“There’s a certain energy and power that kind of runs through all of the music I was attracted to initially,” Gentry Densley of Iceburn says regarding the hardcore, punk and metal he grew up with. When he began to go to shows, that energy was amplified tenfold. Combined with Densely’s discovery of free jazz artists, Iceburn’s unique sound came into existence.
While the talk of revolution was in the air inspiring others in the punk scene, Iceburn looked to inspiration from icons like Miles Davis. They found that improvisation wasn’t just going through the motions—it was an entirely new form of creation. As Densley puts it, taking more chances became a way to not just play music, but to sculpt it. “Improvisation is kind of an art that we worked on over our 10-year arc, and you learn about yourself and your other bandmates by doing that,” Densely says. “It’s tricky, but I think that’s the fun of it.”
Over the years, Iceburn has been able to experiment with what works live and what doesn’t, shifting to keep the audience in mind. Still, breaking the expectations of what an audience is looking for in a punk band wasn’t always welcome. “We had experiences on the road with fans that weren’t the most pleasant,” Densely says. One notable moment involved a thrown bagel.
It’s been 20 years since the last Iceburn record, and this new album, Asclepius, sees Densley on vocals, James Holder on guitar, Cache Tolman on bass and Joseph Smith, AKA “Chubba,” on drums. Densely says that while there’s been a lot of changes over the years, Iceburn has continued to gravitate back to themes of Greek mythology. “There’s always been influences outside … of obvious metal influences,” he says. “We like to translate things into that language, the language of the riff or language of hardcore metal.”
To learn more about Iceburn’s journey to Asclepius, don’t miss Episode #367 of “SLUG Soundwaves.” Connect with the band via their Facebook at facebook.com/IceburnSLC.