All tube all the time...New album out, Reaching Empyrean, their 3rd overall... Recorded by Ethan Dussault (Cave In, Solace, We're All Gonna Die) at Mad Oak, a studio owned by Roadsaw's Tim Catz and Craig Riggs... Additional recording, mixing, and mastering with Steve Austin of Today is the Day at Austin Enterprise... Extremely positive press, worldwide...Genre bending... Psychedelic...Crushingly heavy...Cover illustration by world renowned visionary artist Scott Cranmer...Guest vocals by Michelle Morgan (Destructathon/Stu Walker)...Released by Rootsucker Records, whose owner Dave Tornstrom plays guest organ/keyboard tracks... Additional percussion by Andy Kaknes of drumming supergroup Syzygy...Wide range of influence, evidenced by the gamut between their 2 most recent interpretations, Negative Approach's Evacuate (featured on the new album) and Pink Floyd's Nile Song...Extensive gigging and internet networking...growing fanbase...vocal chameleon Ken Mackay in front, Keith Moon reincarnation Phil Mackay behind, Six string shaman and abuser of Gibson product Dave Iverson, port, and 4 string magic-carpet layer Greg Dellaria, making his full-length debut, starboard...they are all of this and much, much more. So drop a dose of Reaching Empyrean under your tongue and wait for the impending sonic kaleidoscope to transport you to their dark world of shape shifters, archangels, and wraiths of all manner.
First review already in print at www.sleazegrinder.com:
"I happened to be at the studio when local drugrock man-monsters Ichabod were recording this opulent opus, and lemme tell you, it was some fuckin' scene. Giant pythons slithered across the floor in silent syncopation to the hammering stonah-rollah, tattooed Gypsy women writhed in hypnotic sex-trances, and a thick purple smoke draped itself like a lazy curse over everything. They must have sprung for the deluxe recording package.
Well, I am here to say that their decadent grape-eating nonsense was well worth it, because the end result is half a dozen epic tracks of diamond hard rock slathered in syrupy space-doom flourishes and blacklight rainbows and stampeding ostrich armies. At it's core, "Reaching Empyrean" is an angry fistful of Alice in Chains-esque suicide grunge and stomping metalcore, but Ichabod sutures all manner of weirdness and wild invention into every song - dig the drowsy vocal interlude on Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, the Arab-esque intro to the title track, the dreamy, drizzly planet caravan that floats through closer "Violet Sky". It's deep stuff, starman, and at least 1,000 years wide, too. It only sounds like you'd expect it to the first time; after that, "Reaching Empyrean" changes shape at will. Enjoy the ride."
Ichabod's second sojourn into the sun is titled REACHING EMPYREAN, and the six tracks adorning this disc are swirling pieces of savory mid-tempo stoner rock. There's a whole lot of dirge-y, droning melodies here to keep the mood dark and brooding; and the sludge factor from the rhythm section is right on point. Sounding like The Melvins, Trouble, and some early NWOBHM can never be a bad thing, and Ichabod succeeds on tracks like "Succubus" and "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" by invoking all of those bands' spirits without directly ripping off any of them. Keeping it slower and lower than many of their contemporaries, Ichabod's caustic musical offering is welcoming to riff-worshippers and purveyors of the pummeling sounds of stoner rock everywhere.
