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Syzygy The Allegory of Light album cover
3.87 | 75 ratings | 9 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

- The Allegory of Light:
1. M.O.T.H. (11:20)
2. Beggar's Tale (2:47)
3. Distant Light (5:35)
- In the Age of Mankind
4. Zinjanthropus (12:31)
5. Industryopolis (6:33)
6. Forbidden (3:22)
7. Light Speed (2:58)
8. The Journey of Myrrdin / Seascape (17:29)

Total Time 62:35

Line-up / Musicians

- Carl Baldassarre / guitars, guitar synth, bass, vocals
- Sam Giunta / piano, synthesizers
- Paul Mihacevich / drums, percussion, vocals

Releases information

Syzygy Music Enterprises

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SYZYGY The Allegory of Light ratings distribution

(75 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(60%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SYZYGY The Allegory of Light reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This disc recieved my nod for "Album of the Year - 2003." Mostly instrumental, it has that quality of Darkness (Heavy) and Light (subtle) that holds a listeners attention and makes you WANT to listen. The vocals, though weak, are expressive and don't taint the overall picture of the music.

Syzygy started out as Witsend in 1993 and released Cosmos and Chaos, an equal in quality performance, but had to change the name after someone else nabbed it up prior to their copywriting the name. Unfortunate, but I personally like the name Syzygy better.

M.O.T.H. (Master of the House) starts off with some stunning keyboard work remeniscient of ELP, very bombastic. It slows to the acoustic lines which support some spiritual lyrics, uplifting and sung with reverance. The tunes surges with the ebb and flow of power and grace. Beggar's Tale and Forbidden, the other two tracks featuring vocals, are small bits of folkish couterpoints to the largely energetic soloing throughout the other pieces.

The epic instrumental's: Industryopolis, Journey to Myrrdin and Zinjanthropus occassionally get very heavy when guitarist Carl Baldasarre unleases Petrucci-like leads that shake the house, but he follows through with acoustic panache to off-set the hard edges. Keyboardist Sam Guinta varies his styles and textures to create a cornucopia of influences and he too, keeps you guessing about what is coming around the next turn. Drummer Paul Mihacevich plays old school Carl Palmer, heavy on the snare, style drums.

Symphonic? Yes. Prog-Metal, close (at times) and may even be enjoyed by metal fans. Powerhouse? You bet.

Review by Prognut
4 stars I am a prog nut in all the sense, not really much in to prog-metal (with some exceptions). The Allegory of Light gets heavy at times but not that much for my taste (Thank God). There is something on this album that can not put my finger on it, but make my juices going. A fantastic discovery for me and probably without a doubt one of the top 10 best releases of last year and a fantastic way to end 2003. They probably are crazy fans of early Yes, but being said that Syzygy has make a personal and unique statement and that is what make this CD special. This comes to show that still in this time, people can make prog music at the level of the 70' without being imitators or clones. This is pure prog-Rock rigth in your face but, plenty of soft and mellow passages (Thank God again) and will probably can become a classic. I personally believe that the long instrumental suites are the best and to complement this the album come in a very nice packing and has a very good production overall. Very good/4stars.
Review by Sean Trane
3 stars well this album I bought on word of mouth and written reviews in specialized press (something I usually try not to do without having heard it) and was actually fairly disappointed . If anybody is interested in acquiring my fully legit cd , I can maybe send it for say ? 10.

Don't get me wrong , this is a fine album impeccably played, fine produced and full of great interplay and it must've taken an incredibible amount of time , effort and money to make it. By the way , I did not find much prog metal into this album but some high energy prog moments.

So where is the problem , you ask? Well, for the fact that I have not heard a single moment on this album not being derivative of another group. This makes it yet another umpteenth soul-less modern prog album , collaging moments from Yes , Kansas , Flour Kings (intended pun) and others but none from Syzygy itself. I mean the first one to have done such a thing (and superbly succeeded at it, because it was new and almost original) were Anglagard some thirteen (already?!?!?) years ago . Anglagard were absolutely inventive and even brought their own personal touches (not least singing in Swedish) which is where the difference lies in between Hybris and this album presently reviewed - Personality, inventiveness.

