Listen live to Radio Arrow Classic Rock

Ice Age

In the late eighties four girls from Stockholm made quite a name in the metal scene with their thrash metal band Ice Age. Based on four demo’s only and not one album the band toured Europe twice and even played several shows in The Netherlands. Because of problems with management the band eventually split up in 1990. Now, more than a quarter century later, guitarist and singer Sabrina Kihlstrand returns to the front with a new line-up and finally the record that they should have released back in the day. And even though we’re living in a completely different world nowadays, the material on 'Breaking the Ice' that consists of both old and new material, has stood the test of time. We at Lords of Metal were curious to know why the band broke up in the first place and why Kihlstrand decided to reform the band. A short email to Sweden resulted in the below interview.

By: Dennis | Archive under speed / thrash metal

Ice Age released four successful demo’s in the second half of the 80’s, toured Europe twice and then split up in 1990. What made you decide to reform Ice Age, almost twenty five years after the break up?
Believe it or not but during those 25 years we were never really forgotten. I personally received plenty of e-mails, letters and even phone-calls on a regular basis from fans all over the world who wanted to see Ice Age re-unite. This made me realize that Ice Age really made an impression on the metal world even though the band split up so many years ago and only made demo tapes. The decision to reform the band was made simply because we were asked to do one reunion gig at the Gothenburg Sound Festival in 2015.

When you think back of your active years in Ice age from 1985 to 1990, what are your best and worst memories of the band?
Of course the best memories are when we toured and played live. I guess it must have been quite unusual for a band to tour Europe without an album release. The worst memories all include the management the band got involved and all that happened during that time.

Why did Ice Age break up in the first place?
Ice Age split up because of the co-operation with a management which didn’t work out, at least not for me. I felt forced to leave the band, but offered to play on the last UK tour that was already booked. However, this did not turn out well and one morning the manager threw me off the bus, threatened to kill me if he ever saw my face again. Shocked and scared I was left on the motorway without my guitars and amp as well. Never saw them again… The rest of the gigs ended up cancelled and I had to make my way back to Sweden. Not very smart perhaps to throw the frontperson off the tourbus in the middle of a tour ;) That’s what happened. The band continued however with two new members but lasted only another six months.

And why did it take so long for you to reform the band?
For many years I felt very hurt and fed up with music and the music business in general, I guess that’s why.

Ice Age released four demo’s and you sold lots of them. You really had a momentum in ’89 and ’90 and people were really positive about your band. How come you never managed to record a full length record?
Yes, it's really amazing that we sold so many demos. When I was no longer in the band it came to my knowledge that several record labels had been wanting to sign the band but did not want to have anything to do with our crazed management. I guess that’s why, which is really sad to find out afterwards. We also found out that at one point he actually had forged our signatures (this is about six months after the band split up) and signed a record deal and put himself as the songwriter for all the tracks. At the time this was for quite a big metal label, however we found this out in time and he was prosecuted (never turned up for the hearing), the label was shocked to find out and of course the record never came out. Perhaps this will enlighten what kind of management we actually had back then.

What have you been doing since the split? I noticed you did some guest vocals for Gardenian on their album 'Soulburner'. Where you otherwise involved in the metal scene in past 25 years? And have you followed what went on in the scene?
That’s correct. I did a guest vocal appearance for Gardenia since Niclas Engelin (In Flames) asked me so nicely. Otherwise I have not been involved in the metal, or music scene for that matter, hardly at all. I have not even really followed the scene either. Guess I have a lot of catching up to do.

What was your main goal or main idea when you reformed the band? Finally put out that record that should have been recorded and released in 1990 or so?
Our main goal was to do one reunion show and at this point we did not think anything further. However when we were on stage for the first time in so long and got such a great reception, the audience were amazing, the energy was flowing…it felt great, so we decided, there should be something more than this! An album only came natural after this. I’m sure if the original Ice Age would have released an album back then it would have been fantastic, and I guess you can in some way say that 'Breaking The Ice' could be that album.

When you reformed Ice Age, was it immediately clear who was going to join the line up? How did you get this band together?
No, it was not clear. Pia refused and did not want to take part. We have asked her more than once. Tina considered it, but due to logistics and work-related matters she was unable to join. So me and Vicki started to look for replacements.

Are you still in contact with your former bandmates?
Yes…I talk to Tina quite often. She is a really wonderful person with a big heart.

Ice Age always used to be an all-female band. With André Holmqvist as your drummer Ice Age this has chenged. How is it to be working with a man in the band, is it different from when you were an all-female band?
André is not playing drums with his cock, Tina was not playing drums with her vagina, so why would it be any different? Seriously…We have one of the best drummers you can find in Ice Age, whether it’s a man or a woman, it's no difference to work with either.

