Ice War
Defender, Destroyer

Label: Inverse Records
Thee similar bands:
Iron Dogs/Razor/Iron Angel
Rating: HHHHHHH (3/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
1. Power from Within
2. Defender, Destroyer
3. Soldiers of Frost
4. Rising from the Tomb
5. Mountains of Skulls
6. Crucified in Fire
7. Demonoid
8. Skull and Crossbones
9. Running Out of Time

Jo "Steel" Capitalicide - All instruments & vocals

Battle Zone (EP 2016)
Ice War (2017)
Manifest Destiny (2018)
No Way of Turning Back (EP 2019)
Canadian Classics (2019)
Vicious Mind (EP 2019)


Cover art by Didier Normand

Released 2020-07-21
Reviewed 2020-07-15


fighter records

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It is cold in Canada, perhaps that is why this Jo Steel person decided to call his project that he created after this previous band Iron Dogs disbanded. This was in 2015 and since then it has been several EPs and already three albums, a diligent man for sure. The new album is called Defender, Destroyer and it sports a pretty cool artwork, but there are warning signs here. Bands with one guy doing everything is more often a recipe for disaster than success, and a high release pace usually leads to albums with lots of fillers and very few great songs. There are of course exceptions to both these observations, but I don’t think that Ice War is one of these exceptions.

The music is speed/heavy metal, simple and straightforward. There are no musical challenges offered and there is little variation through the tracks, the playing time is quite sensible though. You can say that it is pretty raw as the production is rougher than is common these days, more like some underground band from the nineties or something. The vocals are also quite rough and raw, together with the speedy songs we get a pretty basic heavy metal album with a rough and possible honest sound. There is nothing that strikes me as outstanding when I listen, the songs are pretty generic and there is nothing to really grab my attention.

Defender, Destroyer isn’t a bad album, it is a decent album to listen to for a few minutes. But it isn’t really memorable or outstanding, the production is really quite poor and that sound alone makes it a tougher choice than some other albums I work with at the moment. But it is not only the production, or the voice that I don’t quite like – it can be appealing properties in a rougher voice and sound, there are some in Ice War’s music as well. The main issue I have is that it feels like an album of fillers, there are no outstanding songs, just average songs you can use to fill out an album if the hits or great songs are too few, but not songs you want to build an album around. There is nothing to grab ahold of here, there is nothing that draws you in, it just is.

Generic underground metal, rough and raw, and pretty dull. When the best properties of an album are that it isn’t really poor you know that it isn’t a great album, I think we can do without it. Sure, some will like it, the ones that like rougher underground style heavy metal might find this appealing. It is quite clear that this is an album that will not have any of wider appeal, the target audience will be pretty small.