Gothenburg, Sweden’s all female thrash group Ice Age started in 1985. They’ve sold thousands of demos, toured Europe with major festival appearances and their fan base and profile was growing without major label or indie support.
Almost three decades after their split they’ve returned with debut release Breaking The Ice, available through GMR Music.
The Ice Age began in 1985 when vocalist/guitarist Sabrina Kihlstrand and guitarist Pia Nyström, adding Sabrina’s sister, Helena on bass (later replaced by Viktori Larsson) and Tina Strömberg on drums for the early mix.
Initially their first demo Rock Solid (also their short-lived original name) was more power metal based. After lineup changes, they developed a more raw, technical thrash sound, creeping toward Metallica and Megadeth territory on their 1987 General Alert and 1988 untitled demos.
High profile gigs at Open Air in Lamone, Switzerland and the Marquee Club in London followed gaining momentum with 1989’s Instant Justice demo.
Unfortunately, internal management problems caused Kihlstrand to leave and shortly after, the band broke up in 1990. Though, over the years, fan interest has remained active including a massive show dedication to the band during the TV broadcast at Gothenburg’s Big 4 show in 2011 with Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax.
A reemergence came in 2014 and in January 2015 they hit the stage for the first time in 25 years at the Gothenburg Sound festival. In 2016 Kihlstrand and Larsson brought lead guitarist Linnea Landstedt (Tyranex) and drummer André Holmqvist (Manimal) aboard as the current lineup.
Kihlstrand has personal ties to the material on Breaking The Ice. “Clever” is a song about gradual manipulation and deception hitting a boiling point. “Hell or Nothing” is about the former management that caused the short-term rapid band implosion. “Breaking the Ice” says it’s never too late to do what you really want to, as Kihlstrand’s playing and enjoying music again 25 years later.
They had contemporaries but by the late ’80s were getting major attention, “There were of course other all-female bands around at that time (at the end of the ‘80s) but I would say that none of them were playing in different genres,” Kihlstrand says. “Ice Age was at that time probably the first all-female thrash band getting attention from all around the world”
The record has five re-recorded vintage songs and five new tracks.
The original demo’s still hold up today, “I still think our old demos sound great! Back then we used a 16-channel tape recorder and the songs were, more or less recorded, live apart from the vocals and guitar solos. There’s a lot of energy and feeling in the demos and like I said, I still think they sound fantastic today”
Kihlstrand says as of now, Breaking The Ice will be the only record with re-recorded song demos. They chose five songs that would fit today’s modern sound the best.
She discusses hypothetical history if they could’ve fired their manager then and the band had lived on, “To be honest, I think we could have gotten pretty far with Ice Age, had it not been for that manager. We were around at the same time and playing the same style as these other thrash bands who made it. We were damned good at it too. So why not? Unfortunately things turned out differently for us at that time”
Ice Age is both a comeback and personal cleansing of past issues, “In many ways, yes. I didn’t think about it when we reunited in 2015, but it sort of came to that along the way,” she says. “This feels like a new chapter for me. All the bad things that happened then, doesn’t feel as hard and definitely not as important any more. The fact that I’ve started writing and playing music again after all these years feels like a personal resettlement in some ways. My band just released an album that overall, has received fantastic response. Some years ago, I didn’t think this would happen. So yes, it feels like an awesome revenge! Something from the past that just had to be done and done right”
Kihlstrand was at the Big 4 show when it was dedicated to Ice Age, “That was truly awesome! It was quite overwhelming for sure”
They’re touring with Reignsaw and F.K.Ü. on the Triple Thrash Treat Tour early this year, though U.S. attacks and engagements are unknown at this time, “We want to tour as much as possible obviously, although nothing in the USA’s planned yet. Perhaps we can make it this fall/winter, who knows? Get your friends to ask for us, ha-ha”
She describes the Swedish music scene in the ‘80s compared to the glam, metal scene in the U.S., “The Gothenburg (where I grew up) metal scene was just happening at the end of the ‘80s early ‘90s with bands such as In Flames, At The Gates, etc. They were kind of taking over from the thrash/heavy metal. Just before this we had bands like Axewitch, Destiny, Torch, 220 Volt etc., more heavy metal oriented.”
Kihlstrand is still surprised that fan interest lasted this long, “Considering we never had an album released…I am surprised that we actually made such an impression on people. I’m very happy about it!”
Her influences haven’t changed, “I still have the same influences today as I had back then. Still listening to the same records…Megadeth, Judas Priest, Dio, Rainbow…”
For aspiring female musicians starting out, “No particular advice, just don’t give up, stick to your interests and don’t let anybody or anything come in your way”
A follow up to Breaking The Ice is coming, “I already have new songs written, and they’re goddamned brilliant! People need to hear them soon. So, expect a new album in early 2019”
Not surprisingly her dream tour would be, “Megadeth opening for Ice Age, ha-ha”
To Ice Age fans worldwide, “To all our old fans, thanks for sticking with us during all these years. To new fans, thanks for listening to our music and buying our record hopefully we will see you on tour sooner rather than later.”