Hertfordshire newcomers Icarus have honed a thrilling, infectious sound that fuses engaging vocals and heavy riffing in a rock meets metal meets hip-hop concoction that they describe as “dirty, raw and massive.”
The Watford quintet of Ritchie Howlett (vocals), Matt Say and George Elvin (guitars), Will Tyrrell (bass) and Ben Porter (drums) all met on the first day of their music course at college and formed the band the same day.
And on the sound they honed, they told us: “Our sound has become a magnificent combination of heavy metal Slipknot and Bullet For My Valentine vibes, rock anthems and modern hip-hop. We like to bring the energy live and put out pure aggression, and get every hook stuck in the heads of our listeners forever.”
After a couple of local shows they burst onto the London scene, playing venues like O2 Academy Islington 2, the 229 Club and The Spice Of Life. They released their debut EP Undivided Attention in March 2020, just as the country went into lockdown. Undeterred, the band has been busy promoting its music, continuing to write music remotely, and are preparing to get back into the live shows.
Our latest taste of the Icarus sound is Castaway At Best, which is their first single since their debut EP. It opens with light guitars that swiftly launch into a huge driving riff. A cool verse of engaging vocals over dreamy guitars, which are joined by heavier guitars, feed into a big catchy chorus “You say I’m worthless, but I don’t care, You say I’m just another addict you can’t fix, You say I’m crazy, and you’re correct, And it’s okay if I’m a castaway at best.”
A more intense second verse follows and ends on heavy vocals that feed into another huge chorus. That drops into a heavier bridge section of intense vocals “You make my skin crawl, Because of you I’m brainsick, terminal, I’m sure you’ve heard it all, So I won’t waste your time, This could be simple but you’re way too blind, I can’t feel at all, I have lost all control, But to me that’s sublime.” That flows into an even heavier rendition of the chorus, which brings this superb track to a close.
On the track, the band told us: “The reception has been fantastic so far, it’d been over a year since we’d released any music and we were so excited to show people how our song writing had changed and matured since then. Our fans are already telling us how it’s their new favourite song, and it went down so well at our sold-out release show we had a few weeks ago. For anyone yet to listen to the track, you better be ready for a banger that’ll be stuck in your head for weeks.” Check it out in the video below:
That was preceded by the equally catchy Bleeding Out, which is the first track from their debut EP. It opens up with rolling drums then a cool bouncy riff that continues as drums kick in. Intense vocals lead an opening verse alongside stabbing guitars, which roll into a big catchy chorus led by Ritchie’s engaging vocals “I’m bleeding out stuck in this hopeless void, I’m drained, insane, they say I’m paranoid, We’re bleeding out, do you know how to play, This endless game, this endless game.”
Another big bouncy riff feeds into a heavier second verse, then stabbing guitars feed into another chorus. Chugging guitars kick in and increase in intensity alongside screamed vocals, which feed into a final blast of the chorus. Check it out here:
There’s plenty more of the same on the band’s debut EP, including the vicious track Crazy As Hell and slow-building Dear Soldier, so we firmly recommend going to give that a listen.
The Icarus sound has been influenced by a wide range of artists, from the usual metal inspirations like Metallica, Slipknot and Bullet For My Valentine through to more diverse sounds of Blink-182, Lower Than Atlantis, Juice Wrld, Trippie Redd and many more.
And on what inspires them to write music, they tell us: “Our biggest influence for the writing of our music has always been the misconceptions surrounding mental health, and the shame and stigma that still comes with it to this day. Where problems aren’t solved just medicated, as well as the most intense, emotive experiences we have and how they affect us, such as losing a loved one, or a toxic relationship.”
There’s plenty more to come from Icarus, including playing at Camden Assembly on 30 October – tickets are available here. They also suggest they’ll have new music coming before the year is out, so stay tuned for more soon.
And the band adds: “To everyone just hearing about us now, trust me you’ll be hearing much more! We have music for everyone and anyone, and you’ll always be welcome at our shows. Keep up to date with upcoming shows and new tunes on our Instagram, and we’ll see you soon!”