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Izz - The Darkened Room CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.02 | 157 ratings

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4 stars After the brilliant My River Flows, The Darkened Room rose toward the top of my must-have list for 2009. The production is crisp and clear but not inhuman, and the band is probably at their tightest-sounding. I especially love how this group uses an array of creative tones and sounds and yet maintains their unique identity as a band. Fans of acts like IQ will find much to love about this release. There's approximately fifteen minutes of this album I'm consistently disappointed with, but the rest of it is fantastic.

"Swallow Our Pride" Atmospheric, low guitar, gentle percussion, and soft vocals begin the record. The easing in of the harmonic feminine singing is a welcome moment. The listener is then treated to a warbling synthesizer solo and some heavy guitar.

"Day of Innocence" I was not expecting an acoustic guitar and bass duet here, but that's what ensues- a very pleasant piece of music that picks up with some drums and electric guitar later on.

"Regret" A great progressive pop song with a prominent bass and a few light instrumental passages, this is a catchy little song that really offers the best of IZZ in a stripped-down manner.

"Can't Feel the Earth, Part I" I don't particularly care for this track. There's a disharmony throughout, with a lot of "falling-down-the-stairs" piano moments. The electric guitar work here is a compensation.

"Ticking Away" That strange rhythm and bass work is brilliant, and the vocals are magnificent. This is for me the best track on the album- a real treat with some remarkable vocal harmonies and gorgeous, uplifting melodies.

"Can't Feel the Earth, Part II" After a fast-paced bit of guitar and synthesizer, ghostly female vocals and searing electric guitar create impassioned melodies over a musical bed that demonstrates pure sonic craftsmanship. The male vocals during the piano-led, almost ELP-like section aren't quite as convincing, and neither is the composition during this time, since it admittedly sounds like a jazzy mess.

"Stumbling" Exhibiting their fine dynamics once again, this song features floating vocals over a jazz-infused rock backing. While not their best moment, it's still quite good.

"The Message" Thudding bass and delicate piano create a foundation for soft vocals and lead guitar interruptions. Like the previous track, this one is decent but substandard for IZZ.

"23 Minutes of Tragedy" One of the most immediately gripping tracks for me the first time I heard this album- ethereal guitar and wraithlike vocals craft memorable melodies and powerful moments. The lead guitar solo rips through the music, as the whole atmosphere adopts a Pink Floyd-like visage. Finally, the new synthesizer-led theme is pure magic, drawing the piece to a mighty conclusion.

"Can't Feel the Earth, Part III" The final, contemplative track has a progressive country flavor initially, but soon becomes more like typical IZZ, once again boasting great dual vocals, intriguing bass, rocking lead guitar, and some fine keyboard wizardry- as I said, typical IZZ.

Epignosis | 4/5 |


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