The new Superband of Hard Rock masters, IONIC, offers us this “Second Skin” as a letter of introduction
We have in our hands the debut of a new superband, Iconic. Its members are certainly “icons” of the hard rock scene, perfectly identifiable, no less than Michael Sweet (guitars), Joel Hoekstra (guitars), Marco Mendoza (bass), Tommy Aldridge (drums), and Nathan James (vocals).
Although superbands have become common, in fact, a few weeks ago we had the release of SKILLS, it is true that although not all, some of these groups have given good results, as may be the case of Revolution Saints, The End Machine, Black Swan, Sweet & Lynch, Sunbomb, WET or Nordic Union.
The idea of Iconic was born from the mind of Serafino Perugino, the intention was to surround a singer of great talent and heir to the great voices of the 70s and 80s, such as Nathan James, with a cast of renowned figures and extensive experience.
The production is in charge of Michael Sweet and Alessandro Del Vecchio, both already knew each other from having collaborated together in Sunbomb and there is good chemistry between them.
On the other hand, Sweet and Hoekstra had long intended to collaborate together. Sweet had become a fan of Nathan James’ voice following Inglorious. And Nathan and Joel have been friends since Trans-Siberian Orchestra. So, with the guitar duo already in place, the rhythm section was missing, where Mendoza and Aldridge bring that extra edge towards excellence.
Getting down to business, what Second Skill offers us, first of all, we have some heavyweights of the rock scene. It is a combo of great individualities, musicians who are also in a great professional moment and keep their abilities intact. We cannot doubt the mastery of veteran Tommy Aldridge, still in the ranks of one of the most charismatic bands Whitesnake. Hoekstra “stolen” from Night Ranger for the ranks of the snakes as well. Marco Mendoza reputed bassist and with a trajectory to his back hardly surmountable. And what can be said about Sweet, is that he combines compositional magic with a proven competence as a guitarist and an unmistakable voice.
And all this to cover the voice of Nathan James, a young talent who has already stopped being a promise to become an established singer on his own merits.
Besides counting on these legends, it turns out that they have also made good songs. The compositions are mainly by Sweet and Hoekstra, with Del Vecchio also providing melodies and a couple of songs by James. With this cast, it would have to be bad for them not to offer us a high octane product.
The album opens with “Run (As Fast As You Can)” with Sweet and Nathan alternating on lead vocals, the guitar solo is also shared, replicating each other like good buddies. Hoekstra’s guitar riff goes straight into the vein.
“Ready For Your Love”, is a catchy cut that could have been on a classic eighties album. The rhythms are in charge of Sweet and Hoekstra, who swings his ax to offer us a lot of powerful riffs as well as some sharp solos. Here we clearly appreciate Del Vecchio and his Hammond.
“Second Skin”, a fast-paced song with two voices, the contrast of their timbres and how they harmonize is a real delight.
“All I Need” is the first ballad that appears on this album and the third single, for Nathan James, who has little left to prove, being one of the references of the new generations of vocalists.
In “Nowhere To Run” I can’t forget to mention the master drummer Tommy Aldridge and his monstrous punch, it seems incredible that at 71 years old he still has that mastery of the double bass drum and that energy. Some very heavy riffs and a very careful work of Hoekstra throughout the album.
There is also space for mid-tempos and semi-ballads like “Worlds Apart”. “This Way” or “Let You Go”.
Crunchy classic hard rock with “All About”, another solid track to look out for.
“It Ain’t Over” is another one of the star tracks, with strong bass and Marco Mendoza is a phenomenon on the four strings.
With a very Whitesnake vibe, the album closes with “Enough Of Your Love” and a spectacular guitar solo by Hoekstra, you can tell he is close to the band.
In short, some really talented musicians and a handful of very interesting songs make this album a Must Have in the discography of any fan of classic hard rock.