CD Reviews > ICS Vortex

ICS Vortex - Storm Seeker

Century Media

ICS Vortex has lent his amazing crystal-clear vocals and talented musicianship to bands such as Borknagar, Lamented Souls, Dimmu Borgir, and Arcturus. But now this Viking’s Longboat has set sail on a solo journey, one where his musical talents definitely shine as his first album, Storm Seeker (Century Media) attests to.

Vortex of course wrote all the songs on the album, but also plays all the instruments as well, except for drums which are provided by Asgeir Mickelson. (Asgeir also designed the album’s cover as well as providing the sub FX on Flaskeskipper). There were a couple guest appearances on the album as well: Arne Martinussen performed piano on “Storm Seeker” and Hammond on “Skoall” and “Windward”; and Cyrus played lead guitar on “The Blackmobile”, “Odin’s Tree”, and “When Shuffled Off”.

The listener can’t start spinning this album with preconceived notions in mind. Don’t expect to hear re-hashed versions of Vortex’s previous works. Instead, come into this with no expectations, a complete open mind, and be enthralled with the variety of styles and moods he has to offer. We’re looking into a kaleidoscope of musical talents, all with a Black Metal basis, but much more richly textured than following just one vein.

“The Blackmobile” races us into the album with the pedal to the Metal as we speed through extremely dark highways. The ominous warning “Beware the Hangman” punctuates the majestic “Odin’s Tree”, whether it’s where Odin himself experienced self-sacrifice for Wisdom that resulted in bringing us the Runes, or the human sacrifices that ancient people participated in to commemorate that moment. “Skoal!” has a medieval warrior’s feel to it. “Dogsmacked” is an aggressive, megalomaniac power trip.

The Crowgrrl loves the guitars in the fearless “Aces”, where the moment is grabbed and controlled. Carpe Diem! The beautiful “Windward” is a more intimate, personal song. The dark, hopeless “When Shuffled Off” visualizes images of shackled prisoners.

Bittersweetly gorgeous guitars permeate the lament known as “Oil In Water”. There is a nautical feel running through the beautiful title track, “Storm Seeker”, which also has an air of melancholy. “Flaskeskipper” totally Rocks! It has a very Viking vibe and is appropriately delivered in Norsk. The instrumental “The Sub Mariner” is a futuristic fantasy that delivers us into a frenzied New World.

~Athena Schaffer