Monday, November 1, 2010

NONE MORE BLACK: ICONS



None More Black
Icons
Fatwreck

News of Jason Shevchuk's short-lived new three-piece LaGrecia's demise was bittersweet. On one hand, it meant no more LaGrecia, but on the other, None More Black was reborn. Really, Shevchuk's a genius wherever he calls home. But Icons sounds all-out intent on setting the record straight: once you go None More Black, you never go back...

Track one "Mr. Artistic" explodes with an all-out-war dip into None More Black's heavier, more melodic-hardcore back catalogue. There's a Southern rock 'n roll swagger that reminds me of Durban hardcore heroes Go! Go! Bronco. It's harder than anything on previous album This Is Satire (2006). Still, the melodies are unmistakable.

"I'm Warning You With Peace & Love" is an instant classic: fast, loud and addictive. "Iron Mouth Act" starts with a dark banjo and slide guitar combo that builds into another lightning bolt of throaty, gremlin melodies. And midway through, "Sinatra After Dark" slides into a full-blown instrumental rock 'n roll jam that's all about the groove. Especially metalhead bassist Paul Delaney's contribution.

Overall, Icons is noisier and more volatile than This Is Satire. But "Backpedal" and "Here Comes Devereux" show off None More Black's softer side, with a distinctly LaGrecia-tasting flavour that blends perfectly with that classic "NMB sound."

Shevchuk sounds fired up and handier than ever with the tongue sword. Icons is dark, dramatic and intense, bubbling away beneath the surface. Just to give you an idea, on closing track "Budapest Gambit" (a chess opening popular in the '20s), Shevchuk sings, "But I still feel young. I've caught a bad infection. I'm aging in slow motion." And by the end, he's a snarling mess, yelling, "Blame it on the jester, the one who wears a frown. Blame it on the king, the queen and burn this kingdom down," like a lunatic spiraling out of orbit... Pity about the dodgy album cover.

Click here to download Jason Shevchuk's solo OnGuard EP This Has It's Price and That Price Has Been Paid.

None More Black on MySpace
Order Icons from Fat Wreck for $10

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