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Heavy Rock mélodique. Une excellente surprise que la réédition et la remasterisation du premier album (ne vous fiez surtout pas au look ridiculeusement glam du quintet et concentrez-vous sur la musique) d'Icon, groupe US (de Phoenix, soit la même ville qu'Alice Cooper) disparu depuis longtemps dans les impitoyables oubliettes du rock & roll circus ; une excellente surprise parce que leurs compositions toutes en muscles et en finesse valent largement la peine d'être exhumées et ramenées à la vie. Vrai, en son temps (soit 81/84), Icon aurait pu casser la baraque aussi et même mieux, parfois, que bien des formations ayant connu un succès plus ou moins mérité - mais bon, nous ne sommes pas là pour intenter des procès qui n'en finiraient pas ! -- Compact
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Mike Varney produced the band's debut album himself which received huge underground praise on the metal scene. The original intention was to issue the record on Shrapnel Records but Icon was soon snapped up by major label Capitol Records. The second album, 'Night Of The Crime' produced by the esteemed Eddie Kramer and mixed by the equally highly respected Ron Nevison, found Icon dropping the favored heaviosity of the debut under pressure from their label favoring more of a commercial route the band also roped in the services of professional songwriter Bob Halligan Jr., a man noted for his work with Judas Priest and Helix among others.
This move tended to find favor with European based import buyers who considered the album to be nothing short of a classic by fans of American hard rock. Unbelievably, 'Night Of The Crime' failed to dent the charts. Clifford quit during mixing stages of the album, reportedly to become a born again Christian. Aquilino made his exit a year later to be replaced by Kevin Stoller as Icon substituted second guitar for keyboards.
Despite this setback Wallach, Wexler and Dixon persevered, recruiting vocalist Jerry Harrison and guitarist Drew Bollman. Recordings were made in a much lighter vein than before, which saw the light of day as the 'A More Perfect Union' cassette album. Although thought to be an unofficial release by many this cassette was in actual fact a bona fide Capitol Records release.
Performing tribute gigs to raise funds under the bizarre assumed name of Assmaster in their native Arizona, Icon soon got back on the road. Icon's efforts were rewarded with a deal from Megaforce Records. The resulting album, 'Right Between The Eyes', was given a boost by the inclusion of Alice Cooper guesting on vocals on the tracks 'Two For The Road' and 'Holy Man's War'.
The Alice Cooper connection did not end there as Wexler recorded rhythm guitar with the great man on the studio track 'Lost In America' for his 'Fistful Of Alice' album. The guitarist also co-wrote four tracks on Alice Cooper's 'Last Temptation' concept album. Wexler would also aid songstress Lydian with her 1989 demos, his material later turning up on the 'With a Vengeance' album.
The French Axe Killer label would re-ssue and remaster Icon's first brace of albums during 2000. The same year an album entitled '1984: Live Bootleg' was issued by the band with an accompanying video. 2002 found Wexler in Thieves In The Temple, issuing the album 'Thick As Thieves'. Rumors of an ICON reunion persist.
(1984) ICON - ICON
(1985) ICON - NIGHT OF THE CRIME
(1987) ICON - AN EVEN MORE PERFECT UNION
(1989) ICON - RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES
(1999) ICON - 1984: LIVE BOOTLEG
Album # 3 was originally entitled More Perfect Union, this is a 1995 reissue. Each one is signed and numbered. This album, initially released on cassette only, was an independent release. It came in a period when the band was in between record deals. The cassette originaly contained ten tracks. The CD version containing the remaining tracks was/is released as a limited edition. The songs on this album are examples of the excellent song writing the band was capable of.
Icon turned into a commercial Whitesnake-ish band on Right Between The Eyes. New Singer (Jerry Harrison). Guitarist Drew Bollmann replaced John Aquilino. Two decent songs on it:
* A Far Cry (Very Dokken-ish)
* Holy Manfs War (Pretty heavy)
Every song is a gem, but here are the standouts: "(Rock On) Through The Night" is a perfect leadoff track, literally charging at you from the start with an in-your-face sonic showcase. Their best-known song, "On Your Feet", is an outstanding fist-raising metal anthem with crowd-pleasing lyrics. "World War" contains one of Clifford's best vocal performances and uniquely diverse guitar harmonies from Wexler and Aquilino. "Under My Gun" proves that an uptempo headbanger can successfully showcase some crafty guitar effects. "Rock 'N' Roll Maniac" is another twin-guitar masterpiece with a razor-sharp metallic sound throughout. Finally, "It's Up To You" features Clifford delivering a gritty, sincere vocal performance; it should be on the top of anyone's list of best power ballads.
Their three follow-up studio albums were also very good (though their musical direction changed on each one), but this is their masterpiece. After being so hard to find for many years, it is definitely great to get these via MP3 now. One question remains: the band had apparently reunited (with Clifford, Wexler, and Aquilino on board) and were working on new recordings; any news on this?