Fifteen years and five albums into their career Pittsburgh-based traditional heavy metal band Icarus Witch found themselves seeking a new voice for their first album since 2012’s RISE. They found the ideal vocalist in Andrew D’Cagna, a name many will recognize from his work with artists like the doomy Brimstone Coven or Ironflame, his solo project that took many metal fans (and critics’ best-of-2017 lists) by surprise.
“After working closely with Andrew in Ironflame I heard his voice in my head singing the new Icarus Witch material and thought it would fit perfectly,” explains Icarus Witch guitarist Quinn Lukas who also plays live in Ironflame. “He delivers his melodies with grit and attitude.”
For his part, Andrew says “I’m both grateful and excited to be part of this new era of Icarus Witch. I see this as a chance to expand my horizons as a vocalist and bring a new dynamic element to the band.”
As reported last year, the drum sessions were performed by Jon Rice (Skeletonwitch, Job For A Cowboy, Scorpion Child…) but what has not been announced until now is that the mixing duties and pre-production for the new music is being handled by Grammy award-winning producer Neil Kernon (Queensryche, Nevermore, Dokken, Judas Priest).
“We wanted to go for a different sonic approach this time out -- work with someone who was integral to classic metal’s heyday but who also still has an ear for modern production,” says Icarus Witch founder and bassist, Jason Myers. “One of the albums Quinn and I always bonded over in terms of production is Queensryche’s Rage for Order so Neil Kernon was on our short list of dream producers to work with. The fact that he’s been behind the board for vintage Kansas and Lynch Mob albums but also worked with trad contemporaries like 3 Inches Of Blood and Cauldron made him the logical choice to help us push our odd hybrid of dark AOR and proggish metal.”
D’Cagna produced his own vocals at Sacred Sound Recording, a busy studio that he operates when not on the road or running Hot Rod Tattooing & Body Piercing shop, both of which are in Martins Ferry, Ohio.
The guitar, bass and drums were tracked by one of Pittsburgh’s most in-demand up-and-coming engineers Shane Mayer (Deathwhite, Post Mortal Possession) at Cerebral Audio where he also edited the video that he filmed for the “Goodbye Cruel World” single.
When it came time to choose a mastering facility, former Icarus Witch producer/guitarist Dave Watson recommended Fascination Street in Stockholm, Sweden as they did an admirable job polishing his last production for Argus. This proved to be an excellent match for the new Witch, which was consequently mastered by Jens Bogren whose showreel includes the most recent Amorphis and Katatonia.
The full-length album, Goodbye Cruel World, will be released later this year through Cleopatra Records but in the meantime the band wanted to share this title track single as a thank you to the fans who’ve waited patiently for new music.
“We wanted to tell the world about Andrew joining the Witch last fall when we made it official,” Myers admits of the delayed announcement. “At the same time we wanted to let the music do the talking rather than have people speculate for months what the new music might sound like with his voice. We’re stoked to finally be able to share a sample of the new energy and creativity that he helped breathe into the band’s sound ahead of our sixth album!”