Neo-Goth guitar-ballads similar to Death In June/Strength Through Joy with keyboards. Australian!
3. Loving The Enemy
4. Temple Of Light
5. Ghost In My Head
6. In Faith
7. My Shadow Of Selfishness
8. The Shattered Mirror
9. A Day That Past
10. Voice Of The Sun
11. Beginning Of The End
12. Die Stille Erd
After a hiatus of two years, the Australian band Ikon has returned with a strong new CD that both retains the sound of former albums, but also explores new musical possibilities. Following the recent departure of vocalist Michael Carrodus, the band has been reduced to a duo, with songwriter, guitarist and keyboardist Chris McCarter stepping up to the microphone, and, with the aid of subtle effects, delivering a solid vocal performance throughout the album. Perhaps as a consequence of this development, the reliance on keyboards on This Quiet Earth is more pronounced than in the past, and while Ikon forges ahead with an energy and emotive quality all their own, the sound on this CD is to some extent indebted to the synth/goth of the 1980s.
The twelve songs on This Quiet Earth are fairly evenly divided between compositions favoring Ikon's signature guitar and bass arrangements, and more synth heavy, dance-oriented tracks. "Temple Of Light" and "A Day That Past" are the most mellow songs on the CD, both based around acoustic guitar melodies, with charged bass lines, downbeat vocals, and -- on the former -- a rather pretty, folk-inspired piano theme. Other songs like "In Faith," and especially "Beginning Of The End," likewise feature prominent guitar work, albeit of the electric variety.
The album's first three songs, along with "Ghost In My Head" and "Voice Of The Sun" are all of the before mentioned electronic design, with expansive thematic layers of synths, and dynamic, processed beats. "Subversion" is particularly inspired and catchy, with McCarter's soaring vocal performance being carried on the rushing waves of keyboards and underlying current of rhythmic bass chords. The swirling synth harmonies and throbbing techno beats on "Ghost In My Head," and the spacey effects applied to the vocals on "Voice Of The Sun," become almost too insistent, but these are still good tracks for the dance floors, and are not enough to upset the otherwise strong balance of the CD.
This Quiet Earth has been released by the German label Apollyon, and, as a homage to the band's many German fans, the final track has been recorded in German -- a strange spoken piece based on the title of the album, and set against a background of rain forest ambience, and occasional (nuclear) explosions. The CD has been made available in two versions: the standard edition (which is the object of this review), and a limited double-CD edition, including six additional songs on the bonus disc -- one of them a cover of the U2 hit "With Or Without You."