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A little more towards AOR this time - 65%

olo, November 21st, 2007

The biggest difference between Icarus Witch's latest album Songs for the Lost and their first and previous one, 2005's Capture the Magic, simply put, is the fact that their balls have shrunk a bit. If Capture the Magic gave them a place next to the kings of this nice little throwback movement (Slough Feg, Bible of the Devil, Hammers of Misfortune), this new album produced again by Eric Klinger of Pro-Pain fame is closer to AOR than before. You know, the kind of album that gets full marks on The melodies, choruses, the grooves that want to be all stadium, the guitar riffs that are a little more timid in the mix and the snare with more reverb, 80s style. Take the following for further proof. Capture the Magic saw this band covering the Rhoads/Daisley penned S.A.T.O featuring the guitar hero George Lynch. This album sees them covering Mirror Mirror (from Def Leppard's early hard rocking moment, High n Dry) featuring the AOR king Joleen Turner. There's even a full fledged acoustic ballad called Smoke & Mirrors at the fag end of the album with a female vocalist guesting.

Mathew Bizilia on vocals is good and I will not deny that. He sounds like Geddy Lee singing for an NWOBHM band but the problem is, his lines are very low on energy and attitude even though the melodies make up for it more often than not. He hasn't changed much since the first album though. Just that in this setting, maybe a little more bombastic and energetic sounding singer would've made this album work more than him.

Steve Pollick still pulls off some good rhythm guitars within the confined pool that he draws his ideas from but it's the leads and the harmonies along with Jason Myers' old school bass playing that make this album click. Songs like the album opener Out for Blood, Nature of the Beast, Devil's Hour, House of Usher (arguably the heaviest of the album), the aforementioned cover of Mirror Mirror work for me and the rest of the album isn't bad either.

This second album is a bit of a slump or an evolution depending on where you come from. I'm going to give it 65, feel free to give it another 5 or maybe 10 if you dig 80s arena rock more than I do. Nothing more.