Icon for Hire review

\"IconThe world of Christian rock and heavy metal music is more popular than ever these days, with many bands like Skillet, Flyleaf, Red, Demon Hunter, August Burns Red and We As Human achieving major crossover success. Adding to that distinguished list are relative newcomers Icon For Hire. The band, comprised of lead singer Ariel Bloomer, guitarist Shawn Jump, Bassist Josh Kincheloe and drumer Adam Kronshagen, is as rock solid as they come and could go toe to toe with any other band out there, but the real star here is vocalist Ariel Bloomer. Even though she is just one person, her vocal prowess is so impressive that there are times she fools you into believing there are two or sometimes more vocalists trading off vocals, kinda like what Johnathan Davis was able to accomplish in the early days of KoRn. The band’s newest heavenly oblation for Tooth & Nail records, simply titled Icon for Hire, is one of the most hyped releases of 2013 and combines elements of pop, punk, metal, alternative, electronica and hip hop to create something unlike anything else on the market today. Despite being signed to what is widely known to be a Christian label and acknowledging the spiritual references in their lyrics, the band has worked hard to try and distance themselves from being pigeonholed a Christian band, fearing it would alienate potential Non-Christian fans. The band took some major risks and created an incendiary aural onslaught loaded with personal and emotional lyrics that drive home the hard-hitting message of hope and pain. The album starts strong with lead single “Cynics & Critics,” which blends the heaviness of In This Moment with the pop sensibilities of TLC. At the same time, songs like “Sugar & Spice” and “Think I’m Sick” sound like Linkin Park with Kelly Clarkson singing. Tracks like “Nerves” and “Slow Down” are bound to have comparisons to Paramore or Flyleaf while “Sorry About Your Parents” and “Counting On Hearts” are more akin to Valora fronting Hollywood Undead. The album even toys with club/dance music reminiscent of Lady Gaga, Ke$ha and Britney Spears on “Hope Of Morning,” “Pop Culture” and “Watch Me.” To balance things out, the band flexes their hard rock muscles on “Rock And Roll Thugs” and “Fix Me,” all of which will thrill fans of Halestorm, Letter Black and Fireflight. Here’s the bottom line- The production is smart, the songs and sound within are expansive and emotionally resonant. Although, this is not quite as heavy as it’s predecessor, Scripted, there is something on here for just about everyone to enjoy and is worthy of a honest listen. Rating: 8 out of 10. -Eric Hunker