Iconic, “Second Skin” (Frontiers)
Like all good cooks in their country, the folks at Italian label Frontiers know that the secret to good cooking lies in experimentation: mix a pinch of this with a spoonful of that and add a little something else. The label specializes in single project albums mixing and matching heavy metal artists from disparate backgrounds to write and record new music together.
Sometimes, like a bad risotto, the whole thing has to be thrown away. Other times, though, they found a tasty combination, and they made a good one in Iconic.
Iconic features Stripper vocalist and guitarist Michael Sweet; guitarist Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake, Trans-Siberian Orchestra); legendary metal drummer Tommy Aldridge (Whitesnake and Ozzy Osbourne, among others) and bassist Marco Mendoza (Black Star Riders, Ted Nugent, Dead Daisies).
The only downside to this project is its inability to make more use of Sweet’s unique voice, which is instantly recognizable, and still as loud and soaring as it was in the early 80s when Stryper was MTV’s darling.
The band came together to feature up-and-coming vocalist Nathan James, a raspy blues-influenced vocalist who sounds more than a little like Jeff Scott Soto, the lead singer of guitar legend Yngwie Malmsteen in the early 80s. And while that songs like ‘Fast As You Can’, in which he swaps lead vocals with Sweet, and ‘Nowhere To Run’ are solid pieces of old-school metal, I could do with more Sweet vocals, at least one 50-50 split.
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