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Izz - Sliver Of A Sun CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.58 | 67 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars IZZ are a tough band to classify. Their songs have musical structures that are obviously inspired by having grown up on a steady diet of Yes and King Crimson (and especially Yes). But they also employ lots of vocals and have a tendency to wander off on different paths including Celtic (“Lornadoone”), west-coast soft rock (“She Walked out the Door”), neo-prog (“Assurance“) and even pop (“Just a Girl”, “Take it Higher”), which keeps listeners on their toes and guessing as to what’s coming next.

Unlike many symphonic rock bands, IZZ seem to have a strong preference for lots of vocals in their music, and indeed just about every song centers around Tom Galgano’s singing. He sounds more like an indie artist than the Jon Andersons, Greg Lakes or even Ian Andersons that most folks associate with traditional symphonic rock. But the vocals shouldn’t fool anyone into thinking these guys don’t have the chops to lay down some serious and complex musical structures, which they prove on the energetic and ambitious opening track “Endless Calling”. If it weren’t for the vocals and the relatively short length of this song I’d almost mistake it for something the Tangent would do (and that’s a compliment).

“I Get Lost” has a simpler arrangement, a few power chords and again Galgano’s vocals that combine for a decidedly more modern sound than the opener, while “She Walked out the Door” is the kind of lost-love piano tune that you might find on a Paste magazine sampler CD alongside the Everybodyfields or the latest Johnathan Rice single. I personally like a bit of that sort of music once and a while, but it is a bit of a jolt to the senses here. “Assurance”, which follows, is in a similar vein except Galgano brother John shows serious talent with intricate though understated guitar fingering just to remind listeners that this is in fact progressive music.

The band keeps going down odd paths on “Take it Higher”, whose title and opening rhythm make me think this is some sort of Greg Kihn cover but which quickly morphs into a funky pop tune with a mix of acoustic and electric guitars and pleasant guest vocals courtesy of Danielle Altieri and Michele Salustri. “Just a Girl” is the other pop tune, but even here the band sets themselves apart with an acoustic guitar riff provided by guest musician Paul Bremner.

“Meteor” features a heavy synth riff that sounds really familiar but I can’t seem to place it. The band has a knack for turning their keyboard arrangements into funky, toe-tapping affairs that make the music highly listenable even when it strays far afield from its opening track’s sound.

The lengthy and closing “Where I Belong” is far too mellow and ambient for my tastes, but Danielle Altieri’s vocals are striking and this ends up reminding me of Marcela Bovio’s Ambeon project ‘Fate of a Dreamer’. Good music, but again a bit out-of-place on this album.

I really like this album, but whenever I play it there is a strong sense of it being more like a sampler or ‘various artists’ CD than something one band put out. Partly this is thanks to the guest vocalists and guitarist, but more so it’s a result of the many varied sounds the band experiments with. Variety is good, but in this case it’s at the expense to a certain degree of an album that whose tracks will all appeal to the same audience. If you like your music varied and don’t mind the occasional surprise, you may find IZZ to your liking. I think this album deserves three stars, but if you’re expecting anything resembling the kind of symph prog you grew up with you may be in for a surprise.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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