Brazilian heavy metal band Icon of Sin has been stirring up quite the praise over the last few months or so, exploding onto the scene this year with their debut self-titled album. I have to admit that I know very little of them, having found out about them from an ad on my Facebook and thought they sounded good so I added them to my list to review… and here we are. So, after only hearing that snippet of one song, let’s dive into their whole album!
‘Icon of Sin’ by Icon of Sin off the album entitled Icon of Sin starts us off. The opening reminds me a lot of ‘Still of the Night’, but it soon builds into a more traditional heavy metal riff, think Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. It builds up nicely into a quick riff before dropping out to mainly drums and clean guitar chords. The lead vocalist comes in over the top, the Bruce Dickinson inspiration being clear as I thought I was actually listening to a Maiden song at first. The Bruce-ness continues throughout, honestly blowing my mind a bit as he hits similar low and high notes. The guy would be AMAZING in a tribute band. It almost distracts me from the rest of the music for the first verse though, but from what I could tell it was still all great. The chorus is pretty good, catchy, and more reminiscent of Priest in terms of its structure. They actually remind me a lot of another Brazilian metal band I used to be a big fan of, Painside. They have a similar sound and love for the older British bands. A slower bridge leads into a great guitar solo, full of technicality and feeling. It then heads into a final chorus to finish off a pretty great opening song!
‘Road Rage’ opens at a blinding pace more akin to the likes of Motorhead. It has a lot of punk vibes to it and the drums are lightning quick. It’s pretty interesting to hear this sort of voice over more punk stuff, and I’m finding myself really enjoying it! It’s balls to the wall throughout, the chorus not slowing at all yet managing to be even more catchy and enjoyable than the previous songs. A short, sweet solo and final chorus finish off a short, sweet song, and a very enjoyable one at that!
‘Shadow Dancer’ gets back to the heavy Maiden vibes again, from the riffs to the soaring vocals. This is the song I had heard before, as I recognise the massively catchy chorus. It’s a great song, the riffs and general instrumentation being amazing while the vocal melodies just remind me so much of the last two or three Maiden albums that I cannot help but love it. The guitar solo is another fantastic showcase of talent, especially when it plays around with the chorus’ melody. We again then get a final chorus to take us home. I see why this was one of the singles, it was awesome, and easily made the playlist!
‘Unholy Battleground’ and ‘Night Breed’ are both great songs in their own right, but don’t add too much different than the likes of the opener and ‘Shadow Dancer’ have already done. Both are great songs, catchy choruses, and some fantastic riffs, but they are both that similar that I’d struggle to say that much about them that I hadn’t already brought up. Heck, even ‘Virtual Empire’ feels fairly similar, but at least it’s a little faster than the previous two songs, making it stand out a little at least.
‘Pandemic Euphoria’ is at least pretty relevant given the world’s ongoing situation, and the lyrics handle it all pretty well. It’s also maybe the catchiest chorus on the album, which is saying a lot given the song-writing talents of these guys. It’s another great solo as well, but it feels like it is getting redundant saying that at this point, as they have all been fantastic solos and will most likely continue to be awesome, too!
The band’s epic, ‘Clouds Over Gotham’, is up next. At eight minutes, it’s the longest song on the album by a good two and a half minutes. And, in case you didn’t guess, it’s Maiden as F**k. The slow, quiet intro leads into a great heavier riff and reminds me a lot of the likes of ‘Starblind’ or ‘When the Wild Wind Blows’. It takes nearly two minutes to make it to the first chorus but it’s worth it, it’s massive and catchy and does something that Maiden doesn’t utilise enough on their studio work, some great backing vocal harmonies. They add so many layers to it, as does the synth that comes in over the top, adding a real epic Phantom of the Opera vibe to it. The guitars following the same melody mere seconds afterwards somehow make it all feel even more epic, too. It drops out to just bass for a second after the second chorus, adding a fun little dynamic, before bursting into a long, AWESOME duelling guitar solo. It then heads to some beautiful acoustic guitar chords with vocals over the top, adding even more great layers to the song. It all builds perfectly into a HUGE final chorus. This was utterly fantastic, and more of what I was hoping for from a modern Maiden-style band. It was an eight-minute epic of fantastic musicianship, and it has instantly made every playlist I could put it on.
Unfortunately, as was most likely to be expected, the following tracks don’t quite live up to the lofty awesomeness of the previous one. ‘Arcade Generation’ has a great AOR-style riff running through it and the chorus is pretty decent. ‘The Last Samurai’ is a faster, punkier jaunt again, packed full of quick drumming and awesome riffs. ‘The Howling’ is somehow a pretty good combination of both of them. Meanwhile closing track ‘Survival Instinct’ is a straight-up Maiden-inspired hard rock track, and it’s awesome. As I have said in other reviews though, they are pretty similar to other tracks on the album so I struggle to have much to say about them. All three are fantastic songs on an awesome album though, I assure you!
Overall: I loved this. I always love discovering new music, especially when it’s a revamp of an older style and of this insanely high quality. I’ll be blasting a lot of these for weeks and months to come and I’m excited to hear where the band goes next. They have the potential to be megastars!
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