Since then , there has been countless albums doing just that (not least or last Flower Kings) but not being a clone band either - since they take their style from more than one band. The music meanders (however brilliantly executed ) pointlessly until one feels it is time for a sung verse and more movement "pasted on" until a brilliantly clicheed but grandiose finale.

For the cd , please contact Progarchives for my address.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is a seventies inspired Symphonic record that is quite modern sounding, even recalling SPOCKS BEARD on the first track. These guys really show their stuff on this mostly instrumental record.

"M.O.T.H." won me over the first time I heard it. This is my favourite track on the album. It takes a minute but once it gets going i'm reminded of SPOCK'S BEARD with the flurries of sound. The drumming,keys and guitar are all top notch. It settles down as vocals come in. I like them. Strummed guitar helps out and what sounds like mellotron. It kicks back in a minute later with Howe-like guitar. Nice heavy rhythm 5 minutes in. Vocals and a calmer sound 6 minutes in. It doesn't last long,check out the guitar after 7 minutes and after 8 minutes. Ripping guitar 10 minutes in as well. The drumming is outstanding. "Beggar's Tale" is a pleasant song of mostly acoustic guitar and vocals. "Distant Light" opens with what sounds like mellotron as drums and a full sound come bursting in quickly. The drums and guitar shine bright on this one. Nice rhythm 2 minutes in. More mellotron after 3 minutes. The guitar starts to rip it up 4 minutes in. "Zinjanthropus" is led by piano early. How amazing does this sound 2 minutes in. Excellent guitar 4 1/2 minutes in. It settles back down with piano 7 minutes in. Blistering guitar and a full sound before 12 minutes.

"Industryopolis" surprisingly has a lot of industrial sounds including metallic percussion. The guitar is great. Lots of instrumental fire works on this one. "Forbidden" opens with acoustic guitar as reserved vocals join in. I like the brief background vocals 2 minutes in. Church bells end it. Sad song. "Light Speed" is not one of my favourites. It's a fast paced instrumental show that does little for me. "The Journey Of Myrrdin" makes up fo it though. Killer guitar to open, and the pulsating keys are fantastic. The guitar fires off some more rounds before the keys are back. Check out the drumming ! Nice heavy sound 2 minutes in followed by mellotron. The guitar 5 minutes in continues to impress. It calms right down 7 1/2 minutes in becoming atmospheric. The guitar destroys that mood 11 minutes in. A catchy beat follows. We get piano for almost 1 1/2 minutes before a spacey finale.

A low 4 stars from me even though this is so well played and arranged.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars US band Syzygy can trace it's root back to the 1990's, back then known as Witsend. Their first album was released under that moniker in 1993, and was a fine effort as far as debut albums go with it's blend of Genesis and ELP inspired material.

10 years later they resurface as Syzygy, and with a new album called "The Allegory of Light". In the decade that has gone by since their initial effort these three musicians have evolved quite a lot, first and foremost in the composing department. The songs are for the most part tighter and better assembled, the use of both subtle and stark contrasts to enhance the moods are much more of a distinct trait this time around, and the sonic palette utilized have expanded greatly.

The bombastic ELP-like bursts and the atmospheric, richly layered passages rather similar to vintage Genesis is still very much a part of the musical territories explored on this album, but this time around notable influences from other greats of the 70's are added in as well. Gentle Giant first and foremost, quite a few quirky, shifting themes have more than a passing nod in that direction. Harder edged, distorted guitar layers with Frippian attitudes is another addition to the songs this time around, while several folk-tinged segments brings both aforementioned Gentle Giant as well as Jethro Tull to mind. Those better versed in 70's prog will probably find a few other acts that have inspired the material at hand here as well, and with a few hair metal touches added in final track Journey of the Myrrdin as well as guitar shredding popping up on a few select occasions throughout, the end is a rather eclectic collection of tunes.

