One of Finland's heavy rock-pioneers Gobra, a band with a small cult following, aren't exactly having a rush to release new records. Three years have passed since the group's previous (and thus far the best) offering "From Dawn to Storm," and finally our wait has been rewarded as Gobra is back! On the last album they presented true, mostly brisk-paced heavy metal spiced with Iron Maiden-style guitar melodies. So, what're they offering us this time?
They offer us Gobra, of course! The band, this time operating as a trio, sounds good and natural. The musicians know their craft and you can certainly hear it. The vocalist sounds the same as he always has, and his pleasing halfway high-pitch voice still sounds good.
In my opinion the band's taken a step towards '70s rock regarding the tempos and compositions, meaning that the band's a bit more relaxed and calmer than earlier, as are the tempos. Still, I must say that the differences between this album and the previous one isn't like the one between night and day. The band still delivers good high-pitch quitar melodies, and I can see both older and younger listeners moshing to the music.
Overall the song material is good-quality, and a couple of choruses will even remain on playing in your head. So, there's catchiness, but not as great bullseye-hits as the previous album held. A couple of the songs feel perhaps a bit too safe, and I'm occasionally left hoping for a bolder and rougher touch in the instrumentation. In my mind the album-entirety's flow seems a bit mild as well. There isn't an atmosphere that would carry through the album, the songs just switch from one to another as they go by.
As a summary I must say that Gobra has kept their standards high, which is good! "Calm Under Ice" doesn't offer the best that Gobra has to offer, but it certainly doesn't offer their worst either. Listening to the album leaves me feeling good, and the band's good feeling and attitude gets delivered from the album to the listener sitting in his sofa. The guys of Vihanti sure can rock!