I remember getting Ichabod's last disc, "Let the Bad Times Roll" the previous summer and it was just what the doctor ordered at the time. Its mixture of heavy, sludgy aggression combined with elements of classic rock, punk, hardcore, metal and psychedelia had a very fresh sound to it and almost exactly a year later I've managed to get my hands on a copy of their latest disc "Reaching Empyrean" and I've got to say it's a pretty damn impressive listening experience. Ichabod are really starting to hone their song-writing abilities on this album and come off as a brilliant hybrid of Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd with some of the modern sludge aggression of Eyehategod, the epic song-writing of Neurosis and a mesmerizing vocal performance akin to Dax Riggs of Acid Bath. It's an exciting combination of old and new sounds that is constantly shifting moods. Album opener "Succubus" kicks things off in full-on Sabbath mode with blues tinged rock and roll riffs, pounding drums and excellent vocals from Ken Mackay. Ken's got one hell of a voice and he is always changing from one style to another, whether it be an aggressive rasp/scream to emotive clean singing, the dude is all over the place and his voice fits the music perfectly. The rest of the disc really shows off just how much these guys have advanced their sound and are really exploring their more psychedelic side. The title track opens slowly with Middle Eastern sounding guitar work and slowly builds until midway through they bring in some very sludgy sounding southern riffs and pissed off screaming vocals as the song winds down to it's fuzz-drenched finale. I think the absolute standout tracks on the disc though are the one-two punch of "Manna" and "Violet Sky" the most epic and ambitious tracks on the album. "Manna" is a real monolith of a song that's 9+ minutes long and is nothing but mellow, psychedelic bliss with pulsating bass-lines, drowsy vocals and even some awesome female singing as the song progresses. "Violet Sky" follows in a similar vein as "Manna" but is more intense in its delivery with some heavy doom riffs and psychotic vocals that explode at unexpected moments in an otherwise very laid back and relaxing song. This is a damn fine disc from start to finish and just further cements Ichabod as one of my favorite bands. I really hope more people keep noticing these guys because I still think they are hugely underrated. I must also note that they put on an absolutely KILLER live show and are some of the nicest dudes I've ever met, so be sure to check them out live and buy this record because it's an excellent piece of work. Oh yeah, their cover of Negative Approach's "Evacuate" on this disc is a real monster. So stop reading and get a hold of this disc, you won't regret it! For fans of anything from Acid Bath and Neurosis to Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd, this is some seriously diverse stuff! JS
by Matthew Kirshner
Fantastic one, this third platter of homegrown East Coast stoner doom. Though missing the front porch of originality by a country mile, Reaching Empyrean still achieves musical respectability by hitting every one of its genre points with gusto and atmosphere, from long tunes that actually feel like journeys to simple percussive excellence. Musically, this brings on thoughts of DC hardcore/doom overlapping, with The Obsessed, Internal Void and Saint Vitus being key proponents. This, however, goes further, incorporating punkish, Indian, psychedelic and even slightly jazzy touches. Well done. Vocally, one hears Jim Morrison, Scott Weiland and Mike Patton as often as John Garcia, with some convincingly gruff hardcore screams thrown in from time to time as well. Guitar solos traverse into violent, unpretentiously spacey realms before careening back to Earth (or to the end of the song, as it were). And it stays enthralling even when energy and volume levels dip (dig the fantastic “Manna”). As the record goes on, this becomes less a nod to the seventies than genuinely being in the seventies. Consistently rough-and-tumble yet often stumbling across the magisterial, Reaching Empyrean is manned at the boards by the non-wrestling Steve Austin, adorned with the best tripped-out liner artwork this side of Cathedral and Tool, sent to the manufacturing plant and thence proffered to the discriminating rock fan, of which there are seemingly fewer and fewer these days.
From Aural Innovations #31 (June 2005)
Ichabod come from the area around Lowell, MA and this is their third release and probably their best. The four piece band play some unconventional heavy rock. "Succubus" opens the CD as a heavy rocker. The title track is next and a cool mideastern style theme begins the track including some sampled sitar like sounds, before the slow heavy riff takes over and then the theme returns. A really cool track. "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" changes things totally with a very aggressive vocal and pounding drums and thrashing guitars before they slow it down. "Evacute" brings back a more doomy vibe. "Manna" is the nearly 10 minute long show piece of the CD with lots of interesting things happening and a very spacey ambient vibe to start the track. Sometimes you would find it hard to believe that it is the same singer on all these tracks. The track really starts to build at around 5Â½ minutes before the heavy guitar kicks in at 6 minutes to propel the track forward. This track shows the more adventurous psychedelic side of the band. The CD ends with "Violet Sky" (7Â½ minutes long) which also starts slowly with an almost bluesy feel with some cool keyboards and guitar interplay while the vocals float in the background. Great track! It leaves you wanting to hear more.. The one thing I miss on the CD is there are hardly any guitar solos! My usual complaint. Oh yeah, the artwork by Scott Cranmer is very cool!
Reviewed by Scott Heller