Icarus Witch - Rise (Cleopatra Records)
By: Matt Coe
[9/10] Pennsylvania traditional metal veterans Icarus Witch seem to live by an old REO Speedwagon song motto and “Roll with the Changes” despite any career twist or lineup turn they face. Normally, red warning signals would resound from the metal elite when 3/5’s of your previous lineup moves on, but for mainstays Jason Myers on bass and Quinn Lukas on guitar, it’s prime time to re-align and come forth all guns blazing for a monumental fourth studio full length platter in Rise.
This 12-song record encapsulates a band seasoned with the right songwriting dynamics and performance skills that take place when you’ve had the chance to tour North America the past two years, logging 30,000-plus travel miles as direct support for Paul Di’Anno and Y&T, as well as the extra bonus of being Paul’s backing band on two of those cross country jaunts. A stronger emphasis on potent chorus melodies (the harmonies on “(We Are) The New Revolution” reminiscent of the L.A. 80’s scene-meets-Pink Cream 69) and quick hitting, heartfelt guitar/bass riff hooks means cuts like the title track and “Say When” bring influences of Priest, Sabbath, Rainbow, and Maiden to a modern age with some of their more instantaneous and memorable material to date.
New vocalist Christopher Shaner possesses a sharp, AOR-like glide to his voice, his influences more in line with a cross between modern rock singers like Myles Kennedy and possibly the emotional explosiveness of Tom Englund of Evergrey. New guitarist/keyboardist Dave Watson adds his years of playing ability and production knowledge to the table on the reflective, darker ballad “Nothing Is Forever” - the twin acoustics against the echoing keyboard refrain reverberating daily in my brain matter- along with the comforting, multi-part vocal verse harmonies.
Rise possesses all the professionalism and confidence for Icarus Witch to take their club tour seasoning and literally ascend to the arenas. It’s a perfect time for an act in today’s generation to bring the glory of AOR-oriented traditional metal back to larger audiences, so bravo for the commitment to the cause. If you haven’t caught on to Icarus Witch yet, this is their ultimate record to own.