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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Icarus Witch

Draw Down the Moon (Cleopatra Records)

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Ronnie James Dio spawned countless imitators—musically, vocally and lyrically. And if imitation is, indeed, the sincerest form of flattery, then Pittsburgh’s Icarus Witch—a veteran under-the-radar metal band that opened for the Dio-fronted Heaven & Hell last year—may have unwittingly released one of the finest tributes to the late “Godfather of Metal.”

Recorded before Dio’s death from stomach cancer in May, Draw Down the Moon summons mystical imagery and muscular melodies, while also alluding to Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. No wonder Icarus Witch has been placed at the forefront of the so-called New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal movement. Vocalist Matthew Bizilia’s register is a little too high to match that of Dio, but he sings about “Black Candles,” “Funeral Wine” and a “Serpent in the Garden” with similar gusto and spirit. A cover of Priest’s “The Ripper” concludes this intense, concise slab o’ trad metal.