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Iconic: Second Skin

Second Skin is the debut studio album by hard rock/arena rock/heavy metal band Iconic which consists of Michael Sweet on guitars and vocals (Stryper, Boston), Joel Hoekstra also on guitars (Whitesnake / Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Tommy Aldridge on drums (Ozzy, Gary Moore, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy), Marco Mendoza on bass (The Dead Daisies, Thin Lizzy) and Nathan James on lead vocals (Inglorious).

Easily taken from mid 80’s heavy metal and hair metal scene, a source for plenty of air-guitar playing and foot stumping, their sound is what you should expect from arena hard rock crafted in the 2020’s by a cast of very talented musicians. Sometimes I have the perception that this type of retro oriented metal is the trending topic for all these emerging new bands that are in their majority composed by well-known veteran musicians.

A very solid debut full of twin guitars harmonies, an outstanding drumming performance by one of the all-time best, neat and flawlessly rhythmic bass by another legend and to one of the greatest hard rock voices out there right now to round up the formula… “Nowhere to hide!”, the music here is contagious and masterfully crafted, within its genre of course.

The whole album is top shelf material, no regular stuff here, all songs are at least very good, and the look and feel are so familiar that is easy to think that you have heard it before, like taking the best Whitesnake, Europe, Dokken, DP Mark III album and release it in 2022 with the best of productions, the best crew, the best arrangements and the best songs. To my ears, it is that good. Love the heavy rocker opener “Fast as You Can” with that amazing guitar pairing and the catchy chorus, magnificent. “Ready For Your Love” jumps into the late 70’s hard rock scene with more modern sounding drums and bass, fantastic vocalization by James and some cool organ-like keyboards to help create that retro atmosphere. The title track “Second Skin” has one of the best and heaviest riffs of the album and even though it might be the less melodic song here, its grandiosity comes from the impressive metallic input courtesy if both guitars and the vocals. “All I Need” is a very cool and hooky power ballad, an excellent choice as prelude to the first released video and single “Nowhere to Run”, a fast and anthemic rocker that is both powerful and memorable, great drumming again by Tommy. “Worlds Apart” could easily be the softie here, James sounds calm and the band so sticky it almost feels glammy, but that’s the whole point, right, to blindly give some love to the genre?

“All About” brings back the heavy guitar soloing and riffing, powerful vocals, and bass lines so huge that only Hoekstra’s shredding can pair, and together they deliver one of the best songs of the album. “This Way” teases with the late70’s early 80’s heavy AOR sound, mixing those influences with little snippets of power pop to convert the little hooks into big hooks! With “Let You Go” the band shows how confortable they feel on those arena/hard rock/melodic rock shoes, especially with the vocal melodies and the intricate guitar work between Sweet and Hoekstra, a guitar duo that will (and hopefully) make some more musical history together. “It Ain’t Over” is another heavy and catchy rocker with great riffing, cool vocal harmonies, pristine shredding, and hooky melodies. Last but never least is the album closer “Enough Of Your Love”, a song that at first sounds like part two of “Ready For Your Love”, with the same hard blues blueprint that running underneath and delivering another great guitar performance by Joel. Very solid debut indeed!

Track Listing:
  1. (Run) As Fast as You Can (4:38)
  2. Ready For Your Love (4:12)
  3. Second Skin (5:41)
  4. All I Need (4:13)
  5. Nowhere to Run (4:11)
  6. Worlds Apart (4:43)
  7. All About (3:37)
  8. This Way (3:53)
  9. Let You Go (4:22)
  10. It Ain’t Over (3:57)
  11. Enough Of Your Love (4:25)

Added: June 26th 2022
Reviewer: Jose Antonio Marmol
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 925
Language: english

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