Another of the current crop of retro-minded Heavy Metal bands, along with WOLF, ENFORCER, RAM, WHITE WIZZARD, etc, ICARUS WITCH are back with their third full-length album, and fourth release overall. On “Draw Down The Moon”, ICARUS WITCH continue to stand just left of the pack through a hard to explain “mystical aura” (for lack of a better description) with seemingly spills from their music. However, as with past efforts, the band remains content in simply plodding along at a mid-pace throughout, always shying away from really letting loose. Imagine riding along a horse-drawn Gypsy Caravan – it’s something different, maybe slightly magical, but not that terribly exciting. That’s the sound of ICARUS WITCH.
Now, that’s not to say that every retro Metal band should be balls-to-the-wall fast, as that too would get old, but ICARUS WITCH basically have one speed, backed by very Rock n Roll-ish drumming, make for a sound that could use the occasional shot of adrenaline or kick in the arse.
There are some nice riffs and leads found throughout “Draw Down The Moon”, and base has a pleasing rich-tone that works quite well when used as a lead instrument (such as on the title track). The vocals fit perfectly in the mold of the classic Heavy Metal vocalist (give thanks to Rob Halford’s template), sticking in the mid to high range, with just enough grit to get the job done.
Production-wise, “Draw Down The Moon” is pristine, opting to go for the modern sound values rather than replicating the 70s/80s. Considering the rather minimal nature of the music (no frills – just guitars, bass, drums, vocals, and minimal keys), the production allows each facet to breath and shine on its own, making for a very ear-pleasing listen.
The band’s decision to cover JUDAS PRIEST classic “The Ripper” comes as no surprise, as the general pacing of this song fits the rest of the album perfectly. Strangely enough though, this may be the most exciting moment of “Draw Down The Moon” (it’s an excellent song, you know). The vocal resemblance of Matthew Bizilia to classic Rob Halford is almost uncanny, making it an enjoyable conclusion to the album.
The songs on “Draw Down The Moon” are certainly ear-catching enough, but the pacing makes it hard to pay attention throughout. Too fast for Doom and too slow for plain Heavy Metal, ICARUS WITCH operate in their own realm, and must be commended for that, as it’s a sound many with likely fall in love with. As for myself, I tend to lose interest rather quickly. Your mileage may vary.
(Online September 29, 2010)