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ICONIC – Second Skin (Album Review, 2022)

Good songs, big sound with a Euro-American commercial hard rock style that others have tried to emulate, but not half as well as these guys have.
90/100

Frontiers patented Random Band Generator has conjured up its latest offering – a more inspired and somewhat natural ensemble this time around. Nathan James – Vocals (Inglorious) Michael Sweet – Guitars, Vocals (Stryper and a dozen other projects); Joel Hoekstra – Guitars (Whitesnake); Marco Mendoza – Bass (everyone) and the great Snake himself Tommy Aldridge – Drums; plus of course, the illustrious writer, producer, mixer and keyboardist Alessandro Del Vecchio.

Quite a lineup there and given the brief to make a Whitesnake hard rock record, the guys have largely nailed that mission. Thankfully Nathan James gets to control the mike for most of the record and is given the best set of songs to sing here since the debut Inglorious record. Michael Sweet pops up on a couple of songs, but largely sticks to backing vocals and guitar.

While this is no Whitesnake clone, the influences and style are unmistakable. And the bigger than normal sounding production helps bring that big Snake sound to bare.

Credit for the production goes to Sweet & Alessandro, who also delivers some tasty Jon Lord inspired organ sounds to accompany his keyboards and Joel Hoekstra delivers some flashy riffing and soloing as you would expect from the current Whitesnake guitarist.

I often criticise the Frontiers productions drum sounds but having Tommy Aldridge on hand all but ensures a killer performance and the quality production gives him the impact needed.

11 tracks and nearly 50 minutes is about as packed as you could want an album like this to be. Any longer and it might have started to drag.

Good songs, big sound with a Euro-American commercial hard rock style that others have tried to emulate, but not half as well as these guys have. As egotistic as the name might be, it’s a very strong debut. I imagine there are already plans for a sequel.