Iceage and Earth kicked off their joint tour on Wednesday brining with them epic riffs and unbridled force to The Brooklyn Monarch for a night of extreme, but pleasing tunes.
Punk and metal have always been distant musical cousins, genres full of those who may be perceived as misfits and outcasts, but find community within the scene. For fans, it can be easy to understand point out the differences between the two, but outsiders can often confuse and mistake one for the other or even lump them both together. Iceage and Earth aren't two bands that perfectly describe these genres, Iceage take brooding post-punk and mix it with gothic cowpunk while Earth conjure up slow and steady doom metal. While neither take on these tag lines head-on, they both counterbalance each other with distinct vibes and alternative moods that make for a loud and at time raucous show.
Earth took the stage first and proceeded to blast rocket-powered riffs full of overwhelming distortion at an ear-splitting volume, their dueling guitars creating massive waves of sound anchored by the restrained rhythms of the gifted and talented Adrienne Davies on drums. Their elongated riffs were ripe with force and power, knocking over the crowd at a glacial pace, the gargantuan wails oozing like lava, full of heat and devastation, but glowing with red hot intensity. Earth have an impressive display of showmanship as led by Dylan Carlson who slowly evokes mythical guitar sounds that erode away most sense of melody in exchange for clanging, almighty shreds of tonality. New track "Scalphunter's Blues" was actually one of the only tracks featured any kind of dynamic, complex rhythm and a striking jolt of rumbling drums helped give the band something new to their arsenal of otherwise strong and steadfast bangers. "Engine of Ruin" and "There Is a Serpent Coming" were other hallmarks to their past, "we're playing more old songs cause we're old now," Dylan interjected during the set, but the two new tracks were proof that he's been up to something over the pandemic and hopefully a sign of more new music to come. As expected, the band played with precise fashion and displayed their undeniable legacy as one of the titans of doom is still a fitting and worthy description.
Following the slow, but far from mellow set from Earth, Iceage came out guns a-blazing, immediately picking up the momentum and using the pent up energy from Carlson and company to unleash their more melodic and unabashedly enthusiastic tracks to a crowd ready to let loose. Crashing in with "Saint Cecilia," the band was off to the races and never looked back at the cloud of dust left in their wake. It was a fever pitch of emotions as the band paraded through their set which started with a lot of their bluesy and rustic melodies before descending into the hardcore tendencies from their earlier records. As usual Elias was in fine form, strutting across the stage like a punk rock Harry Styles, his swagger and style commanding attention as he donned an oversized suit a la David Byrne while his dashing stare was partially obstructed by his fashionable haircut. His looks aside, his stage presence is still at the top of its game and his ability to control and entertain a crowd makes it seem like he should be playing to rooms of much larger scale. "We have extra surprise guests" he bellowed before the second song as a violinist and cellist took to the stage and joined the band for some newer songs and for the first time in my memory, I watch a crowd mosh along to a string section on stage. Perfectly sloppy, but never out of control, Iceage are an impressive band to have seen mature over the course of their discography and each time I see them, I am reminded at just how far they've been able to take their sound while still remaining true to their ethos. "Pain Killer" was another revved up gem that was met with a wild response from the crowd and "Hurrah" was another triumph that accelerated with divine chaos. By the time the band got to their striking and blitzed-out "Ecstasy" and "White Rune" the crowd was ready to collapse into madness as objects began flying through the air as crowd surfers took flight with some even making their way to the stage only to dive back in directly into the pit. The range on display from Iceage never fails to impress and once again the band brought their best for those ready to bask in their glory and by the time they ended their encore with a rousing rendition "The Lord's Favorite" it was hard for anyone to deny just that, they positively must be some of God's bests.