The main negatives about this production is the fact that many of the songs may sound just a bit too much like the bands mentioned above. The compositions as such may be innovative as a whole, but the individual parts used to construct it will more often than not sound a tad to derivative. Personally I don't mind though. The mellow, emotional track Forbidden is the only time I feel Syzygy manage to achieve perfection on this production though, but many other efforts here are pretty close. Towards the end of the album I start to loose a bit of interest though. The raunchy rocker Light Speed feels a bit out of place here, and the aforementioned Journey of the Myrrdin was too broken up for my personal taste even if containing quite a few stunning themes and passages.

All in all this is a strong album as I perceive it, and those who'd like to desire a veritable smorgasbord of 70's inspired progressive rock with eclectic attitudes should get quite a lot of enjoyment out of this effort.

Review by Wicket
4 stars During the typing of this review, I was heading home on a train from Boston listening to this album.

Strange, because I originally was ready to delete it from my phone because it looked...old.

Take an old Pontiac GTO today. A 1970's GTO looks old fashioned compared to modern day sleek designs, which is what I perceived by looking at this album cover. I was hoping not to be taken back to the 70's with this album either. However, "MOTH" gave me that kickstart I was hoping for. Although the lyrical talent in the track was lacking, he did not hurt the track at all seeing as there was more time for the instrumental showcase than a cheesy storytelling fantasy tale, which suited me just fine. The guitars and keys were mostly subdued from the intro, but deeper into the track (and earlier in their bluesy segue) the notes just flew by me like, well, a fast moving train. Only downside I have is the stop-start stuttering of the bands movement from the frantic prog rock antics to their slow acoustic chorus. It reminded me of a faulty brake system, something common in GTO's of the day.

"Beggar's Tale" started out like an ambitious prog folk tale and ended as a "someone was playing/singing in the wrong key signature the whole time". "Distant Light" is another instrumental showcase, except the vocals are cometely absent this time. "Zinjanthropus" was the second "epic" in the track and another one I found intriguing. The cultural instruments and influences were very prevalent in the intro, as well as the atonal chord progressions. It also was another track absent of vocals (which suited me fine; debut album or not, the vocals were fairly weak and inexperienced). The transitions in this track are much smoother as well, none of this stop-start crap.

"Industryopolis" reminds me of the King Crimson track of a similar nature on the dreade "Three of a Perfect Pair". The intro is very industrial sounding, but that's where the similarities end. First off, it's actually a good song (heyo). Secondly, it's instrumental; again, which brings up a moot point: why would Syzygy have vocals on the first track when they would be nearly absent from the rest of the album? Perhaps we'll never know, but again, the song structure is very complex like industry with mixed sounds added in that help make it sound very industrial and factory-like.

"Forbidden" is Carl Baldassarre's second chance to make an impression, and it certainly is an improvement over the butchered and chaotic "Beggar's Tale". Both guitars and vocals are in key (for once) and it makes for an entertaining listen. "Light Speed" is just another instrumental showcase, although it harkens back to that frenetic time of the 70's, where cars were fast and so were women (heyo). Like a GTO, it's all about speed here and the change of pace surely spices up the record.

"The Journey of Myradin" is the third epic and final track of this album and once again, it's all about the instrumental fretwork, although there's a dash of Jethro Tull and Dream Theater in the same track (two bands I hopefully will never have to mention on the same sentence again). Once again, it's instrumental. It's another pleasant listen if you love frantic instrumental fretwork and footwork.

