Album cover Ice Warriors - Ice Warriors
Ice WarriorsIce Warriors8/10

Ice Warriors - Ice Warriors

14 Aug 2011 row1

Taking their name and the EP's storyline from the classic British science fiction series Dr. Who, the Ice Warriors are a 6 member outfit seeking to destroy mankind and revitalise the sci-fi hip-hop sub-genre.

With classics such as Deltron 3030, Dr. Octagonecologyst and Vaudeville Villain, the sub-genre hasn't seen much of interest since 2006s Nogatco Rd. Maybe this is due to the inevitable comparisons to the classics that would have to be made? Maybe I am the only one who still wants to hear more of it? Maybe I just missed a whole lot of releases (if so please leave your list in the comments)? Regardless of the reasons (or lack thereof), it is a great relief to be able to say that Ice Warriors is not only a great addition to the genre, but hopefully also one that others get compared to in the future.

Readers outside the influence of British culture may be unfamiliar with Dr. Who and its iconic theme music, so it might be somewhat of a surprise to hear that apart from the addition of some drums, the music on "Seeds of Death" is over 40 years old. Unsurprisingly it is the prefect sample to kick the album off and the rest of the album continues with this lo-fi b-grade sci-fi sound. The use of musical samples, sound effects and sound bites is also continued throughout the album to tell the story of the reptilian invaders from Mars and their quest to destroy mankind using ice. However, the use of samples throughout the album is borderline overdone. The frequently quoted Warriors come out to play is just audible under the chorus of "From Space!", and while it it could be deemed relevant to the theme of the song, it is not relevant to the sound of the song and feels out of place. Likewise the GZA verse On a man-made lake, there's a sheet of thin ice, where unskilled skaters, couldn't figure-8 twice is tacked onto the end of "Glacial Park" only because it happens to mention ice and doesn't add any value to an otherwise great track that has already come to an end. Another slight annoyance is in the mixing of the samples on "Seeds of Death", at the 2:10 mark there is a 1 second gap which will probably annoy you now that I have brought it up. These are relatively minor points and don't take too much away from an otherwise well pieced record.

It is only fitting that the pioneer of space rap Kool Keith appears on one of the albums many highlights "Space Weapons", a track that would not sound at all out of place on Nogatco Dr. The other four rappers on the album Tob, Nofriendo, Iron Moth and Ill Zoo provide a good deal of variety and contrast in their deliveries. It is unfortunate that we don't get to hear more from them and get a better idea of their individual styles. There are only six rap tracks (excluding remixes) and they all clock in around the 2-4 minute mark, combined with the album's abrupt ending and lyrics like below, I was left wanting to hear more:

From frozen tombs full of galactic crusaders,
To open rooms full of nothing but the vapours,
I'm icy, sucka I move at hype-speed,
I creep past the planets so you can sightsee
"Fire and Ice"

It's not all thawing out and literally decorating people in ice, the album continues the hip-hop tradition of paying tribute to the greats and dissing whack rappers:

Right back in the past the Blastmaster vs Rakim and Lakim Shabazz had mad chapters,
You in it for the cash capture then you ass backwards,
Slash actors playing parts of sharks and whack rappers,
And cats only talk about gats like that matters,
My whole life I hold mics close to my heart,
And roll dice making new shit because it's supposed to be art.
"Future Fallout"

Ice Warriors is in good company this year, having already seen the release of several good geek inspired albums such as Perfect 天 and Black Materia: Final Fantasy VII, it is great to hear such a solid space rap addition, an addition that is bound to float near the top of my best-of 2011 list. It is also great to see Kool Keith getting on-board and endorsing such a project. The biggest fault of the album is that the 33 minute EP is just too good to be this short and leaves me wanting more of this and more space rap in general. Of course apart from the high expectations this is actually a great problem for them to have. I am informed that there is a possibility of a sequel, so please get out there and support this so that my thirst may be quenched.

Sardless Tracks

  • Future Fallout
  • Glacial Park
  • Fire
  • Ice

Track Listing

  1. Discovery In The Ice (intro)
  2. Seeds of Death
  3. Future Fallout
  4. From Space!
  5. Space Weapons feat. Kool Keith
  6. Glacial Park
  7. Realize Icelude
  8. Fire and Ice
  9. Space Weapons ft. Kool Keith (remix)
  10. Future Fallout (remix)