Reviewsicontinew - First Impact (Atreat)

icontinew – First Impact (Atreat)

Without much obvious distribution this side of the Pacific, sometimes a number of these Japanese bands fly way under the radar. Such is the case for icontinew, who just so happened to randomly pop up as a recommendation on YouTube’s main page for this scribe with the recently released “Error” video. What makes icontinew such a gem is how they merge the electronic elements of an idol act such as PassCode or Axelight and provide an intense and often heavy fusion with the members each contributing an instrument (more in line with Bridear or Fate Gear).

You can instantly hear the two sides of the band fighting for space in the best possible way with opener “Saga.” There’s a sizable portion of futuristic sounding electronics and keys, alongside some vocoder-assisted vocals from Hima (and even a subtle scream). The riffing is fast and urgent, as is the drumming, giving a strong emphasis to the metallic side of the band. The chorus soars with hooks, driving the track forward with a swirling combination of speed and melody. Follow-up “Voltage” leans further into the speed quotient with an even more catchy chorus that delivers the hooks without losing any momentum while the riffing swells to an eventual rousing burst of a solo.

“Eyes” brings more of a groovy, mid-tempo feeling to it and emphasizing more of the vocals before accelerating a bit before the chorus. The playful guitar leads here really standout and give the song some extra life. “Gaia” is likely the most electronic sounding of the EP, but still leaves plenty of room for the playful guitar injections and moments of space-y atmosphere. “Katharsis” then brings some of the heaviest moments to contrast it, battling with high-tempo riffing and grooves and some tantalizing melodies from the vocals and electronic components, alongside some notably playful basswork. Closing with “Change,” the most melodic of the bunch, which flirts with more of a rock sound while keeping the futuristic and guitar-led moments at the forefront.

First Impact is powerful, playful, and polished. The fusion of the electronic components and the energetic, lively musicianship and strong vocals make icontinew a rising force within the scene. There’s a bit of everything one could hope for from the modern scene here, and done so in a way that finds a way to be exciting and catchy all at once.

icontinew on X