Icarus Witch - Roses On White Lace 2004 Magick Records
1. Roses On White Lace 2. Curse Of The Ice Maiden 3. Halcyon 4. Winds Of Atlantis 5. Dragon Ryder
Well ladies and gents, it has been some time since a band has just come out of nowhere and completely mesmerized me, completely demanded my attention. I had been reading some reports about a Pittsburgh band that was really bringing the sounds of Europe to the east coast. With all of the positive buzz I had to get my dirty paws on a copy ASAP. Thanks to the kind folks at Magick Records, a fairly new division of Cleopatra records, I now own the debut digipak EP from this talented quartet. And what a debut it is, from the packaging to the tight musicianship to the stellar vocals to the phenomenal production to the...well...let's just get to it.
Icarus Witch began their career in 2004, landing on the "Metal Tribute To Black Sabbath" album with their take on "Falling Off The Edge Of The World". The gig landed them on the same page with the likes of Racer X, Iced Earth, Vince Neil, and George Lynch who all joined in on this tribute record. The group also managed to gain an important spot on the "All Star Salute To Alice Cooper", covering "Roses On White Lace" in stellar style. Symphony X guitarist Michael Romeo joined in with the group to offer his talent, really making like Kane Roberts on the lead. With that being done the group decided to go in and record four demos which eventually led to this debut EP, a five song compilation which really kick starts this band's career in grand fashion.
With Europe doing so much good for the state of metal it is really refreshing and comforting to know that the US is really stepping up to the plate to bat along side the European audience. With metal hopefuls like Miles Beyond, Catch 22, Skullview, Aftershok, and October 31, the red, white, and blue is really starting to become a metal affair. Add Icarus Witch to the mix and we are no longer just competing but seriously contending for the ultimate "metal domain". But beyond scooping down too much pressure on these guys, let's just look at what we have on hand, that being this "Roses On White Lace" debut EP. As I mentioned earlier their cover of the Alice Cooper classic just smokes, with vocalist Matthew Bizilia really captivating the audience with his commanding presence. Really the vocalist sounds like a cross between Bruce Dickinson and Attacker's Bob Mitchell. He has the range to go both high and low depending on the mood of the song, and with the material stacked on this short outing Bizilia really shows off his pipes. With rock cuts like "Roses On White Lace" Bizilia focuses on his mid-range. With other tracks his voice lifts a bit, almost reaching falsetto at times. The combination of guitarists Steve Pollick and Greg Gruben is just mind boggling, really laying down some blistering, rapid fire assaults that incorporate some scorching leads.
"Curse Of The Ice Maiden" is a really epic adventure, sounding a lot like mid-era Attacker to me, but of course keeping the Iron Maiden vibe throughout. The song slows down mid-way through to show off bassist Sin (yep, you read it right) and a neat little Iced Earth sound effect reminiscent of their work on "Travel In Stygian". From there we get a short little intro called "Halcyon" which leads into "Winds Of Atlantis", a ripping epic chapter that has the new wave songwriting approach with the signature traditional fare backing it. At times Steel Prophet and Easy Rider come to mind, with the harmonics and melody really matching up with today's modern take on new wave. The EP finishes things up with a melodic stomper called "Dragon Ryder", which to me really fits into that Attacker mold again. Think of "Battle At Helm's Deep" with a modern approach and some very tight production.
Vocals, songwriting, craftsmanship, this band has it all. This is probably the hottest rookie band out right now, and by all standards they really deserve the promotion and positive reviews. This is just a fabulous offering from a brand new band that seems like they have the experience of a veteran group. This band is going far, and I'm sure at this point have a ton of offers on the table for a follow-up. Let's hope Icarus Witch leads the way for power metal to finally hit it's stride here in the states.
Note - You can purchase this digipak from the band for $5. Get it!!!
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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