ICONIC - Second Skin
August 5, 2022, a year ago
One of the most anticipated albums of 2022, and configuring of musicians, Iconic are Stryper's Michael Sweet doing guitars/lead vocals, Joel Hoekstra on guitar, bassist Marco Mendoza, Tommy Aldridge on the drums, and singer Nathan James (Inglorious) who more melodic rock fans should know about. Frontiers are known for these super groups, collaborations, Revolution Saints, The End Machine, Black Swan, Sweet & Lynch, W.E.T., and Allen/Lande. Is Iconic just another name to throw in the pile, do they stand out, offer something different? Let’s see…
"Run (As Fast as You Can)", also "Ready For Your Love", would fit on one of the last few Whitesnake albums, Sweet and Nathan trade off on vocal lines complimenting not stepping on each other’s performance. Sweet and Hoekstra also clearly recognizable by their style and guitar tones in the solo sections. At five plus minutes, "Second Skin" is the most interesting arrangement, driving, dynamic with several changes, Purple/Rainbow keys in the background. By track four "All I Need" James shows his less aggressive tone and delivery for the ballad. Strong almost ‘80s Dio-like metal riff (but not the chorus), and mid pace on single/video "Nowhere To Run". Sweet and Hoekstra harmonize pre solo. "Worlds Apart" is for all you melodic AOR rock listeners, "All About" gets a little bluesy, "This Way" and "Let You Go" guitars are not as dominant during the verses giving more room for James' voice, and the harmonies, to shine. Easy on the ears melody starts "It Ain't over" before it gets rocking, and twin guitar harmonies begin closer "Enough Of Your Love" which has a Lynch Mob first two albums vibe.
Album is front loaded with the harder rockers but enjoyable till the end. And yes, there is a lot of familiarity with other Frontiers super group's music being a melodic hard rock record label. It's Nathan's versatile tone with Sweet's recognizable voice, the guitar playing, and catchy hooks that gives Iconic its identity.