For your debut album you re-recorded five old compositions from the demo days and your wrote and recorded five new tracks. The new songs fit the old material really well. How did the writing process go about for the new songs? Did you write altogether as a band, or was there one person responsible for the music?
Thank you, I totally agree. The old and the new songs integrate with each other just perfectly. The old songs were old written by myself and Pia and the new songs, except for one track, are all written by me. On ‘No need To Bleed’, Vicki shows her muscles for the first time in the song writing process.

band image

Can you tell us something about the recording process for 'Breaking The Ice'?
It was fascinating to enter the studio. Everything was so different from when we recorded our demos back in the 80’s. The demo’s were made on a 16- channel tape recorder. Today almost all recording as you know, are made digitally. The album 'Breaking The Ice' are recorded, produced and mixed by Daniel Antonsson in Gothenburg Rock Studios. I feel very pleases with how the album turned out, its exactly how I wanted it to be. It has a retro feeling but with today's technology. Cliché to say maybe, but in our case it's just true. A straight forward clean production, no fancy stuff, just a crystal clear sound. The process of recording the album was fun and interesting from the start to finish.

In 2015 you played your first show in 25 years with the band. How did it feel to back on stage?
That was a truly amazing evening – wow. You could almost touch the energy that was flowing in the air. I remember when the intro went on, I said to myself; 'Now theres no turning back – just go full in'. Those 25 years away from the stage and music suddenly felt like 25 minutes – it was magical.

I watched some videos on YouTube of your recent shows and noticed you had a different guitar player (Mio Jäger) then on the record. Why did she leave the band?
Mio was kind enough to do the reunion and two other shows with Ice Age. Then she had to move on and focus on her own band Frantic Amber. We appreciate the time and effort and wish her all the best for the future.

Was it difficult to find a replacement guitar player? And did you specifically look for a female guitarist when you had to search for a guitarist?
No difficulties at all. I have to be honest. I wanted to have Linnéa in the band the first minute I talked to her. She’s an absolute brilliant guitarist as well as a lovely person – lucky for us she wanted to join Ice Age without any hesitation whatsoever. With this line-up I feel Ice Age is stronger and better than ever. And no, we were not looking specifically for a female guitarist.

If I am not mistaken, you have only played live in Sweden with the revamped line-up, right? What are the chances that you are taking the band out on tour through Europe, are there any plans?
That’s correct, only Sweden so far. But we are booked at The Plzen metal Fest, and also at the Underworld London on March 31 – and chances are very big that you will see us around Europe during 2018.

You are doing four weekend shows in January / February under the title 'Triple Thrash Treat' with the Swedish bands Reignsaw and F.K.Ü.. What can you tell about this initiative?
Hell yeah! That’s going to be an awesome thrash package! The initiative comes from our management.

In 1989 you played some shows in The Netherlands. What do you remember most of these shows?
Playing in The Netherlands was always great fun. We met a lot of very nice and friendly people. The Dutch fans really knew how to stage dive – they were complete lunatics in a good way. I recall a guy once got his foot all tangled up in my guitar while he was stagediving. All six strings broke! Haha.

In 1989 you also recorded a video for 'Instant Justice', which is quite an enjoyable video that captures the metal scene at that time really well. What do you think about that video nowadays?
I wasn’t part of that video since I had left the band and I have actually only seen parts of it, so I can’t comment on it or its captures of the metal scene at the time. But glad to hear its enjoyable!

For your new record you shot a video for 'Breaking The Ice'. What can you tell about making the video? Why did you choose this song? And did you enjoy making the video?
We chose to shoot a video for 'Breaking The Ice' because it’s a song that I feel represents Ice Age at its best. This song is also very personal to me and its sort of a statement for me starting to play music again after all these years. Its produced by the mighty Patric Ullaeus and we all enjoyed making it a lot.

Your biography mentions the Big Four Show from Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax in Gothenburg in 2011 was dedicated to Ice Age. How did this happen?
That was really overwhelming to hear – almost surreal in fact – wow. How it happened I guess was that the Big Four Show was in Gothenburg and it was in our hometown. I don’t know exactly how it came about but it was truly amazing. It was also broadcasted on national TV.

Obviously Ice Age is influenced by Metallica and Megadeth. Were you in contact with them back in the 80s?
No, we were not in contact, but I bumped into them every now and then when in London at release parties, Shades record shop, backstage at festivals and so on - If I remember correctly we also gave our demotapes to some of the members.

So, the album has just been released, and you are probably doing a lot of promotion for the album. What’s next? What can we expect from Ice Age in the coming months?
You are right – promo work every day now, but that is so much fun as well. Next up is shows but I am also productive in my home studio and have already written about four new songs for the next Ice Age album!

I guess that covers it all for now, thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything else you want to share with our readers?
Thank you – it's all my pleasure. To all the readers of Lord Of Metal: If you enjoy well composed, riff-based, melodic catchy Heavy Metal with a thrash edge to it – you are going to love our album! So go get it! Love and respect!

Share this interview with your friends

More information

<< previous next >>