- Audio CD (18 Feb. 2013)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Matador
- ASIN: B00AMPY4FA
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 158,092 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Iceage’s 2011 debut New Brigade was a frantic and breathless din that struck a chord with those bored by pop and alternative rock’s propensity for gloss and over production.
It arrived hewn from hardcore punk dynamics, barbed like the best of lo-fi English post-punk and shrouded in a particularly shadowy, Scandinavian sense of seasonal affective oppressiveness.
The band’s shyness in interviews was mistaken for aloofness, and singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s American Apparel-esque good looks made him a Tumblr favourite.
Iceage subsequently found themselves co-opted by a hipster contingent favouring its nihilistic noise aesthetically pleasing (cf. Trash Talk, Odd Future, Cerebral Ballzy).
But Iceage are better than this, and You’re Nothing’s many reference points – the tar-black Norwegian metal of Mayhem colliding with the early punk of (pre-Joy Division) Warsaw and forgotten greats like Scars alongside the early roster of Washington DC’s Dischord label – might be lost on fashionistas.
Besides, bands don’t always ask for such attention and anyone making music this raucous, anxiety-addled and radio unfriendly are clearly doing so not for commercial or trend-driven purposes.
Iceage remain possessed with an urgent energy that is exclusively the domain of the young. The title track is a sub-two-minute burst of musical malice and Burning Hand shares similar sonic space with the taut post-hardcore tunes of Fugazi and Rites of Spring.
The brute delivery of Coalition is more reminiscent of Southern Californian hardcore crews Germs and Circle Jerks, Rønnenfelt’s laconic and untamed vocals the very antithesis of slick US punk counterparts citing these same bands as influences.
There’s real tension in there – and soul, too. “There’s a vile fury within us,” Rønnenfelt yells on Everything Drifts.
You’re Nothing is a step up from New Brigade, a debut that threatened to fall apart at any given moment. They still play with that same shambolic abandon on which only the very best punk bands are based.
Easy on the ears they are not, yet it’s hard not to get swept along by Iceage’s droll, disaffected but ultimately joyous punk surge.
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Top customer reviews
Perhaps mocking the onslaught of second-album expectation, they launch headlong into "Ecstasy", intoning "Pressure, pressure / oh God no / can't take this pressure". It's an immediate, two-fingers-up self-referential blast of nihilism full of feedback, buzzsaw guitars and sheer noise-punk that continues the band's fascination with straddling the divides melodic hardcore and full-blown noise-rock.
As such, from here on in, You're Nothing is a real white-knuckle experience. "Coalition" is snotty, fast and loose. Trace elements of guitar surface from within its barrage of maximal noise-punk excess. Later, the fractured surge of "It Might Hit First" tries in vain to keep itself in check and, in between dissonant passages of bile on "In Haze", there is some great guitar-and-drum bridging work well worthy of note.
In the midst of this riot, the pained post-hardcore of "Burning Hand" slows the pace with the help of Elias Bender Rønnenfelt`s deadened vocal and some warped-string fretwork before a brief solo rips its tail-end apart. There's a bleak tear-jerker of sorts in the form of "Morals" too, in which a piano is buried beneath guitar fuzz, nasty drums and angry vocals bemoaning a lack of said morals.
They attack "Wounded Hearts" however with the sort of conviction and energy that only youth can bring - they're even now only just out of their teens. We all know how much it hurts to get scarred more deeply than any moshpit injury can bring and Iceage are no different, hammering home their injustices with vicious vocal harmonies and more razor-sharp guitar lines to cut through the noise. Yet, despite the band's tender years, they're nevertheless worried about "running out of time" on "Awake" - deciding thusly to tackle everything at once and at speed, repeatedly pausing for effect before unleashing their demons in short bursts.
You're Nothing is an intense listen from start to finish, the closing title track not letting up until its final bars and final sneers are done - and Rønnenfelt is scarcely less strained when spitting his viscera in his native tongue on "Rodfæstet" it must be said. Once again though, for those already familiar with the unique charms of historic hardcore and noise, Iceage bring little new to the table, but it's served them so well so far that the explosive You're Nothing will only add to their fearsome reputation.
With the new Pissed Jeans LP already under its belt, 2013 is shaping up to be a loud one.
Advised downloads: "Ecstasy" and "Coalition".
The album stays energetic for it's entire length of not even thirty minuets, but it is still longer than White Lung's Sorry. The only track where there is a lack of energy is in "Interlude" which feels out of place because of this. It's not as if it's at 1:44 but it's unnecessary, it doesn't tie two songs together, it doesn't really work as an intro, it's just sat there.
The album cruises along at a constant pace of Punk, feeling aggressive on "Burning Hand" and "In Haze" but not quite going to the sound of the album's opener. But this is where we get to the bass heavy tracks "Morals" and "Everything Drifts."
"Morals" starts with the bass plodding along at an energetic pace with piano in the background, it feels very light but moody. The tempo changes for the chorus and it really gets going. The whole song works well with this blend of an unusual verse chorus formula, it's like a roller-coaster that you want to turn up really loud and head-bang to.
"Everything Drifts" gives us bass and more bass with a bass intro and a bass break. It's one of the more old school Punk moments on the album. I feel the modern sounding vocals that sing more than scream/shout/growl, they are clearer but still maintain a Punk feel which gives this album life. The song goes strong until the break where it gains almighty strength, I just wish it was longer and slightly more progressive, but this is Punk.
The rest of the album doesn't really come back after the double bill, it carries on the same energy as before but lacks to go anywhere. But it still shakes you and makes you listen. It keeps you going and in it's short length it never drags. It keeps going and you want to make it too the end, although I did find album closer disappointing, maybe because it was the end.
Overall, whilst lacking in progression, it's a blast and you'll love it for the brief time it's on.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
No one is going to accuse these Danish punks of selling out on their Matador debut. If anything, this album is leaner and more direct. Yes, that's a piano you hear on the song `Morals'. It's not used in the schmaltzy, balladry sense, but as a means to add drama and urgency. Elias Bender Ronnenfelt still sounds like Sid Vicious singing on fire, and that only adds to the immediate gut punch blow you feel listening to every song on this album. `Everything Drifts' comes in with a hearty chunk of bass before the band kicks in and tears your face off with a jagged guitar shredding through your speakers as Ronnenfelt's vocals seem to push their way through the chaos. When Ronnenfelt isn't causing his vocal chords to bleed, his voice is reminiscent of Joe Strummer. The Clash and Give `Em Enough Rope-era Strummer. You know, when Strummer was still pissed about just being a punk, before the world-at-large was taking up his head space. `Rodfaestet' is in and out in less than two minutes. You hardly know it was there until you look down and see you're bleeding. `You're Nothing' tips its hat to Black Flag and kicks your teeth in before heading out the door.
You're Nothing isn't a huge departure from Iceage's debut. What it is, though, is a refinement. It's a tweaking, if you will, of the brutal force they created on that What's Your Rupture debut. The members of Iceage were barely 18 when they started blowing minds just a couple years ago. Still barely old enough to buy a pint, they've honed their sound to a brutal weapon. Conjuring the spirit of Wire, Stiff Little Fingers, Bauhaus, and Joy Division -while creating their own brand of aural artistic violence- Iceage continue to march on to total world domination.
Welcome to the new Iceage.