Icon

From Phoenix, AZ, Icon was first known as Surgical Steel. They recorded several songs for Zia Records local band compilation albums before being
signed to a record deal and changing their name.

Icon Icon (Reborn Classics) 1984

1. "(Rock On) Through the Night" (3:35)
2. "Killer Machine" (3:34)
3. "On Your Feet" (3:24)
4. "World War" (4:30)
5. "Hot Desert Night" (3:52)
6. "Under My Gun" (3:33)
7. "Iconoclast" (1:27)
8. "Rock & Roll Maniac" (4:01)
9. "I'm Alive" (4:11)
10. "It's up to You" (4:07)

If Quiet Riot ever had a little brother, Phoenix's Icon would have been it. Icon's debut album was a straight forward heavy metal assault with plenty of catchy metal anthems and some fairly commercial appeal as well. There are actually some pretty smokin' songs on this disc. I especially like "Killer Machine", "Rock 'n' Roll Maniac" and "Iconoclast", which also sports a pretty funny song title. As was typical of early 80's metal, there are a few ballads as well that I could have lived without. For the most part, however, Icon is just in-your-face heavy metal. Unfortunately I have a cheesy Reborn Classics version of this rare cd and the sound quality is not what it should be and the booklet consists of only the front cover art. Also, tacked on is Fist's 1980 album "Hot Spikes." France's Axe Killer Records also released a numbered, limited edition of Icon with remastered sound quality and a handsome, full-color booklet.

Night of the Crime Icon-Night of the Crime (Axe Killer) 1985

1. "Naked Eyes" (4:04)
2. "Missing" (4:30)
3. "Danger Calling" (3:40)
4. "(Take Another) Shot at Me Heart" (3:21)
5. "Out for Blood" (5:41)
6. "Raise the Heart" (3:32)
7. "Frozen Tears" (3:58)
8. "The Whites of Their Eyes" (3:46)
9. "Hungry for Love" (4:17)
10. "Rock My Radio" (4:14)

Wow! Radical change in style from the band's first disc to this follow-up. Whereas the first album was anthem based heavy metal, this disc is keyboard driven 80's AOR more along the lines of Night Ranger, Giuffria or even, 'Hysteria'-era Def Leppard. I can see why people were disappointed by this disc if they were expecting another heavy metal platter. There are a few good songs, however. "Out for Blood" is actually a pretty heavy song, if it hadn't been for the overtly clean production. With some dirtier guitars this song would have rocked. Actually the same is true of songs like 'Raise the Hammer' and 'Naked Eyes' as well. Yes, this album is wimpy in comparison to the band's debut and songs like "Rock My Radio" are blatant attempts at radio hits, however, it's not quite as bad as people made it out to be. This particular copy was given to me by a friend who also thought it was too wimpy. It is a limited. numbered French edition that has been remastered and is rather nicely packaged with a slipcase and an excellent booklet.

Straight Between the Eyes Icon - Straight Between the Eyes (Wounded Bird) 1989

1.      Right Between the Eyes (5:14)
2.      Two For the Road (3:54)
3.      Taking My Breath Away (4:36)
4.      A Far Cry (4:19)
5.      In Your Eyes (4:01)
6.      Holy Man's War (7:15)
7.      Bad Times  (3:27)
8.      Double Life (4:07)
9.      Forever Young (3:49)
10.    Running Under Fire (4:25)
11.    Peace and Love [instrumental] (1:18)

"Straight Between the Eyes" was apparently Icon's fourth CD, after and independent album that featured new vocalist Jerry Harrison, who replaced Stephen Cliffords. Apparently Cliffords left the band when he became a Christian and felt being in the band contradicted his faith. As the second album to the first, this CD doesn’t exactly sound like either of those first two albums. I sometimes wonder if the constant change in sound was the reason that Icon never gained a much larger following. However, this is not to say "Straight Between the Eyes" is not a quality CD. Actually, this CD sounds like it could have been the long lost follow-up to Whitesnake' s 1987 album. This is aided by the fact that Harrison sounds a lot like David Coverdale. This album has that big, catchy, 80’s sound; crunchy guitars, soothing keys, proficient guitar solos, whiskey soaked vocals, big choruses, etc. The title track is probably one of my favorite songs on the album. This upbeat rocker is pure heavy metal with a killer, sing-along chorus. For the most part, this album rocks pretty hard and is not overly saturated with ballads. There are a few more commercial songs, such as “In Your Eyes” and the obligatory ballad “Forever Young”. With the exception of these two songs, the rest of the CD is a solid slab of hard rock and melodic heavy metal. The album also features a guest appearance by Alice Cooper, who adds some vocals to "Holy Man’s War." (Icon's guitar-player, Dan Wexler, would later co-write songs for Alice Cooper's 'The Last Temptation' album.)

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