Rearm CircuitsBlue Swan Records
By Cole Faulkner
I was always on the fence as to how I felt about Coheed & Cambria. There was just something about their larger than life epics and shrill vocals that never quite sat well with me. That being said, I have been thoroughly enjoying the latest work with stylistic cousins Icarus The Owl, which occupies a similar headspace, albeit with a little less over the top execution. The album, Rearm Circuits, maintains a high level of theatrical production whilst exploring plenty of technical ambition without falling victim to the pitfalls of excess.
Opener “Failed Transmission” serves as an ideal introduction to the band’s grand vision. With pulsing riffs, sweeping falsetto vocals, and periodic hardcore bursts, Icarus The Owl packs this initial three minutes with a punch that leaves little question as to what Rearm Circuits has in store. From here, the band is slightly more sparing with their pacing, with different tracks placing the focus on different ingredients of their formula. Songs like “Ghosts of Former Selves” take a little detour into poppier territory, whereas those like “The Vanishing Point” take a more menacing approach with plenty of technical moves. Later highlights like “Do Not Resuscitate” definitely follow the darker path, layering melodies with steadfast metal inspired riffs and solos, defining Rearm Circuits as the product of a tightly controlled chaos. In other words, Icarus The Owl embrace their role as alchemists of technical melody with a clear and enthusiastic zest. Although these are the highlights, the less technical or catchy offerings peppering the track listing hold their own competently, but inevitably live in the shadow of their more ambitious counterparts.
Fans of technical alternative will be invariably drawn to Icarus The Owl’s latest offering. Rearm Circuits admittedly serves as my introduction to the Portland quartet, and certainly offers a strong first impression of what the band is capable of. I can only imagine a similar experience for other newcomers and returning fans as well.