UK band ICONIC EYE first appeared back in 2014 with an initial single and EP, and released their debut album the following year. Two years later the band reappear with their second full length album “Into the Light”. Like their first production this CD was self released by the band.
In truth this isn’t really a new album, as the band have chosen to include several songs from their first production into this new creation. With good reason mind you, as Iconic Eye as of 2017 is a somewhat different band than in 2015, mainly due to their new lead vocalist Jane Gillard. She’s quite a find for this band, and if they should manage to break through commercially at a higher level than previously she is much of the reason for just that.
A lot of what I said about their debut album is still the case for this second run of theirs. The style of music can be described as melodic hard rock in general, with a few twists towards AOR on one hand and a more pompous, proggy expression on the other. Clever guitar and keyboard interactions is a staple, where contrasts are used to good effect both in tone and texture. The guitars are the dominating instrument, while the keyboards mainly have a more subservient position. Subtle dramatic flairs are delivered when needed though, as are rich keyboard and guitar riff tapestries. Often in arrangements that otherwise are firm, fairly hard and driving, within a melodic hard rock context that is.
When the band hits out on a slightly more proggier vein the keyboards are more central though, and in many such instances Iconic Eye does get a touch or three of mid 80’s Magnum to their sound. In a good way I should add. Otherwise the band opts for some clever and compelling combinations here and there, the ballad gone rocker fluctuations of Let It Rain Down can be mentioned in that context, as can the use of strings on Black Heart.
The sharp, clean and emotional vocals of Gillard is the icing on the cake here however. She manages to breathe more life into the songs, and her voice suits the instrumentation used to perfection at the best of times and supplements even some of the more ordinary cuts to a degree that does elevate them to a higher level. At times rather surprisingly so, as there are cuts here and there that grow in stature solely due to her contributions, and the way her voice fits so exceedingly well to the instruments.
If you have a soft spot for melodic hard rock and AOR, this is an album that merits a check for sure. Especially if you enjoy bands of this specific type that also have songs now and then that touch base with the somewhat more sophisticated expression bands such as Magnum made popular in the mid 80’s. A surprisingly compelling album, and one that in my view has the potential to hit home with a fairly broad audience.
My rating: 89/100
Am I the One, You Make It, Those Tears Won’t Last, Let It Rain Down, Black Country Lady, Better Place, Black Heart, All She Needed, Thanks for the Memories, Don’t Stop Me From Leaving, Never Get Through the Night