record stand out. Especially “Le Dernier Souverain Du Royaume Déchu” is one of those tracks which are easy to fall in love with but hard to understand how the five Swiss fellows construct such a dense mood because a lot of it happens with us only hearing it subconsciously. Of course, there is the wonderfully melancholic guitar picking to start the track but the swings are achieved by just a small increase in the number of hits on the cymbals which together with a slightly deeper tuning makes the hair stand on end. With the full drum-kit setting in it becomes obvious that the next change will come along – and it does so after roughly 2:40 minutes. For a short moment the whirlwind is working more on the subconscious level just before the well-trained drummer notches up a few steps before finally releasing his inner animal and pounding out blastbeats and chugga-chuggas without sweating a bead.
This track is definitely closer to All We Love We Leave Behind than to You Fail Me and it is in little things like the crunchy bass lines after roughly six minutes that the fascination is born in. A monster of a track – never surrendering itself to calm and peace. The calm parts are held together by an awesome group of musicians.
Another proof why we are living during a phase of songwriting skills and capacities unmatched before? Take Icare and their Khaos which is much more than that – it’s more of a rebirth. For a scene, a moment, and many more. If you notice anything strange, feel free to contact the blind and the paranoid; or just keep the little things to you so that you and no one else knows about this mesmerizing new band which embraces chaos more than anything else. I care about Icare, fellows. And maybe you should do so, too.