Crafting their own very appetising take on metalcore, UK band Icons certainly on the evidence of their latest EP Lifesigns, has a potentially rich and potent future ahead of them. Consisting of four tracks which rage at, coax in, and invigorate the senses, the release is a sizeable introduction to the Leicester hailing metallers. It is fair to say that there is not a major expulsion of genre shaking invention or sounds from band on the release but plenty to suggest that the quintet is capable of such feats in the future as they evolve and hone their songwriting.
Formed in 2011, Icons has earned a strong reputation with their live performances alongside bands such as Bleed From Within, Hacktivist, Martyr Defiled, Continents, Giants and Napoleon. With a collective blend of inspirations from the likes of The Ghost Inside, Architects, Parkway Drive, Periphery, Northlane, Bleed From Within and Heart of a Coward, the five piece conjure up propositions which certainly do not slip past ears and attention easily. Their songs provide a skilfully layered alignment of sounds and textures; hooks and rhythms spearing the creative landscape with equal purpose and passion to the voracious vocals. It is a raw and uncompromising endeavour but one with a wealth of enticements to seduce and transfix the imagination.
Opener Cataclysm strides into view with jack booted rhythms and a caustic sonic haze, its infectious enticing soon permeating ears and eagers thoughts. Taking a breath to establish its intent, the track then winds its sinewed riffs around the senses as the beats of Alan Forrest punch with a sure antagonistic touch. It is fiery bait which is soon under the squalling vocals attack of Neil Vernon, his coarse roars a scathing incitement within the emergence of sonic enterprise cast by guitarists Nick Toutjiaris and Joe Newman. Clean vocals join the picture next to bring a warm temperance to the still blustery gruff narrative, the union of both within the creative tempest of sound stalked by the great throaty bass provocation of bassist Chris Riley, magnetic in the least and thrilling in its strongest moments. As proven across the whole release though the ‘weakest’ elements are those vocals, both clean and raw deliveries undeniably potent instigators of the lyrical climate but at times landing wide of the levels musically the track elevates to.
Though the next up Fall of Avarice offers a similar scenario, it is not as big an issue as it might suggest with both styles working well enough but a further honing to rest easier within the maelstrom of inventive sound whilst still achieving their intensive aims would seem a wise move. The second track twists and flirts with the senses through intensive riffs, muscular rhythms, and a rigorously designed entanglement of sonic enterprise which holds the imagination capture from its opening play. The cleaner group vocal calls work perfectly it has to be said providing an anthemic pull which further entices the appetite to reconfirm that those vocal nags are minor for the main.
The latest single, Helios steps up next with viciously shaped grooves and melodic shards of adventure, the combination another easily accessible lure to immerse bravely within. The track creates scenery of emotive reserve and ravenous spite, both evocative propositions which merge fluidly together as the sounds expand their resourceful premises. It is not as striking and imposing as the previous songs with the vocals again raising small questions but still a song sparking keen attention and a lingering success for itself and band which is very easy to often return to.
The closing Hitch 22 opens on a rugged storm of strictly invasive riffs, deeply barbed hooks, and a contagious rabidity which instantly secures focus and hunger. Stretching its muscle flexing arms around the ears, the song proceeds to jab and scythe its way into the passions whilst simultaneously lighting the imagination with gentle but evocative short melodies and again superb group vocals, something they should definitely employ much more. The best track on the EP, it is a skilled cantankerous maelstrom which engrosses from start to finish and almost alone reveals all the promise within Icons to indicate that they are a real prospect as an emerging force.
There is plenty more within Icons to come, a continued evolution needed to see the band find a spotlight outside of the crowd but Lifesigns indicates that all the weaponry and craft is there waiting to be bred into something unique as it provides a very satisfying and enjoyable base to start from.
The Lifesigns EP is available now @ http://iconsuk.bandcamp.com/ as a buy now name your price download.
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