Company: Cleopatra Release: 2012 Genre: Traditional Rating: 4 Reviewer: EC
Catchy, hook laden and never dull
Lots of changes all around for this group of American upstarts. Its' hard to call the band new after eight years of touring and recording, now into the band's fourth full length album and third for Cleopatra Records (remember when that label was Goth?). 2012 brings Icarus Witch into Iced Earth motion sickness, this being the fifth total recording from the group ('04 was just an EP) and the fifth different drummer. Now we have Tom Wierzbicky riding the stool and we aren't done there. Major changes internally as the band part ways with vocalist Matthew Bizilia, the talented singer called it quits with the band to move onto something solo with Witch's previous guitarist in Steve Pollick (he left after 07's "Songs For The Lost). Replacing Bizilia is another fine talent in Christopher Shaner (from whereabouts unknown). The group also has a new guitarist in Dave Watson who combines with Quinn Lukas and founding member/bassist Jason Myers. So there you have it..."As The World Turns" done Icarus Witch style and another American band that can't seem to push straight through the door and remain as a solid piece of steadfast progression.
So "Rise" comes to us with the absolute sexiest album cover of the year. We get the obligatory black and white cover and a new logo for the band but who's noticing when you have a half-naked woman riding a broom in front of a mirror? With all of these changes it's no wonder the band seems fresh and invigorated. This is the best that Icarus Witch has sounded since 2004 and long gone are the battle -weary medieval themes of the band. These Pennsylvania natives leave it to Germany to paint us R.A. Salvatore, instead this new record enlightens by delving deep into Euro hard rock and AOR, never quite committing to one or the other but still rock steady behind Shaner's crystal clean vocal range. This album is just a really good listen from start to finish, something I can throw on anytime and not be beaten senseless with galloping riffs overdone with pounding double bass. Icarus Witch have joined bands like Destrophy in capturing a modern hard rock feel cross referenced by decades of heavy metal tradition. This is catchy, hook laden and never dull and I hope more and more US metal bands can embrace this sort of clean and polished maturity. Icarus Witch are like a new Queensryche, thought provoking with tons of positive energy and fluid movement captured perfectly on disc.