Relinquishing the failed detours of Requiem and Octagon, this ninth installment, supposedly compromised of mostly unreleased material from the era post Blood Fire Death, it marks a return to the much adored Viking Metal sound Quorthon pioneered. Although similar in overall length, its eleven tracks feel clunky, alternating in temperament that breaks up its flow. This falls inline with a statement that forty percent of material was was reworked for this release. The swan songs Man Of Iron and The Ravens, One Eyed Old Mans Motorhead energy, the galloping pace of Gods Of Thunder And Of Rain and the Progressive riffing of The Stallion stick out with a keen shift away from the established sound of heathen cultural inspiration.
The rest of the record however carries over much of what was heard on Twilight Of The Gods with far more gusto in its meaty distortion guitars and epic drums lavished in reverb, with exception to the tom drums which are claustrophobic on some tracks, as if recorded in a cupboard. Choirs of human voices with a rural burden return and Quorthon mostly delivers his cleaner style blemished in authenticity as he tangles with notes just beyond his grasp. Its mostly charming, at least I've heard him do worse with this unfiltered approach.
After many spins Blood On Ice still plays like a fractured record with a shared vision. The Lake takes merit as a stand out track, its dragging discordant guitar chords provide an epic drone for gloomy voice to be counteracted by frays of glossy acoustic chords plucked slowly. Its an epic with a guitar solo to match, which bring me to another point, his lead guitar work on this one isn't as sharp. The record was shelved unfinished in 1989 and its resurrection doesn't make it feel anymore complete.