Ice Ages has a long history in the EBM world dating back nearly 25 years. With roots in the black metal genre, Richard Lederer has found a path to fuse his vast experiences in multiple genres to create a well designed EBM frame with drifting tendrils breaching boundaries and pulling in sounds to deliver a crisp and punishing statement.
Lederer is a producer from Vienna that started his music career in the early 90’s playing in the cult black metal band Summoning. Summoning started in 1993 and is credited as a “Parent of Tolkiean Black Metal”. By 1995 or so the band was focusing heavily on keyboards and atmospheric influences. In 1997, Lederer’s EBM alter ego Ice Ages released their debut album Strike The Ground. Strike The Ground was subsequently followed up by The Killing Emptiness (2000), Buried Silence (2008), Nulify (2019) and finally Vibe Of Scorn (2021).
Vibe Of Scorn delivers eight protracted anthems mixing themes of existential and metaphysical despair set to a ritualistic pace that gnaws at you like crows to carrion. It’s methodical in its design and dark in its delivery. The details within the tracks showcase the signatures to the process of procuring the perfect sound. Lederer definitely harvests influence from the metal realm without sounding metal. There is the eeriness that finds a way to tear at our senses with a cold wave of atmospherics laced with desires to forge ahead deeper into the synthetic soundscapes Ice Ages have meticulously crafted. Ice Ages certainly cultivated an intriguing sound which at times can be EBMish (“Tragic Potion”) and in other moments (“As Winter Comes”) it almost feels like a score to some fantasy film with the atmospherics built into the multiple layers and rhythmic sequences that pull imagery of medieval warriors marching to wage war against a bestial scourge plaguing the land. “The Extinction” and “Filthy Cloud” resonate with more cold electronics. The sound of dragging chains across a stone floor or the clanging of steel on steel seep into background. There is an echoing that paints a picture of chambers dimly lit with lanterns, where the last rays of the setting sun never intrude, perhaps an ancient prison? There are moments when experimental pieces mesh with hints of The Klinik in their classic glory to yield an ominous yet delightful sound.
The vocals sound distinct yet familiar. They tend to dominate the overall sound. All songs are between seven to almost nine minutes which leaves plenty of time to enjoy every aspect of all eight tracks. There’s an organic feel to vocals. The common ground between melodic and abrasive is the dwelling point here.
In order to get an overall well-rounded idea of Lederer’s offerings, I felt compelled to experience the metal manifestations of Summoning. I was told by a friend that Summoning was a cult act and had great atmospherics and implemented keyboards so much to the point they no longer found a need for a drummer. He was spot on. Summoning, just like Ice Ages delivers a well designed and well executed approach to the craft.
There is a cohesiveness that blankets the album, an intangible that comes from the artist’s intrinsic motivation to move beyond and enter new territory. Ice Ages hits their stride with Vibe Of Scorn.