[sic] Magazine

The Icarus Line – Avowed Slavery

The Icarus Line’s 2013 LP, Slave Vows, was one of the best of the year, its monumental Swans-baiting and primal assault just the kick up the backside rock music needed. Joe Cardamone is already back in the studio recording its much-anticipated successor and until it lands we have Avowed Slavery (see what they’ve done there?) – a mini-album/EP that acts as a companion piece to its parent record and/or a bonus disc depending how precious you are about these things.

Just five tracks, but spread over 35 indulgent minutes, it’s a bit of a mixed bag whatever it is. Offering closure and frustration in near-equal measure, the shortest track, “Raise Yer Crown”, doesn’t really get going until the Hollywood 5-piece chucks a doom chorus underneath their trademark black-hearted swagger. The intervening “thump and grind” passages, however, are a little anonymous and easy to see why they didn’t make the original cut. The sprawling “Junkadelic” on the other hand is seven minutes of pure blunt-force chug. Unfocussed yet essential, it gets away with more than it should by cruising coruscating power statements to their natural climaxes. In turn, the barely-there, 13-minute closer skitters along on spectral percussion and Cardamone’s whisper, eventually giving way to a protesting guitar wail and solemn drum smashes, denaturing back into an overlong murky dirge over time.

Following the band’s successful loud-quiet-loud template to the letter, “Salem Slims” is another marauding rocker that affords Cardamone his usual opportunity to creep you out before ramping up for some seriously psychedelic shred. Both vocally and musically there’s a strong Nick Cave vibe going on here too (the darkest parts of his canon, naturally) and it’s more than evident in the killer “Leeches And Seeds” also. Announcing itself with creaking feedback and very metallic scraped strings, it’s an atmospheric track that gets its Spartan groove up and running with crunching bass and tremolo abuse, standing your hairs on end periodically with strutting Stooges/Hendrix horror-rock explosions. Once upon a time My Morning Jacket proved to us that It Still Moves. The Icarus Line are figureheads of something and, when it all comes together like on this opening track, it still slays.

Best track: “Leeches And Seeds”

~Avowed Slavery is released July 7th 2014 on Agitated Records.~