Ikon was formed in 1991 out of the ashes of Death in the Dark. Band members over the years have included a number of various musicians and vocalists with Chris McCarter remaining the backbone to the band. The current lineup consists of Chris McCarter (vocals, guitar), Dino Molinaro (bass) and Clifford Ennis (guitar, vocals). Clifford and Chris were also a part of the excellent band Jerusalem Syndrome. All of this talent comes together in an awesome display of goth and darkwave music. The band has obvious influences from past greats like Joy Division and Death in June, but their sound is definitely their own and something unique that anyone can pick up and recognize. Over the long history of the band the sound has remained a steady gothic rock flavor varying little in overall style, but with plenty of dynamics.
The history of this band is impressive and is evident just by taking a look at the discography from this band. Their first release was a 7" titled Why and appeared in 1992 on Nile Records. The full-length albums would soon follow including In the shadow of the angel in 1994 as the full-length debut. It has been just over a decade since this first release and we've been treated with eight excellent albums including a retrospective titled From angels to ashes which is a great way for people that are new to the music from this band to pick up and get to know them better.
Due to the success and shear number of excellent releases in the gothic genre, this band has become known as one of Australia's biggest gothic exports. They have played in venues ranging from their homeland of Australia and have ventured to play all over Europe including M'era Luna in 2002 and Wave Gotik Treffen in 2003. This is definitely a band to watch and pick up all of their releases. They have long since been a presence here on Gothic Paradise since it's inception and with the release of their 2001 album On The Edge Of Forever. Be sure to check out their music past and present and listen to them here on the Gothic Paradise radio shows.
Love, Hate and Sorrow - Review
It's great to have another album from this band as they keep the gothic rock genre alive with each new release. With this album we have a dozen new driving tracks featuring their solid style with driving guitars, solid percussion and vocals that are now familiar to fans worldwide.
I know there are many people out there like me that love and enjoy great EBM, Industrial and Synthpop music, but it sure is great to have some great, solid Gothic Rock amongst it all, as this still remains a solid favorite genre here. This album really packs it in, with nearly every track being a solid masterpiece. Several tracks do sound quite similar, but overall it's just nice to have such a solid gothic style to build on for the entire album making it so that you can listen to the entire album and not have to skip any pieces that are not up to par.
So here we have this album that brings together the grinding guitar, a solid bassline, moving drums and Chris' vocals on each piece. "A Line On A Dark Day" starts it off and we just move with a fast-paced beat right on through one track after another with these same solid elements. The lyrics are thought-provoking, the moods are somber yet we still manage to have some anthem-like pieces in the title track "Love, Hate and Sorrow" and the aforementioned "A Line On A Dark Day". "Memoirs of a Butterfly" is a catchy track with all the favorite elements and a chorus that you'll be singing along with in no time. "Torn Apart" brings down the intensity a bit and the subtle synths come out a bit more for a nice break from the driving guitars, making this one of their more ethereal and beautiful pieces. "Beautiful Sadness" stands out in this moodier style with the music being a bit more dreamy and mid-tempo for some excellent added variety.
That really covers most of the album without digging into each individual track. They're all captivating and enjoyable and I think any gothic rock fan will really enjoy them. There's nothing really that stands out amongst the rest as the entire album is really excellent.
Destroying The World To Save It - Review
It's been a very long wait for new material since the 2001 album On The Edge Of Forever. Sure we had the "best of" release in 2003 to tide some fans over, but it's great to have this new work available to fans. This album builds on the intensity and driving forces behind each of the previous works over the best decade to bring to life thirteen nice tracks.
This album is probably the most powerful and dynamic album to date by this group. It is also more aggressive in content and musical style with grinding guitars and driving percussion kicking off right from the start with the anthem-like "Never Forgive! Never Forget!". The music is relentless as it continues to drive on with "The Dying Crown" and "Without Shadows" continuing on in that same forceful style. Anthem-like gothic rock forms the basis for each of these tracks with various percussion styles, solid bass and guitars remaining solid throughout. "Psychic Vampire" is the first single from this album and also probably the most driving and forceful piece. I'm sure to many people this will be a favorite track, I found it very catchy with more noticeable electronics and a nice melody and beat. I've also been trying to find music that isn't full of vulgar language and so I was surprised to hear the amount on this track that turns it into a very hateful piece. Other gothic rock favorites on this album include the up-coming second single "Rome" and the dynamic piece "My Crucible". These and others prove once again how powerful Ikon can be in their music.
For those that have enjoyed the more dynamic elements in the music from this band there is still plenty here to enjoy including the very Death in June-styled "God has Fallen From the Sky". This and other pieces continue on in this more somber style bringing out moodier elements and some layered electronics. A really special treat on this album are two excellent tracks that Louisa John-Krol lends her heaveny vocals to. "Ashes of Blue" is one of these with a nice dance beat mixed with the solid Ikon sound for something fans can really enjoy. The other is "Slaughter" with a broad range of everything between Native American chants to Spanish guitar and tribal drums.
That pretty much wraps up what to expect from this album. If you like gothic rock, this is definitely for you. The aggressive nature of the lyrics and driving music adds a certain edge that many listeners will enjoy.
Label: Apollyon Records