By Matt Kastner 

Just when you thought 2007 couldn’t get any better, it has. The greatest year for metal, arguably, in 20 years has given us many great, some good, as well as some disappointing releases. Next to be added to the list of great releases is Songs for the Lost by Icarus Witch. Hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I am proud to say there is finally a band worthy of carrying the torch and represent the city in the international metal scene. These guys take the classic heavy metal sound and add a modern twist to it. You want to hear Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and the like reborn? You’ve got it all in on here.

Songs for the Lost starts out with the hard rocker “Out for Blood.” Simply put; this song with have you singing and air-guitaring along while pumping your fist out in the air. This is a song that has radio airplay written all over it. It needs to be heard. Another highlight is the song “Nature of the Beast” which has a very early Iron Maiden feel to it. Jason Myers’ bass lines in the song scream Steve Harris and the drumming (minus drummer Chris Batton who joined the band shortly after the album was completed) has a heavy Neil Peart meets Nicko McBrain feel. What really stood out to me throughout the album were the vocals of Matthew Bizilia. Had they been around in the 80’s, he’d be up there standing proudly with Bruce Dickenson, Rob Halford, Geoff Tate and the like. The dual guitar work by Quinn Lukas and Steve Pollick (whom I’ve learned recently left the band due to personal reasons) reminds me a lot of something you’d hear in a Queensryche or Def Leppard album. Speaking of Def Leppard, the album features a cover of the song “Mirror Mirror” with Joe Lynn Turner of Deep Purple and Rainbow fame singing with Bizilia on it. Normally, I’m not really a fan of cover songs. But in rare cases like this, I actually liked it.

It’s a shame Icarus Witch wasn’t around during the heyday of heavy metal. If they had been, they most likely would have achieved the “legendary” status alongside Iron Maiden, Metallica, Queensryche, etc. After being impressed with the band’s 2005 release, Capture the Magic, I’m blown away with Songs for the Lost. They pick up where they left off with Capture the Magic and try something different with it, adding a whole wide variety of styles and influences to the music. At times, you think you might be hearing an unreleased track from Queensryche’s Operation: Mindcrime, or maybe even something from Guns N’ Roses. The only thing left I have to say about Songs for the Lost is if you see it sitting in your local record store, buy it immediately! You won’t regret it.