Released by: Frontiers Records
Release Date: June 15th, 2022
Genre: Melodic Hard Rock
Nathan James – Vocals
Michael Sweet – Guitars, Vocals
Joel Hoekstra – Guitars
Marco Mendoza – Bass
Tommy Aldridge – DrumsGuests:
Alessandro Del Vecchio – Keyboards, Backing Vocals
1. Fast As You Can
2. Ready For Your Love
3. Second Skin
4. All I Need
5. Nowhere To Run
6. Worlds Apart
7. All About
8. This Way
9. Let You Go
10. It Ain’t Over
11. Enough Of Your Love
Frontiers Records has been perfecting the art of supergroups for years now; as their natural ascension has grown to the top of the small indie label enterprise empire it has become, in the process garnering top peer recognition for bringing back iconic 80s bands and releasing new music. Is not shocking to keep finding these All-Star sets of lineups every few years.
They manage to do this again with aptly named outfit Iconic, led by the super pipes of British powerhouse vocalist Nathan James (Inglorious), and the icon himself; Stryper frontman Michael Sweet. But that’s not all folks we have the dynamite guitars of axeman Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake and Trans-Siberian Orchestra), master bass thumper Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Black Star Riders, The Dead Daisies, Journey), and legendary drummer Tommy Aldridge (Whitesnake, Ozzy), etc. We finish things off with Mr. Frontiers’ multi-talented keyboard player, producer Mr. Alessandro Del Vecchio.
Guess if you have a lineup as stunning as this one you get to call the band Iconic. Hence the name. Will the music live up to the name’s sake? For the most part… yes it sure does. This here is classic Melodic Hard Rock that we come to expect from Frontiers and its long repertoire of releases.
From the on set we get flying guitars and shred stylings of Sweet and Hoekstra or Sweet going bezerk here, a high rising burner that has some nice choruses trade-offs between Sweet and James. Leaning more on a traditional Whitesnake-inspired sound here comes “Ready For Your Love”, Nathan James gets to showcase his vocal pipes and what has garnered him high praise overseas. A nice banger tune that is super melodic and screams Stryper meets Whitesnake; especially once the tune slows down it just delivers with catchy as hell and superb high rising vocals and a killer guitar solo.
The album title “Second Skin” boosts some robust vocals again via James to start the track, and Sweet layering and high powering the chorus in this one. In a very humble interview when we spoke with James here, he mentioned the honor of being involved in the project, and how great it was to sing with one of his heroes on a couple of the tracks, even Sweet has stated it was nice to have himself playing guitar instead of singing as much.
The album settles a bit with “Nowhere to Run” and “Worlds Apart”, a few mid-tempo churners that stabilize the groove in the record. The melody continues but the feel becomes more mature, songwriting especially The inspiring high rising vocals in “This Way’, give all the feels with more high-powering pipes by Mr. James himself. The track is a bit short but delivers nicely. Of all the tracks on the album, I think “Let You Go”, seemingly sounds like a lot of other Frontiers stuff, a bit Melodic Rock/AOR blend, with a more laid-back chorus line. I sniff Del Vecchio with his prints all over this one.
I can already hear the naysayers complain about the lineup and they are “never going to tour”, or “just another Frontiers Records” etc. Look I get the sentiments, how many of Frontiers so-called super groups have gone on the road to tour and perform some of these high-quality materials to a grander scale? not many at all. Is true and to a certain extent, I share that notion as well. I just think you have to see this as what it is, side projects which may have a short life span due to the busy schedules of the guys involved. Regular touring with main bands and or general availability overall. These projects do have a niche audience and are the reason the label keeps doing them. Now what I love to see is a festival with some touring dates with a few of these supergroups solely dedicated to Frontiers music (and I don’t mean just tour in Italy), call it “Firefest” on steroids. I don’t know just a thought people at the label. Another of the top tracks comes via the final cut in “Enough Of Your Love”, which once more has Nathan James smashing the vocals and the overall groove in this song is just very original with influences of an 80’s Hard Rock wet dream. Even Coverdale would be proud of this one. Nicely done!!!
Overall Iconic is what you expect from another top-tier super-project, you get some top slab of Melodic Hard Rock laden with good production and excellent vocals and guitars work by the Icons involved. Tommy Aldridge again with his own legendary and instantly recognizable drumming just adds a classic layer of Rock to this piece; no doubt about it. And you would be a fool to not pick this up for sure. Don’t let the negative nancies spoil the fun as it will probably end up on many top lists when the year is done.
Written by: Shadow Editor