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The great irony in reviewing Iceage’s latest album is these Danish nihilists don’t care what anyone thinks about them. You are either with them or you are against them. Whatever the case, You’re Nothing.
After making international waves in 2011 with their irrepressibly furious debut New Brigade, this four piece have ploughed blithely on towards oblivion. Where once they fearlessly cavorted between silence and post-punk extremity, their focus is now on pure and visceral noise. ‘Ecstasy’ is the template for You’re Nothing: a cataclysmic meld of everything all at once, its chaos both exhilarating and exhausting.
If you expected any concessions to conformity from Iceage’s second record, then you will be proved sorely mistaken. Given only 500 copies of New Brigade were printed before demand skyrocketed, frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt and his comrades are scarcely inclined to alter their creative instincts. Their affection for fascist imagery and flick knives seems to have dissipated but more than enough obstinance remains.
You’re Nothing is a provocatively loud album which barely pauses for breath. When it does, the ambient hum of ‘Interlude’ lasts a full minute and 44 seconds before leading into ‘Burning Hand’. This clattering juggernaut of intense savagery ends in Rønnenfelt screaming, “Do you hear me? Do you hear me?” It’s impossible not to.
Anyone who’s half-familiar with Black Flag or Minor Threat won’t find this schtick particularly new. In many ways it’s a regression from the taut dissonance of New Brigade. Only ‘Morals’ and ‘Rodfæstet’ stand out as noticeably different. The former judders along to a bleak piano-lead tune, while the latter is sung purely in Danish. Hardly revolutionary stuff, especially since Iceage have toured extensively with the genre-bending Fucked Up.
Despite its abrasiveness, You’re Nothing is resolutely conservative in its insular aim of pleasing the only audience that matters: Iceage themselves. Of course, they don’t care what you think about their latest album. Once the rabid whirlwind of hype subsides, you have to wonder if they might do... just a little bit.
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