Sunday 11 November 2012

Ichabod - 'Dreamscapes From Dead Space' (Album Review)

 By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 30/10/2012 
Label: Black Locust Ent/
Root Sucker Records

After digesting the album I really don't know how to categorise it. There is sludge, psychedelia, progressive rock and stoner all mixed in here. If you like any of those genres I recommend you check out Ichabod

‘Dreamscapes From Dead Space CD//DD track Listing:

1) Huckleberry (06:14)
2) Looking Glass (04:28)
3) Baba Yaga (05:55)
4) Epiphany (05:49)
5) Hollow God (05:42)
6) All Your Love (06:10)
7) 108 (08:48)
8) Return Of The Hag (04:05)

Ichabod is:

Dave Iverson | Guitars
Jason Adam | Guitars
Greg Dellaria | Bass
Phil MacKay | Drums/Percussion
John Fadden | Vocals

The Review:

Boston, Mass. based Ichabod have been honing their sound for over ten years now. ‘Dream Scapes From Dead Space’ is their fifth full length. The creativity and uniqueness here will really catch your attention.

The record kicks off with ‘Huckleberry’. It is easy to see why the band placed this track at the start- it is a real stand out. Thick sludgy riffs dominate- sort of like a US version of early Orange Goblin. A Scissorfight-esque vibe permeates the track, with promises of revenge and outlaw boasts abounding. A nice wah-wah solo precedes the first curve ball of the record, at around 3:48 the band change gears into a rather dreamy sequence that reminded me of classic Budgie. The vocals are a great feature and the production is clearly well thought out and tenderly executed. Double tracking is used to nice effect, of which you will really notice through headphones.

That most beloved of percussive extras- the cowbell- features at the start of ‘Looking Glass’ and it is followed by more instrumental favourites; distorted bass, lovely hi-hat work and more fine use of the wah-wah pedal. Tempo changes are thus utilised with clever riff variants. Languid grooves prevail until a breakdown comes in around the three minute mark. The lull then builds up to a very enjoyable stoner groove with a distorted effect over the vocals.

There are shades of Monster Magnet within the grooves of ‘Baba Yaga’. Indeed, the record is very hard to categorise. There are elements of many sub-genres on offer here. It's heavy stuff for sure, but with some very light touches here and there- and this really makes for a panoramic listen. This light and shade is exemplified well by ‘Epiphany’. The start reminded me of Wishbone Ash (!) circa ‘Argus ‘or maybe Budgie (again) at their most mellow. The track takes a more sombre turn just before the three minute mark but the music lifts soon after and segues into percussion informed spoken word passage. Some sludgy screams round off what is a veritable smorgasbord of a song!  ‘Hollow God’ follows this up with more spacey/stoner mellowed out sounds. The vibe picks up to a mid paced groove before too long. The lyrics almost wouldn't be out of place on one of Deicide's albums, in a way, but the juxtaposition works well. ‘All Your Love’ has a rather bitter feel to the lyric, but the female backing vocals give yet another dimension to this startling and original album.

The penultimate track ‘108’ features some distinctly English sounds to the instrumentation. A mandolin (I think) is deftly picked along with acoustic and electric guitars and strings make a welcome appearance too. Again, the vocal is worthy of classic seventies prog. The production here is just wonderful- you can hear everything with the mix being very clear. The distorted guitars make a return to the record at 2:25 and a triplet time feel is introduced. Some psychedelic guitar work enters and the vibe is expanded and amped up prior to the track mellowing back down for the closing two minutes or so. At 8:48 the track is lengthy, but does not feel at all long. ‘Return of The Hag’ is probably best described as a funk workout- there is even a flute played here. The groove and vibe are Clutch-like and very fluid playing closes out what is a superbly enjoyable musical journey.

The title fits the record very well- these are dreamy psychedelic compositions of the highest quality. After digesting the album I really don't know how to categorise it. There is sludge, psychedelia, progressive rock and stoner all mixed in here. If you like any of those genres I recommend you check out Ichabod. There is something for all to enjoy here- just play it, start to finish and you will see what I mean. I would love to see them play live.

You can buy a DD here and physical copies of their record here

FFO: Soundgarden, Monster Magnet, Orange Goblin,

Band info: Bandcamp Facebook