Dreamscapes From Dead Space
posted on 10/2012 By:
The paranoic-prophetic interest revolving around 2012 and the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar will likely pack about as much lasting swing as Y2K conspiracy-mongering — a blip on our collective radar, like Chris Jericho’s gimmick post-WCW and pre-Fozzy. This interest in 2012 started to gain ground in mainstream circles about four years ago, especially if your name is Roland Emmerich, and around the same time, a then-decade-old Boston band called Ichabod titled their fourth full-length album 2012. It was a mixed bag. Their psych-sludge execution displayed an affinity for enigmatic samples, extended improvisational jams, and some Pink Floyd love with a cover of “The Nile Song”. It felt front-loaded, yet definitely displayed promise.
Thing is, I didn’t seek repeat spins, because most of this territory was well-trod, and no amount of flute solos nor Alex Jones sound bytes nor Incredible Hulk-looking creatures could entice me back. All three of those things are monstrous in their own right, but these Olde Towne troubadours in Ichabod — try as they might — had trouble jelling.
Fast-forward to 2011, and Ichabod was proverbially headless for a while; longtime frontman Ken MacKay left the band, but his brother Phil kept hammering the skins alongside bassist Greg Dellaria and founding guitarist Dave Iverson. They found another axeman in Jason Adam, and an old friend named John Fadden assumed the vocalist slot. Fadden really surprises in spots like “108” where he eschews expectations, explores his range, and strikes my ears similar to Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone, of all things. More often than not, Fadden harks back not two decades, but one, and I catch a whiff of nu metal delivery — particularly in “Looking Glass” and all the lightly distorted spoken word. At one point, I seriously checked my iPod to make sure it didn’t accidentally switch to the new Vision of Disorder album.
The aforementioned “108” classes up the joint with soothing cello, and is also the one spot on the album which directly references the title, which I first thought was a larger theme of the record. If you name your album Dreamscapes from Dead Space and choose artwork like this, make sure it’s more thematically spacey. “Epiphany” hints toward astral realms, but barely cracks our stratosphere. And honestly, right from the get-go, the opening quote feels way out of place. “Huckleberry”’s sample is snagged from Tombstone (that sweet scene when Doc kills Ringo), and much of the song is inspired by the film… still, again, are we on a cosmic trip or rooted to the earth?
In the end, that’s what ultimately troubles me about Ichabod — headlessness — and that sucks when you want Man-E-Faces, but get Mekaneck instead. If the band could locate said head, and delve deeper into the human or simian or alien brain, they may just find their missing link.
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