20 September 2009
Pittsburgh's punk scene has given us many fantastic bands through the '00s (BRAINHANDLE, CAUSTIC CHRIST, F.L.A.K., KIM PHUC, and the list goes on...). Years back, there was APHASIA (who later morphed into DIE SCREAMING), who were good, but always seemed to me like they were almost able to combine their differing influences and ideas and turn themselves into a truly great punk band. Well, after the demise of DIE SCREAMING, 1/2 of the band started ICON GALLERY, and let there be no doubt that tremendous success has been achieved! This is their first recording from 2007, and these four songs manage to put together one of the most unique vocalists I've ever heard with a complete powerhouse on guitar, and the result is simply fucking beautiful. The guitar is the focal point for me (I'm perhaps in the minority here, Chani's vocals are out of this world and impossible to ignore, but the guitars are so fucking great), classic '80s US Midwest hardcore style riffing (think HUSKER DU, ARTICLES OF FAITH, but completely original) and leads that come out of nowhere and then fade seamlessly back into the song. ICON GALLERY has released two vinyl slabs (one of which is this cassette demo) that both made my top 10 releases last year...I'm just thankful that this one was a tape first, so I get to share it here.