Progressive metal is all about pushing the boundaries and that’s always an important undertaking. Genres need innovations and new interpretations to maintain relevancy and survive. Sometimes, though, progressive artists focus so hard on making something new and serious that they forget to have fun. It’s a real shame when a prog rock band doesn’t have fun. What’s not fun about being amazing at your instrument and fooling around with time signatures?
Icaria remembers to have fun and, thus, we are fortunate to have an exclusive stream of their upcoming debut album, Transcendent, here on Heavy Blog Is Heavy. This five-piece progressive metal outfit from Atlanta packs a serious punch with their flashy compositions, tight production, and relentless intensity. The band sounds like a cross between Periphery on their most recent poppier albums, Coheed and Cambria, and just a hint of shreddy power metal. It’s an absolute blast. There’s nothing mind-bending here and nothing that will change the face of progressive metal but that is not a bad thing. Icaria is making thoroughly enjoyable metal that has a lot of pop appeal but still maintains its musical integrity and complexity.
The first half of this album is packed with catchy jams that will inhabit your ears for days to come. “Collide” and “Dilate Your Mind” have killer hooks as well as some seriously epic shredding. These tracks also succeed in showing off Marc Harris’ shimmering clean vocals and formidable growls and screams. Marc is often put on even ground as the guitarists with plenty of big moments and dense vocal arrangements not unlike Hansi Kurick’s one-man choir sound. “Vision Like Fire” and “Recall, Reflect” round off the first half with some more aggression and groove. The second half of the record has much longer songs including a two-parter and a ten-minute closer featuring Dustie Waring of Between The Buried And Me. Ultimately, Icaria has made a fantastic progressive metal record that understands how to be entertaining and just the right amount of over the top. Here’s what guitarist Ricky Free has to say about it:
“Over years of writing, practicing, and honing an intimate knowledge music and it’s many languages that it speaks to, “Transcendent” found its foundation, it’s roots.
With this record we wanted it to be honestly us. From the lyrics down to the finest details of the music. Us being honest with ourselves and not allowing any egos get in the way of making a song, musical or vocal selection, the best it could be. Being complacent was not an option at all with anything Icaria does.
Every song on “Transcendent”, to me anyway, is packed with emotion and I believe it comes through when listening to the album. That is what we set out wanting and I fully believe we accomplished that goal.
The purpose of real and true art is to evoke.”