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Review: Icarus Witch - Rise
Icarus Witch

Label: Cleopatra Records
Year released: 2012
Duration: 45:39
Tracks: 12
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: September 18, 2012
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 2.68/5 (53.64%) (22 Votes)

Well this is a hard one to review, because on one hand it is a pretty damned good album, and on the other it is pretty much a sellout record by a superlative band that could have been so much better than this. If you don't know, old IW singer Matt Bizilia is gone, replaced by new singer Chris Shaner, and Bizila's departure has resulted in (or maybe from) a complete revamping of the band's sound and lyrical approach.

Now, Shaner is a good singer, and his voice is much more a rough sort of hard rock instrument, eminently suitable for the more anthemic songwriting on this disc. I miss Bizilia tremendously, because his performance on their last disc was absolutely stunning, and I was looking forward to hearing more. I can only hope he turns up elsewhere. Anyway, with the addition of Shaner's straight-up voice, this band has moved closer to a Firewind/Dream Evil kind of sound. Guitarist Quinn Lukas gets to really stretch out and show what he can do with clean-limbed, nimble riffwork and some killer leads. Songs like "The New Revolution" and "Tragedy" show off sharp playing and deft songwriting that ranges from good to excellent. There are some filler cuts like "Break the Cycle", but they are still listenable. The album loses quality as it goes on, and some of the later tracks are fairly predictable, but not awful.

The real problem with this album is that it is a pretty much total repudiation of their old works, the dark, mystical sound they used to have and did so well. You will find nothing here to equal songs like "Smoke and Mirrors" or "Dying Eyes". For all that this has some fine music on it, it smells like a sellout album. If their goal was to garner new fans, it will probably work, but I don't think they will keep many of the old fans who loved their old stuff.

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