Draw Down The Moon
posted on 4/2010 By:
Since their inception in 2004, Icarus Witch has released an EP and three full-lengths; they’ve done opening slots for Heaven & Hell, Slough Feg, and most recently Paul Di’Anno. Their accomplishments are many and impressive, but still, I'm not quite sold on their traditional metal stylings, their actual, y’know, music.
Prior to this record, I've only experienced 2005's Capture The Magic, skipping the record between these two (2007’s Songs For the Lost, which by most accounts stands as the band’s highest point). While Draw Down The Moon is a definite improvement over Magic, I’m still kinda blasé to the entire Icarus affair. In the case of both records, I love the direction towards which these Pennsylvanians aspire, but some facets of their delivery feel incomplete. Stylistically, the Witch treads the line between Maiden-'n'-Dio-esque classic metal and a hard rock aesthetic, and sometimes, more than bridging the gap, they fall squarely into it.
The first obstacle I have to overcome with Icarus Witch comes in the form of Matt Bizilia’s vocals. His range is decent enough, but his soaring tenor, wide vibrato, almost cartoonish dramatics and reedy timbre leave me cold, lacking the grit and bluster that I want for this type of music. He aims for the power of Ronnie James Dio, achieving it in a few instances, but he also possesses a nasal edge that reminds me of Brian Molko (Placebo) and Vince Neil (Motley Crue)—a combo of singers whose work I love, but whose sounds I do not necessarily wish compressed into one.
The second complaint I have with Draw Down The Moon lies in the murky middle ground between the performance and the tunes themselves. Production-wise, the sounds are technically (ahem) sound, but these tracks feel flat, lifeless. Song-wise, again, there’s nothing really wrong with what’s here, except that only one or two moments step above any of the band’s influences or adds anything at all to their well-established formula. Only album opener "Black Candles" is a solid song—the rest trade in bits and pieces of coolness interspersed amongst exactly the type of clichéd riffage and theatrics one would expect, given the nature of this beast. (And c’mon, guys, you can find a more interesting cover than "The Ripper." Great song and all, but we don’t need another version.) Most of Draw Down The Moon is a decent tribute to a bygone era, nothing more than that, and one that probably goes down easier on stage than on disc. In the end, it just kind of … is.
I am fully aware that, had this record come out in 1984, I would probably hold it in higher esteem—I might even blog about it as something of an overlooked gem. But Draw Down The Moon didn’t come out then, it came out now, and as it stands, it’s an acceptable effort, good in ways but far from overpowering.
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