Album Review: Icarus The Owl - 'Rearm Circuits'

10 January 2018 | 7:58 pm | Staff Writer
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A creative & unique new record from Icarus The Owl.

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At the beginning of December, progressive rock group Icarus The Owl released their highly anticipated fifth studio effort, titled 'Rearm Circuits'.

This creative and unique new album from the Portland group starts off strongly with the single, 'Failed Transmissions'. The track just has so much energy and even adds a little bit of screaming back into the band's newer, fresher progressive sound. The next track, 'Dream Shade', slows things down and really contrasts itself with the opening track. This song is also one of many where guitarist and lead vocalist Joey Rubenstein puts on a very theatrical vocal performance, showing off one side of his vocal style very well. In 'Ghosts Of Former Lives', the guitar parts both contrast one another very and clash, but at the same time, the way those parts were recorded and composed makes it seem as though it was meant to be that way; making those guitars blend together perfectly.

There are many lyrics found during the song 'The Vanishing Point' that interested me, but it was "I don’t wanna sleep alone/There’s no more hiding here" and "No matter what I do, It always ends the same" caught my attention the most. In addition, the drum playing from Rob Bernknopf really gets a chance to shine brightly on this track, as well as the following track, 'Coma Dreams'.

'DoubleSleep' really impressed me too. I enjoyed the cleaner guitar tones here and the vocal performance of blew me away yet again. The lyrics and lyrical themes of this track also intrigued me. It seems to be about a relationship falling apart, and one of these two people is admitting that something was/is going wrong, that one or both of them messed up, wondering if they should try to fix those mistakes or just let things stay in that current state, accepting the fate that maybe this supposed relationship wasn't meant to be after all.

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'Do Not Resuscitate' is another great, energetic track, from the fast-paced drums to the mind-blowing lead guitar parts (speaking of which, the guitar parts on the following song, 'The Renaissance Of Killing Art' really impressed me as well). 'Hidalgo's Secret Hideout' - as in, Miguel Hidalgo, leader of the Mexican War of Independence (we think) - is another slower track for the record's flow. The shouted vocals in the beginning really drew me in and it's by far one of my favourite things about the track. 'Burial Vows' is a track with softer guitar for the most part (with the exception of the chorus and the impressive lead guitar solo), and it really shows off the drums and bass. 'Dimensions' contains what is easily - easily - one of the best choruses houses on this entire record too.

'Shadowboxing' was also an... interesting way to close out the record. The song starts out with softer guitars in the background, letting the vocals shine once again. Once a soft drumbeat kicks in, the song gets louder and the drums build up more and more as this rising dynamic continues. There's a lead guitar solo with some occasional guitar harmonies right before the final chorus, with a lead guitar riff playing subtly in the background while the rest of the instrumentation hits hard. The Rubenstein and lead guitarist Tim Brown show off their skills one last time before the song fades out beautifully and while interesting, I think it was a really great way to close out 'Rearm Circuits'.

Overall, I found 'Rearm Circuits' to be a very creative but unique new record from Icarus The Owl, as far as how a lot of it was composed and written at least. No song sounded exactly like the one before it nor the one after it, which makes for a solid and exciting listen all up.

1. Failed Transmissions

2. Dream Shade

3. Ghosts Of Former Lives

4. The Vanishing Point

5. Coma Dreams

6. DoubleSleep

7. Do Not Resuscitate

8. The Renaissance Of Killing Art

9. Hidalgo's Secret Hideout

10. Burial Vows

11. Dimensions

12. Shadowboxing

'Rearm Circuits' is out now.