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Icarus Witch are one of those "retro" (I have never particularly liked that term) Heavy Metal bands that are fortunately popping up these days more and more, like head lice in the spring. Unfortunately, however, this band is not as good as a few of their like-minded contemporaries in Slough Feg and Twisted Tower Dire, falling juuuuust short of a full combo meal, if you get my drift. They have groovy, hooky riffs and catchy choruses out the ass, and they have a warm, deep guitar tone that will keep your head banging, but the songwriting isn't up to scratch. The vocals are very good, but at times the singer lacks depth and charisma. The riffs are pretty good, but they could be so much better. The songs are catchy, but they often feel far too short and somewhat incomplete, as if the band rushed them a bit. As I said, this stuff just doesn't glaze over very well once you give it a concentrated listen.
I think Icarus Witch's problem is that they're trying too hard to be "retro," stockpiling elements from just about every style they could think of from those golden years of Rock/Metal, instead of just focusing on one element that they really excel at. It's like the band wanted this album to be some sort of Best Of The 80s compilation or something, because the songs here, while fun and enjoyable, are a somewhat cluttered mishmash of very early 70s and 80s Metal alongside a healthy helping of Hard Rock in the grooves that keep the songs flowing, and even a fairly prominent Glam Rock influence in the choruses and vocal lines. Icarus Witch are definitely retro and old-school and whatever else you want to stick on them, but at what cost? Songs for the Lost comes off as unfocused and without a true identity, an album from a band that doesn't exactly know what direction they want to go in yet. There are so many different styles used here that the music becomes rather faceless and bland compared to that of the band's aforementioned contemporaries, and it hurts the quality quite a bit. The fact that this album packs great songs like "Devil's Hour," "Out For Blood," "House of Usher" and "Written in the Stars" is definitely a plus, and Icarus Witch are a promising band. Let's just see if they can polish up their inconsistencies for the next album.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com