On Iceage's sophomore album, You're Nothing, the Copenhagen band wages war upon itself, demonstrating a range which teeters between melodious beauty and animal violence. Middle ground is hard to come by, so it is not even sought. In its jagged assemblage of post-punk, goth and hardcore, the band creates not a fusion, but a unique sonic space in which those elements cohabitate wholly, rather than piecemeal. This is achieved, to great effect, through dramatic shifts in tone within — not among — You're Nothing's 12 short songs.
These shifts occur organically, of their own accord. A plodding march to death can be torn asunder when the bass line picks up tempo and finds Elias Bender Rønnenfelt's ragged voice, tracing the melody of his vocals, as it does on the song "Morals." Suddenly, the listener is somewhere else entirely. When an intelligible phrase emerges from the midst of the shouting [it] is all the more profound. When synchronicity emerges from the discord, it is revelatory.
In ignoring the conventions of song structure, Iceage signals its ambition, and the boldness to execute it. Though conventional wisdom may dictate otherwise, this approach yields a robust, full result. The songs are efficient, built to the task at hand. Because they are not beholden to the mandates of genre convention, the sound is more muscular, less artificial.
Despite the diversity of sound on offer, Iceage delivers with a truer focus than most bands dedicated to just one genre. The band's ethos is functionality above all else. While that may sound like a grim affair, it's the kind of grim affair you can dance to.