We’d love to have attended a gig in the early 90’s when these obscure French thrashers announced “Hi, we’re Iceland….from France!”
Weird name aside, Iceland were a half decent thrash act, shredding and chugging their way through a debut album (their only album) that incorporated a little 90’s groove and a whole host of obscure Voivod, Watchtower, Cynic & Death experimentation.
We all know the 90’s was a relatively thrash-free environment, a world where precious few survived – check out our 12 Albums That Kept Thrash Alive During The 1990’s and 12 More Albums That Kept Thrash Alive In The 90’s features – but all that really happened was thrash bands were forced back down into the underground, toiling away for little or no reward in an effort to keep the genre alive and barely breathing.
The only option for thrash bands was to probe the outer-reaches of thrash’s latent possibilities in an effort to grab attention and Iceland did exactly that….but still failed to reach an audience. Which is sacrilege, as Iceland is an album which clearly had massive potential and should have led to bigger things!
Taking a spacey, mystical approach to their progressive thrash blueprint, Iceland were a band of considerable prowess and had the innate ability to fashion a set of songs that were linked thematically, while carrying their own sense of distinct individuality. Not content with mindlessly thrashing away, the likes of “My Last Words” are proof positive that Iceland’s Voivod-esque propensity for taking spiritual stabs at thrash metal’s groundwork had huge possibilities.
For those thrashers hungry for a little more brutality, it was left to the bruising “Mighty Sinner” and the choppy rhythms of “Final Mission” to satisfy that ravenous hunger. However, where Iceland truly made an iceberg-sized impact is when they allowed their futuristic sounding progressive thrash to soar, with the impressive likes of “Traces Of Dreams” and “The Eyes Of The Blind Men” still sounding otherworldly nearly 25 years later.
Iceland’s only album certainly has enough individuality to warrant re-discovery and should not be labelled as merely another unsuccessful 90’s thrash album; obscure equals quality in this case!
Other albums covered in our Unleashed From The Vaults Series: