STINKING LIZAVETA bring a wealth of live experience to their fifth full-length release, and many of the tracks reflect the raw edge associated with the band’s live performances. With a consistent line-up the band has developed a great sense of awareness about each other’s quirks. The result comes across with a well-thought out and finely-tuned assortment of tracks influenced by Jazz, Southern Rock, Thrash, and (of course) the Blues.
Guitar stands as the strongest element of “Scream Of The Iconoclast,” although the drummer and bassist in no way lack talent. Yanni Papadopoulos demonstrates a mastery of appropriate tone usage, intricate phrasings, catchy riffs, and pinched harmonics. Wah pedals frequently appear on his lead work while controlled gain slips into the main riffs, but more importantly a raw energy hums through every lick that makes each track sound and feel like a live performance. At times Yanni’s lead work resembles that of NITZINGER and BUGS HENDERSON with its roots rich in early Blues and Rock. Other moments show clear Thrash and early Heavy Metal influences, and the overall brilliance of Papadopoulos’ contributions stop nowhere short of excellence.
“To The Sun” and “Requiem For A Rock Band” top off the release with a completely unique feel. The upright electric bass provided by Alexi Papadopoulos and the primitive rock feel of Cheshire Agusta’s drum work support the experimental fusion lead style quite well, and the tracks contain an overall groove that the rest of the album fails to replicate. “Secrets Of The Past” pays tribute to BLACK SABBATH but will not hold the interest of modern listeners. “Willie Nelson (Tired Of The War)” offers plenty of diversity in rhythm, intensity, and dynamics to satisfy both seasoned and youthful ears. “Thirteenth Moon” showcases Cheshire’s drumming ability with intricate time signatures and fantastic rolls on the snare and toms. Excellent musicianship sparks throughout “Scream Of The Iconoclast” as the artists hit about every imaginable mood with a high degree of technique and burning precision.
Fans of Instrumental Rock rooted in the 60s and 70s will rejoice in this release while followers of Doom and Progressive Metal might call it an acquired taste. In either case, the musicianship of this release beckons for the listener’s attention and will encourage any curious parties out to live performances for a closer glimpse at STINKING LIZAVETA’s magic.
(Online May 25, 2007)