"Their first [masterpiece] was 2004’s Penance Soiree, the second release that robed the inchoate snarl and unhinged post-hardcore cacophony of their 2001 debut Mono in decadent sleaze, druggy sludge, finessed venom and a constant threat of violence. Penance Soiree was a masterpiece for its songs, primarily: in particular a trio of tracks at the album’s centre ('Kiss Like Lizards', 'Getting Bright At Night' and 'Big Sleep', known within the band’s circle as 'the holy trinity') that essayed meltdowns, heartbreak and psychosis on the seedier end of LA’s party scene with an erotic, disturbing, electrifying charge while riding riffs that'd pummel even Spacemen 3’s 'Revolution' in a brawl. It was also a masterpiece in how it distilled everything that made The Icarus Line who they were – nihilism, volatility, hedonism, desperation, dysfunction, destructiveness – into its 54 coruscating, seductive minutes. You really should own it."
Stevie Chick sums up the brilliance of The Icarus Line's second album far better than I ever could.
The occasion for lavishing praise on an unduly neglected album is the release of what Chick is hailing as the band's second masterpiece. On first impressions Slave Vows doesn't quite hit the heights of its predecessor (though "heights" is the wrong word - it's all about the lows), but it's still a remarkable record and proof that Six By Seven aren't the only outfit to make a startling return to form this year. It's not just myself and Chick who feel that way, either - the Drowned In Sound review is also very enthusiastic, as is John Robb writing for Louder Than War.