Review Summary: Cheese to the extreme
If Black Ice had maybe a different name and had released this earlier than 1986, they may have been as popular as Motley Cure. I know that's a bit of a bold statement, but I stand by it. They managed to ride the line between the glam metal of Pyromania era Def Leppard and the "true" metal of thrash successfully, a feat often attempted and rarely completed. I think a good way to describe them, is Motley mixed with Whitesnake, as in sleazy, fun songs, but with a darker, heavier edge to them. This EP is nothing innovative, but it's a fun little EP that has more than a few good tracks.
The lyrics... well, they're there. That's about it. The songs are about nothing really, other than metal and sex, surprise surprise. They lyrics are simple and fun, not much more can be said. Really though, this is a good thing, as if they tried to take themselves seriously (White Lion anyone?) the result would have been... odd to say the least. That said, there is more to good lyric writing than just lyrical themes. Songs about stupid topics can still be great if they're well written, but Black Ice falls short here too. There's nothing outright offensively awful here, but there are some moments that get unintentionally campy (Heavy Metal Warriors is about time-traveling metalheads and it's played 100% straight faced). Fortunately, most people who are interested in this form of metal, aren't to concerned about lyric quality, myself included. Sometimes, lyrics at a 3rd grade reading level are exactly what a song needs.
Musically, this album is awesome. They are simple, riff oriented songs, that are pure rock n roll fun. No odd time signatures or fancy tricks found here, nothing but good ol' metal. They are all catchy and could have easily been hits for the band, had they come out at the right time. You can't really ask for more than that. The guitar solos are simple and short, doing nothing to really distract from the main parts of the songs. That doesn't mean that longer solos wouldn't have been appreciated, but what we were given is passable. The only real grating factor is the drumming. I'm fine with simple instrumentals, but the drumming here is at nearly neanderthal levels. There are a handful of alright fills on "Heavy Metal Warriors", but on just about another album, they'd be forgettable at best. All of that is, however, made largely irrelevant by the almighty riff, who's quality renders the damage that the forgettable drumming and solos did meaningless.
The vocals here are great, and, for a no name singer, are very impressive. Vocalist Greg Hughson can't scream like Halford or anything, but his vocals are well above average for a band who's reputation is basically nonexistent. It's a shame that he didn't go on and do anything more than Black Ice; many bands with good music have been ruined due to awful vocalists, and it's sad to know one as good as Hughson was out there not doing anything when he theoretically could have saved those records.
In conclusion, if you like simple metal, this is a great EP. It's nothing exceptional or genre defining, but if you're in the mood for some straight-forward, fist-pumping, badass metal, this is a great place to get your fix. I don't find myself listening to it on a regular basis, but I do come back from time to time, a lot more often than most other records outside of my favorites list. It's all on YouTube so give it a shot.