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Criminally Under the Radar - 76%

Metal_Guderian, March 12th, 2018

Take one look at that album cover and what do you see? I see an aggrieved ex-girlfriend coming back to exact her revenge, killing you and her replacement, in a double-murder suicide. Now, that all sounds like something Dave Mustaine of Megadeth would have written back in '85, but that's not what's being conveyed in the opening song, "Naked Eyes", which is catchy, melodic, with some really sound vocals–and, the album has a lot of good vocal melodies/hooks, throughout. It's melodic hard rock with some heavy metal moments, unlike their debut which is more metal oriented.

Icon isn't as well know as say Quiet Riot or Night Ranger and one of their biggest hits, "Sister Christian", but this album is in that sort of mold, with big catchy choruses, accompanied by very melodic solos, and they added lots of keyboard parts to this album. The best example of this is probably "Danger Calling", which combines all of these elements, and "Take Another Shot at My Heart" is another ridiculously catchy song, which could have easily found itself on a Bill & Ted's movie soundtrack–very much like Shark Island's "Dangerous". There's also some heavy metal in the form of "Out For Blood", which is definitely more of a reflection of the iconic album cover. And, it's a general reflection of how the album is structured; it's very melodic to begin with and then gets heavier in the riffage, and quickly gets darker in its lyricism.

The riffs are really good, although, they never really take centre stage, with more emphasis on the vocal melodies and melodic guitar soloing. Another example of the change to a more heavier tone is the pounding, "Raise the Hammer", where the title alone sounds very heavy metal, while the final song, "Rock My Radio", is certainly a rock anthem designed for the big stadium. All of these songs do showcase some good songwriting abiltity, and some praise has to go to the producer, Eddie Kramer, who's worked with some of the biggest stadium rock bands. His production creates such a smooth sound, which enhances all of the good musicianship. So, there are some excellent vocals, guitar solos, and the keyboards add more atmosphere. With all of these elements, it's surprising that this album went under the radar because it's really good for its time.