April 24, 2021

As we all know by now, Frontiers Music love a new project but this should not come as too much of a surprise as they have so many amazing musicians on their roster which means they have the ability to fit some established, quality musicians around any new musician or singer in town and, hey presto, a new band is born. Of course, it’s not as easy as that but Frontiers have now got this down to a special art and there seems to be a never ending conveyor belt of wonderful singers out there just looking for any opportunity and let’s not forget just what is at stake because the right vehicle can take you from obscurity to superstardom in a flash, just ask Ronnie Romero!

Icon Of Sin has been put together for the vocal talents of the Brazilian Raphael Mendes who has made something of a splash on You Tube with his rock covers and most famously those of Iron Maiden tracks. This is hardly surprising as Mendes sound so uncannily like Bruce Dickinson in just about every aspect with his range, power and delivery. One of his spots was based on the premise of ‘What if Bruce Dickinson sang in other bands?’ with Mendes covering the likes of Dio, Journey, Skid Row and many, many more with his Dickinson-esque tones and just accompanied by his acoustic guitar, well worth watching and these definitely opened Mendes up to a worldwide fanbase.

This has now resulted in this rather excellent hard rock album with Mendes well and truly stealing the show with his incredible vocal prowess. Yes, of course, he sounds very similar to the mighty Bruce but how many singers are there out there who have styled themselves on the great and very much missed Ronnie James Dio? Frontiers have put an excellent team together for this release with Caio Vidal on bass, C J Dubiella on drums and the mercurial pairing of Sol Perez and Mateus Cantaleãno on guitar. According to the publicity they are also joined by Brazilians Sergio Mazul (Semblant) and Marcelo Gelbcke (Landfall) although they are curiously not mentioned on the album sleeve at all, so they either are or are not on this album and I stand to be corrected either way. However, it does seem that all they both are currently working with Mendes back in Brazil as we speak on another hard rock project with shades of Iron Maiden and Dio-era Sabbath which sounds very exciting! Anyway, back to Icon Of Sin and this is a loud and heavy metal album full of soaring, screaming vocals from Mendes and he is more than ably supported by two stunning guitarists with lots of Schenker type riffs and lead breaks.

The album is very obviously a derivative of Iron Maiden with a touch of Judas Priest thrown in for good measure so they have taken old school metal as the core of the music but given it a fresh and thoroughly modern make over to make a vital and thoroughly thrilling metal album. Check out the 8-minute Clouds Of Gotham, sheer genius and true classic metal. Raphael Mendes is going to be a star, of that there is no doubt, especially when he can release albums as good as this.

This is a wondrous debut being metal of the first order with guitars that absolutely thrill and a classic vocal performance that re-invigorates even the most jaded of metalheads, an essential purchase.

Icon Of Sin track list

  1. Icon Of Sin (5:47)
  2. Road Rage (4:46)
  3. Shadow Dancer (4:08)
  4. Unholy Battleground (5:21)
  5. Nightbreed (5:10)
  6. Virtual Empire (5:52)
  7. Pandemic Euphoria (4:22)
  8. Clouds Over Gotham (8:00)
  9. Arcade Generation (5:21)
  10. Hagakure (Intro) (0:25)
  11. The Last Samurai (5:34)
  12. The Howling (4:38)
  13. Survival Instinct (5:32)