Coming out of Rome with a fistful of influences and mesmerising technicality, Icon Of Sin play a brand of metalcore that is more than just churning breakdowns and buzzsaw screaming. The band have established themselves in their home-city, having nailed themselves support slots for the likes of the aptly-named We Came As Romans and Miss May I amongst others. Currently a four-piece (the band are seeking a new drummer), they released Open Water earlier in the year.
While the synths do add a sense of atmosphere, it’s the bread-and-butter riffing that gives IOS their presence – open palm-mutes are found across much of Open Water, but the end-of-bar licks, like those in the chorus of opener Pick Up Your Guns, give them a flourish that puts them above your average metalcore riffs. The guitar-work of Adriano Pace and Daniele Valentini is impressive – they play off each other well, and the harmonies are slick even at their most intricate. A Blinding Sun shows off their virtuosity at both ends of the fretboard, with the main riff being one that sprawls across the lower reaches, and a chorus that makes good use of the top. It’s a cracking track, hurtling along thanks to some relentless drumming. Double-bass pedalling may be par for the course, but when it’s this precise it still has the power to impress.
Vocalist Marco Valentini puts in a solid performance across the EP, with a haunting growl that suits the frantic side of the band’s music, but also a decent clean. It may not be the greatest voice, but it does the job. The euphoric outro to Shipwreck shows it in fine form, as it does for the band as a whole – it’s massive, with the synth strings making it feel all the more epic.
Here’s hoping that IOS can find themselves a drummer in the new year, because, based on Open Water, it’d be a real shame to lose them. If you like your metalcore with added theatricality and more than just down-tuned chugging, check out Open Water.