Minus the Bear
Planet of Ice


4.5
superb

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
August 16th, 2007 | 643 replies | 56,730 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This album brings new elements to the Minus the Bear sound while still maintaining their fun, catchy sound.

I’m going to be ignorant for a second here. I know Minus the Bear’s name came from an inside joke between the band, but let’s be serious for once in our lives, because Minus the Bear mean business on Planet of Ice. What would Minus the Bear be if they added “the bear” into the equation? In mythology, the bear represents strength, seriousness, and bravery. Planet of Ice embodies all of these components and finds the band truly evolving into a sound that finds their hardcore roots coming out in more and more subtle ways. If all their previous releases were The Big Dipper, then Planet of Ice is Ursa Major. Want proof of the band’s newfound earnestness? Look at the song titles. Gone are “I’m Totally Not Down with Rob’s Alien” and “This Ain’t A Surfin Movie!” Instead, we have “Knights” and “When We Escape.” The album title is a change of pace for the band, the ones who previously released They Make Beer Commercials Like This and This Is What I Know About Being Gigantic. Even the album cover looks much more meaningful and imposing.

Still, at its core, Planet of Ice is the same as every other Minus the Bear record - infectious grooves, two handed guitar tapping, and catchy riffs. Often times, the lyrics refer to sex blatantly, with lines like “I need to feel your body moving on me.” However, other things have changed and all for the better. Obviously, the band hired new keyboardist Alex Rose in place of their original member, Matt Bayles, who left to focus on a producing career. He stayed around, fittingly, to produce Planet of Ice. Rose makes a better keyboardist, with much more varied styles and tones. At times, he sounds jazzy and makes a whole different atmosphere for their ballads like “White Mystery” while in others he makes the main melodic core of the song like in “Knights.” Sometimes, he simply plays accompaniment for the rest of the band, such as “When We Escape.” Whatever role Rose finds himself in, he plays brilliantly. Vocalist Jake Snider also finds a change, or maybe more fittingly, an evolution. His singing is much more confident and powerful on the album compared to his previous work. When he belts out “What’ve you done?” on opening track “Burying Luck,” he sounds so much more mature. His performance throughout the album is perfect, staying calm when needed but giving a whole new dynamic to his vocal range.

Everything else is just Minus the Bear taken to a whole new level. The guitar work is faster and more virtuosic than ever. In the middle of “Knights”, the song breaks into one of the simplest but coolest riffs on the album broken up by five seconds of serious shredding, for lack of a better word. This makes a reappearance at the end of “Lotus” (excluding the hidden track) as the band jams into washy ambience that transitions to the aforementioned hidden song, a dreamy keyboard-led jam. “When We Escape” features an instrumental chorus of distortion and heavy drums that plays a foil to the organ-backed verses, and even they have great guitar work. Snider and lead guitarist Dave Knudson utilize interplay better than ever. Yet even they push their limits on “Part 2”, which brings acoustic guitar to the table in a more dynamic, varied song than the band has ever done to this point. The song slowly transitions from acoustic guitar to a huge wall of sound as if nothing happened. Although they have never done anything like this before, Minus the Bear executes perfectly, as goes for nearly the entire album.

If Planet of Ice possesses a weak track, it would be “Throwin’ Shapes” simply because it offers nothing new to the table. It sounds much more like a Menos El Oso song than a Planet of Ice song. This album brings new elements to the Minus the Bear sound while still maintaining their fun, catchy sound displayed on their other albums. The droning ambience found on “Dr L’ling” and “Lotus” makes the album sound much more epic than normal and works to connect it together. Each song has a sense of growth throughout it, from the cutesy melodies in “Ice Monster” that become huge, powerful guitar strums by its end or the perfect progression of “Dr L’ling” and “Part 2.” This is what the band can do when they sit down and really think about their album. It is easily one the band’s best album and possibly the best album of the year.



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user ratings (1350)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
kevin234 (5)
This could be MTB's best....

specialk21 (5)
"Planet of Ice" is an impressively cohesive and grand album, characterized by arguably the most inve...

Mark Campbell (4.5)
Menos El Oso was some great foreplay, but this is the pure ear sex that cooks you breakfast afterwar...

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"Snakes & Arrows" done right....


Comments:Add a Comment 
FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
August 16th 2007



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So now my review doesn't show up. Great.

tribestros
August 16th 2007



918 Comments


How many reviews we gonna get on this?

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
August 16th 2007



4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

When have you cared about that?

The Jungler
August 16th 2007



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like this album, I'm just not sure how much yet. I don't think I'd ever listened to Minus the Bear before this.
Cool review.

tribestros
August 16th 2007



918 Comments


Look, I'm just saying I haven't seen this many reviews in this short period of time in a while.

Well, maybe Tool.

GleamInRanks
August 16th 2007



298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of my favorites this year. I agree with the review completely.

StrizzMatik
August 16th 2007



3187 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

LOL, this album is getting played like wha. Great review.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2007



16088 Comments


Tyler had an actual advance cpy. Thats the reasn he reviewed it =/.

pixiesfanyo
August 16th 2007



1223 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I mean if its a huge deal MX can replace my featured review with this one. I don't really care.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
August 16th 2007



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well the publicist got back to me and they don't seem terribly bothered.

StrizzMatik
August 16th 2007



3187 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Bro, the album leaked almost four months ago at 256kbps (near-perfect) quality. I'd make a safe bet and say about 80% of the people who have heard it DLed it. The whole controversy surrounding leaks/downloading is retarded anyways considering that most of the time the bands themselves leak their albums to get press, and the people who get the leaks are more often than not huge fans of the band that are planning to buy it regardless.

I used to feel pretty bad about downloading albums in general until I found out that bands make close to no money off of them, especially with independent bands. The band gets a huge majority of their money from their merchandise. You want to support them? Buy their merch. The record companies make the money from the CDs, not the band (at least until promotional/recording costs are paid up, which in some cases never happens). I know some people won't share my views on it, but IMO as long as you actually buy the record sometime (I already preordered), I see it as perfectly ok to review so long as it's a legitimate final copy/mix.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2007



16088 Comments


Nah.

StrizzMatik
August 16th 2007



3187 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

To each his own I suppose. But you've never gotten a CD on AIM or from a friend or even copied a cassette back in the day, right? What praytell is the difference since either way you're not paying for it?

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2007



16088 Comments


I steal music all the time. I just think that as a general respecting the artists thing you should really wait until the release date to review things. I do it just because I have a "staff" tag and that apparently means I'm supposed t review it before the release date.

plane
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2007



6094 Comments


Fall Out Boy bitched and moaned about their leak, but they still hit #1 and haven't slowed down much, so whatever. Minus the Bear will be fine.

SpinLightTwo
August 16th 2007



1041 Comments


I think that Minus The Bear are much more respected anyway. People that love them will support them. simple.This Message Edited On 08.16.07

CushMG15
August 16th 2007



1802 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I'd imagine that MtB are some pretty righteous dudes. These guys are really tight. Literally speaking. Crazy tight.

SpinLightTwo
August 16th 2007



1041 Comments


lovin' Part 2.

KritikalMotion
August 20th 2007



2261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lovin' whole thing. Great album, probably going to be a 4.5 for me.

Digging: Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World

P13
August 20th 2007



1327 Comments


I really want to get this album but i haven't taken the effort to order it off of Amazon :
I'm gonna get on that!



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