I had heard so much hype over the "Roses on White Lace" debut EP from ICARUS WITCH that I couldn't wait to check out "Capture the Magic", the band's first full-length. Needless to say, my expectations were high, based on so many press outlets worshipping the band as the savior of traditional (read: NWOBHM) melodic heavy metal. Well, "Capture the Magic" did not quite meet my high expectations, even though it is an enjoyable, well-played, disc of tuneful heavy metal. Let's put it this way, the accolades for "Roses on White Lace" had me thinking that this might very well warrant a rating in the vicinity of a 9. What I heard is a 7 — solid, but not earth shaking.
Style-wise, the songs are mostly mid-paced with tasteful riffs, classy solos, distinct and active bass lines, traditional rock drumbeats (i.e., not double-bass annihilation), and the melodic singing of Mathew Bizilia (his style one that is similar to John Arch). While not a universal truth by any means, those that came of age in the 80s and early '90s will tend to be more appreciative of what's on offer here, as the music doesn't clobber you over the head with brute force. Songs like "Storming the Castle" and the title track feature warm riffs and more subdued rhythms (as compared to many of today's Euro/power metal bands) and primarily straightforward choruses. Slight variations on the theme are heard on "Soothsayer" (more stutter in the step) and "Forevermore" (effective vocal harmonizing and sweet melodic leads). "The Ghost of Xavior Holmes" (featuring FATES WARNING's Frank X. Aresti on guitar) is more epic in arrangement, juxtaposing quiet sections against faster tempos and lightning solos, as well as a somewhat spookier vocal performance from Bizilia. A ripping main riff and opening Halford-esque scream makes "Nemeton Forest" worthy of mention. The album ends with a cover of OZZY OSBOURNE's "S.A.T.O." (from "Diary of a Madman"), which features a guest appearance by George Lynch. The band's version sticks closely to the original, but doesn't come close to matching the blistering axe attack of Randy Rhoads; it's a cool cover, regardless. Finally, the production of PRO-PAIN's Eric Klinger gives the album a sound.
There just aren't many bands performing this style of metal nowadays (at least in a competent fashion). Hats off to the members for bucking the trend and doing what they love.