Review Summary: Although Icon For Hire cannot escape comparisons to other Christian bands, they are nonetheless a beast of their own, and a rather vicious one at that.
The Christian rock scene is in a time loop. I blame Skillet’s Collide
for this unfortunate consequence (although one could note the impact of Evanescence’s Fallen
as well). Ever since audiences heard the chugga chugga riffs combined with strings and electronics, they’ve been consuming the formula over and over again without question. While this formula has the potential to excite, the Christian rock scene has generally used it in a dull, throwaway manner. Such bands should be attempting to break boundaries to praise the Lord through their music, yet we often receive bland albums.
In many ways, Icon For Hire’s Scripted
is a child of this formula. There are indeed chugging riffs, strings, and electronics, but they are actually used effectively. For instance, Icon For Hire’s electric guitars are consistently edgy, with fast picking and the boldness to branch out into lethally tasty, heavy riffs. Also, the strings and electronics compliment each other, often creating stunning melodic soundscapes. With a synthpop and dance demeanor, the electronics are cleverly used so as to have an identity, yet still fit into the band’s sound. One could be overly critical and assert that Icon For Hire ripped off certain bands to create their sound, but ultimately the band is a beast of their own. The only truly average parts of the album are the two ballads which are ill-fitting, but not even bad songs. Icon For Hire are pulling no punches.
Attitude is what ultimately propels the band and sets them apart. Icon For Hire have the stage presence of a pop-punk band (one can’t help drawing comparisons to Paramore, especially considering the lead singer’s dyed hair), and not surprisingly, their music appropriately benefits. Icon For Hire are as pop-punk as they are alternative metal, with an energy rarely seen in the Christian rock scene. Songs are insanely speedy, and this controlled train wreck is led by Ariel, the female lead singer, who is equally speedy at singing. Her breath control is astounding, and her presence basically creates the pop and punk feel of the album, similar to The Letter Black, except more convincingly. One could grow tired of such vocal repetition, but if all you’re looking for is a crazy, heavy, fairly exciting spin on Christian rock, look no further.