Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fire + Ice - "Fractured Man" CD

Superb and magickal new European folk

After several years providing musical support as a member of Sol Invictus, and assisting on recordings by Current 93 and Death In June, Ian Read and his Fire + Ice project have become staples of what is sometimes known as the "apocalyptic folk" scene. In truth, Fire + Ice isn't necessarily "apocalyptic" (although there are deep mysteries and concerns being voiced), nor "folk" (although acoustic guitars are present). Fire + Ice's music is rooted in old European folk, though, and is heavily inspired by runes, Norse and Germanic mythology, and pagan culture.

"Fractured Man", Read's 6th album as Fire + Ice, is a superb set of powerful and understated tunes. The title track opens, and is an atmospheric piece with harmonium and violin by Unto Ashes. "Caratacus" is a short interlude based around Douglas P's instantly recognizable guitar, while "Nimm", sung entirely in German, is a catchy, even sweetly dark nursery rhyme-style song. The odd pop of "Mr. Wednesday" would work well on the "Wicker Man" soundtrack, but that can also be said for the minimalist "Aelfsiden", which is a darkly beautiful lament.

For fans longing for the glory days of Current 93's incredible "Swastikas For Noddy" era (which Ian Read was part of), or the early works of Sol Invictus (likewise, with Read's participation), Fire + Ice pick up the slack. Lovely work, with plenty of nuance, strength, and passion. Excellent!

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