Ishtar - New EP! South of Sanity
01 Oct 2006 // A review by johnsoncraigsbc
Don’t judge a book by its cover, is what I have learnt from listening to Ishtar’s new E.P South of Sanity. Ishtar are a solid female fronted band, and not in a tacky Evanescence kind of way either. Listening to their E.P start to finish was a pleasurable experience. Mel Wright successfully pulls off the vocals for this rock band. She has a capability to reach high pitches (listen to ‘Secret Love’) and accompany powerful riffs with ease.
With a heavy rock front, the guitaring sounds similar to that of Zakk Wylde and Randy Rhodes. ‘South of Sanity’ is one of my favourite tracks. The vocals and guitars combine very successfully to create one of those powerful rock ballads which we all love to move our heads and lips to. My absolute favourite track though has to be ‘Temple of Ishtar’. It is comprehensively one of the best rock songs I have heard in recent times. The chorus repeats a lot which is awesome because the sound it has to it is so sweet, and the words are good too. Starting slow and easing into a heavy, melodic chorus is what it’s all about. It’s one of those songs that couldn’t have anything changed in it to make it better, and every part is perfectly arranged.
Showing us they aren’t just another heavy rock band, Ishtar successfully pulled off two slower songs in the closing stages of the EP. Sometimes rock bands can create ballads because they feel it’s what they’re meant to do and it comes back to bite them in the arse, but it seems Ishtar weren’t even trying when they comprehensively pulled them off with ease.
Even if their image may not seem like your scene, grab a copy of ‘South of Sanity’, because you’re in for a very pleasant surprise. It’s not as dark as I originally thought it might be which was great because although their songs were of a heavier nature, they were all songs I loved listening to.
And music.net got a mention in the credits too! Choice!
Ishtar is a band moniker for Transgendered Guitar Goddess Simone Whitlow’s musical outlet over the last decade. A Hard Rock group based out of Auckland, Ishtar is Musically cinematic, mixing stadium-esque riffs, big hooks and often disparate elements into their songwriting style. Ishtar’s music draws comparisons to bands like Led Zeppelin, Queen, Van Halen, Kansas, Styx, Iron Maiden, Nightwish and Dream Theater, to name a few.
Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Ishtar
Ishtar have had numerous highlights including playing to a packed out Aotea Square during New Years & releasing 2 EPs (South of Sanity (2006) and the internet only release Ambigram (2007). They scored airplay on numerous indie and student Rock stations across NZ, featured on a Tsunami charity CD 'Reconstruction' & filmed a yet to be released Video for their song 'South of Sanity'
The band has seen numerous incarnations. Mk 1, Featuring Simone (then Simon) on guitars also consisted of Angel & Johnny Walker (A Beautiful Chaos, vocals and drums) and Warren Keene on Bass. This incarnation was a proggy affair also with elements of Black Sabbath and hair metal. In Mk 3, Simone was joined by Mel Wright (vocals), Dave Cannon (drums) and Jamie Denton (bass) This version of the band forged the Ishtar sound and also recorded the bulk of Ishtar’s material. Collaborative and still heavy but a more commercial, rock orientated approach, the band crossed the line from Metal to Rock, while also indulging their musicality beyond that typical of Rock bands of the day. In 2007, just prior to folding Ishtar Mk3 (at this point Mel, Dave, Simone and bassist Matt Farley) filmed a video for their song ‘South Of Sanity’ since disregarded due to the fact Simone featured on it while still ‘Simon’.