Ice Age - Liberation Magna Carta - 2001 By Rodrigo /images/covers/IceAge_liberation.jpg Liberation is the second album by the US progressive metal band, Ice Age. This new release is different from the last album The Great Divide in that the music is not as heavy as before. Instead, there is a lot more melody with fewer heavier passages. From the distinct keyboards by Josh Pincus (who also handles the vocal duties) the excellent guitar work by Jimmy Pappas and the superb work by drummer Hal Aponte and bassist Arron DiCesare Ice Age is able to achieve their own style of music. Sure, Dream Theater and other prog metal bands influenced them but one can easily tell that this is an Ice Age album. The ability of the band to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack is a great strength. While the music retains elements of technicality, the emphasis is now on better and stronger song structure as well as an emphasis on Joshs vocal melodies. As reflected in the title of the album, the theme of "liberation" is present through out the entire album. The lyrical themes deal with personal and emotional liberation. One of the strongest songs of the album is the opening track "The Lhasa Road (No Surrender)". This song is about the situation of Tibet and fits perfectly with the recurring theme of the album. This is a very powerful song both lyrically and musically. The introduction is really good with the keyboards joined by great a great guitar lead. Throughout this song and the rest of the album both of these instruments have plenty of moments to shine. There are two very memorable parts in this song for me. The first one is the awesome passage when Josh sings "Toll the Bell". In the background there is a bell sound and the music is just phenomenal. The other part starts at about 6:43 and it features a superb guitar solo by Jimmy. I do feel that the last song of the album "Tong-Len" which is a short instrumental would have fit better as the introduction to "The Lhasa Road" instead of being at the end. Another song that is similar to this song is "When Youre Ready". This is the longest song of the album and what is really great about it is its up-beat tempo, its melodic music and the fact that it has such a grand and majestic feel to it. Some of my other favorite songs are "A Thousand Years" and "The Guardian of Forever". The former features an excellent chorus with excellent atmospheric keys in the background and a great driving guitar riff. The singing by Josh ties it all together perfectly. Another memorable part is the darker passage that starts when Josh sings "Beggar and King" and it features the same tempo of the chorus. "The Guardian of Forever" is without a doubt my favorite song of the album. It has a medieval and fantasy feel to it and features both excellent heavy music and more tranquil melodic parts. The keys do a fantastic job and the guitar solo that ends the song is fantastic. To me no other song on Liberation quite rivals the power of this song. Liberation is an excellent album by Ice Age and it is an album that has definitely established themselves as one of the best new prog metal bands. If you consider yourself a fan of this genre, Liberation is a must buy!