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One of the leading bands in the revival of the traditional metal movement, Icarus Witch plays a style of classic metal influenced by bands such as Rainbow, Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band, and plenty of others. This EP was the band’s first true release and has proven to be a little grittier than their future efforts.
First and foremost, this band seems to be all about the guitar playing. Adopting a style influenced by the likes of Deep Purple/Rainbow’s Ritchie Blackmore and Ozzy Osbourne/Quiet Riot’s Randy Rhoads, guitarist Steve Pollick showcases plenty of technical riffs, shredding solos, and a few neo-classical touches for good measure. The rest of the band are also quite solid with bassist Jason Myers and vocalist Matthew Bizilia standing out in particular. Of course, the latter may be tough to get a taste for thanks to a nasally wail that recalls a younger version of such vocalists as Rush’s Geddy Lee and Helstar’s James Rivera.
Despite its short length, the EP does manage to cover a good amount of ground in its five song duration. The title track is a strong cover of an underrated 80’s Alice Cooper classic and may be the most powerful track that the band has ever recorded with its driving guitars and over the top vocals. "Curse of the Ice Maiden" is a cool mid-tempo track with a catchy chorus and some dramatic segments towards the song’s climax. "Halcyon" is a brief interlude that leads into the upbeat "Winds of Atlantis." "Dragon Ryder" closes the EP out in a fairly epic fashion. While the first half seems to overpower the remaining songs, it’s a solid batch that any young band would be proud of composing.
Overall, it’s not as developed as the band’s full-length efforts but it’s a promising start.
1) The band members are quite talented with the guitars/bass standing out
2) The first half of the album is quite strong
1) The vocals may be tough to get into
2) The band’s style may be too dated/cheesy for some
3) Songwriting isn’t as developed as later efforts
My Current Favorites:
"Roses on White Lace" and "Curse of the Ice Maiden"
Though the rise of melodic death metal and black metal from Scandinavia may have pushed the traditional metal sound into the second row, there is a surprising number of young bands who are determined to keep the style made famous by Saxon and Iron Maiden alive into the new millenium.
One of the most impressive of those bands is Pennsylvania-based Icarus Witch, whose members bring a surprisingly aggresive demeanor to a style of metal that hasn't been characterized as particularly radical. Matthew Bizilia's pleasing tenor wails and growls rise only slightly above the driving riffs and impressive solos wrought by guitarists Greg Gruben and Steve Pollick, and bassit Sin and drummer JC Dwyer pound out complex rhythms that one would not usually expect to find in a band so young.
The title track kicks off the EP with some extremely catchy hooks and infectious guitar runs, and the five-song recording doesn't decrease greatly in quality afterward. "Curse of the Ice Maiden" and "Dragon Ryder" are somewhat slower in pace but no less listenable, and "Winds of Atlantis" is an epic worthy of any pretentiously overblown power metal outfit, complete with fanciful descriptions of faraway lands and mystical powers possessed by its inhabitants. It's difficult to tell if Icarus Witch is paying homage to power metal in general or if they are giving us a tongue-in-cheek parody of the style's obvious cliche`s.
Icarus Witch has a bright future, and if they stick together for any length of time, they are bound to become hugely popular with fans of classic metal. This EP, "Roses on White Lace," is a worthy addition to most any fan's discography.
Isn't it great to know that real traditional heavy metal is alive and well? Icarus Witch from Pittsburgh, PA are proving that point and then some. This is their first EP after contributing a track to the most recent Black Sabbath tribute album. I haven't heard that particlar track so I cannot comment on the quality of it (or what cover it is for that matter). What I can say is that this EP is a startlingly good beginning to what I hope is a long career.
The ep is titled "Roses On White Lace" and kicks off with the excellent title track. The vocals of Matthew Bizilia recall the powerful lungs of James Rivera of Helstar and Seven Witches fame. The music is driven along by the guitar tandem of Steve Pollick and Greg Gruben and the rhythm section of Sin on bass and J.C. Dwyer on drums. The title track is catchy without sounding like shiny, happy, bouncy power metal band #1,000,003. This band has balls to go along with the hooks on these tracks. The remaining tracks are no slouches either, Curse of the Ice Maiden, Halcyon/Winds of Atlantis and Dragon Ryder are all quality metal tracks driven home with conviction by the band. If you are a fan of Jag Panzer, Iced Earth, Helstar, Liege Lord etc give this up and coming band a try. I look forward to hearing where these guys go in the future.