Clock, book, elephant not included

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Since I have somewhere between 500 and 600 promos on my computer right now, it's pretty stupid for me to spend money on albums. That's like Hugh Grant hiring that hooker while he was dating Liz Hurley.

For $60, he wanted to have his mind blown. For $5, the price of a Bandcamp download, I wanted to have mine blown, too. Except I have no Liz Hurley to lose. Also, I don't think of this music as a whore. This analogy is rubbish, isn't it.

OK, I'll start over. There I was on some Liz Hurley-less night, desperately procrastinating from my overflowing inbox filled with crappy music. I was reading Temple of Perdition, a fine French-but-written-in-English blog that covers a lot of doom metal. One post was an interview with a Boston-area band called Ice Dragon.

I clicked on the Bandcamp link. One minute into "Flowers", and I was hitting "Buy Now" like Ike Turner on date night with Tina. (I don't know why these terrible relationship references are coming to me.) For good measure, I also downloaded Ice Dragon's previous album, The Burl, The Earth, The Aether - also available on Bandcamp, but for free.

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The days since then have been amusingly surreal. Coworkers being shitty? Just put on Ice Dragon. Inbox overflowing even more than usual? Just put on Ice Dragon. Accidentally stumble onto metal forums (take your pick), and get reminded of the depths to which humanity can sink? Just put on Ice Dragon. Ice Dragon makes everything OK. It is my shield against the world right now. This shield is made of heavy, dirty bliss.

Imagine if Black Sabbath combined their heavy and psychedelic sides - they tended to toggle between those modes rather than combine them - and took even more drugs, and turned everything up into screaming, red-lined peaks. They they came down hard and also wrote pretty acoustic songs - not those bullshit interludes, but real, actual songs.

Sound too good to be true? Sound like not your thing? In either case, Bandcamp can cure what ails ya. You can stream the album below. Five bucks gets you the digital download. 10 also gets you a cassette tape, a scroll (!) with lyrics, a button, and a patch, all in a velour pouch. And, again, zero bucks gets you The Burl album. It's a glorious mess, but more Ice Dragon is not a bad thing.

I'm not normally one for "psychedelic" anything. I want minds to be sharp, and edges to be hard. But this record delivers completely on the promise of "psychedelic" - basically, of blowing your mind to bits. At 3:31 in "Mistress Death", when the chorus shifts from minor pentatonics to a major-key assault with air raid siren vocals - if I smoked, I'd need a cigarette afterwards. No band in recent memory has hit this level of astral intensity. Shoot out the stars and win.

— Cosmo Lee

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