Wednesday 4 November 2015

Spinning: The Icarus Line - All Things Under Heaven

Influences like Iggy & The Stooges and Birthday Party are pointed out in The Icarus Line's music regularly, so you can expect some aggression and intensity, but they never sounded so angry as on their new LP All Things Under Heaven. That is a plus for a band that have been around for more than fifteen years, because it often means the music has not faded and the band still has plenty to say.

The group is hitting hard on their eighth album and starts that right away in the first song 'Ride Or Die', that has an ominous beginning with a fade-in and a dark humming voice, eventually bursting into explosive drums, raging guitars and a screaming organ. "Jesus, save us" you will hear, but that's not going to happen, since The Icarus Line take you onto a diabolical tour through a dark world. Once again it reminds of Nick Cave like in 'El Sereno', where you'll hear harmonies singing "in the black water" and shrieking guitars that could easily have been produced by the Australian. On 'Bedham Blue' Warren Ellis even collaborated, indeed, Cave's loyal companion in The Bad Seeds and Grinderman.

All the anger comes together in the title track 'All Things Under Heaven', where artist Joe Coleman is playing a kind of devil's advocate in a monologue. Supported by a dramatic sounding organ and what seems a beeping alarm clock, he's addressing the state of the world and how mother nature regulates population by means of diseases and other misery. He ends his plea with "the serial killer, the taker of human life is the’re the problem!". Those are heavy words, but it's clear they make you think about it. In 'Millenial Prayer' a series of sentences follows that start with "thou shall" complementary to the Ten Commandments. The nervous sax you can hear stops all of a sudden and the song ends with "who the fuck do you think you are? some kind of exception to reality?". The words hit you like a sledge hammer and all you can do is humbly bow your head.

All Things Under Heaven is an impressive record where singer Joe Cardamone is dealing with the demons in his life in an aggressive way, by boldly sending an even more devilish monster on them. He's staring the demons right in the eyes, swears at them and spits them in their face. It makes you want to play the record over and over again, as if the beast is hypnotizing you and you're under his control. When the album ends with 'Sleep Now' it's not a lullaby but leads you into a dark nightmare. There simply is no escape.

This review has been published on Festivalinfo in Dutch over here.

Listen to 'All Things Under Heaven' on Spotify.

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