I was very surprised at the end result of this product. It's surely not for every prog fan, and the outdated album cover will surely turn people away, but if you're willing to risk it for some instrumental magic, this album will be a purchase you won't regret.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'The Allegory of Light' - Syzygy (66/100)

Ten years prior to the release of Syzygy's de facto second album The Allegory of Light, the Carl Baldassarre-led trio was known as Witsend. In the midst of completing terms at a music conservatory and starting families, their first (and, for a long time, only) album Cosmos and Chaos was released; a pleasant, if not totally satisfying album, Witsend proved at least what the guys were capable of as musicians. Fast forward a decade of relative silence from Syzygy, and they released The Allegory of Light. It's ultimately a more rewarding album than its predecessor, but I wonder whether the focus on technique and 'prog for prog's sake' attitude of the album doesn't alienate the things I loved most about their humble beginnings. Syzygy don't break any established rules of progressive rock, but from a technical standpoint, they flourish within them.

At once, it is clear that Syzygy have worked out many of the more blatant kinks in their formula. Where the meaty prog composition felt strangely hard to come by on Cosmos and Chaos, The Allegory of Light is dense and tightly-packed with instrumental fireworks. Where in their pre-Syzygy days they would be hinged on concise songwriting and simple tunes, The Allegory of Light boasts three epics, the melodically-inclined "M.O.T.H" (short for 'master of the house'), the densely packed "Zinjanthropus" and the balls-out progstravaganza "The Journey of Myrrdin". On those and the rest, cerebral musicianship and liberal changes in time signature aren't uncommon. Although there's a hint of the pastoral tone of Cosmos and Chaos, it's safe to say that Syzygy made their 'debut' as a far different creature than Witsend. Both are firmly rooted in '70s progressive nostalgia, but The Allegory of Light undoubtedly the more challenging listen of the two.

Of course, there are elements that have crossed over. Syzygy remains a largely instrumental act, and Baldassarre's history as a classical guitarist is evident, certainly in the acoustic "Beggar's Tale". The smell of Genesis still lingers in many of the album's prettier moments, but Syzygy are much closer to the more technical meanderings of Gentle Giant. Although that might seem like a short leap to make (one symph-prog act to another, largely symphonic band), the major distinction lies in the way it manifests itself in the album's atmosphere. I first listened to The Allegory of Light a year ago expecting something along the lines of Steve Hackett, but Syzygy are far too busy with technique to warrant the comparison any longer. On "M.O.T.H" and "Industryopolis", there are even dissonant sections I'd expect to hear from one of the classically-influenced Rock In Opposition bands. Syzygy's own education in classical music surely manifests itself here, albeit in an entirely different manner than the softer sounds of Cosmos.

As we heard only briefly with Witsend with "Circadian Rhythm", Carl Baldassarre once again tries his hand with vocals, if only for the title suite (comprising the first three tracks). While his singing lacks the confidence to have effectively fronted the band full-time, the plainness of his voice has a hearty intimacy to it, the likes of which I've come to love and expect from US symphonic prog. Unsurprisingly for a band of their style, Syzygy offer an expert grasp of their respective instruments. While Cosmos and Chaos tended to highlight Carl Baldassarre's talents predominantly, each of the three Syzygians bring a world of sound to The Allegory of Light. As always, Baldassarre comfortably shifts between proggy pyrotechnics and softer classical guitar, impressing equally with both. Sam Giunta (who only had "Strange Loop II" off Cosmos and Chaos to really show his skills) takes a major role in the compositions with often-weighty organ playing; like some of the early heavy prog bands circa 1970, Syzygy tend to bring their relative 'heaviness' via the keyboard, freeing up the guitar for leads and a melodic role. Perhaps most impressive of all on the record is Paul Mihacevich; the calculated and busy drumwork is multi-faceted and endlessly dynamic. Perhaps it would be premature to say he is one of the greatest unsung drummers in modern progressive rock based on a single album, but he went ahead and confirmed my feelings with 2009's Realms of Eternity, so I think it's fair to say so.

I'm certainly more impressed by Syzygy's grasp of technique on their second album together, and compared to the part-instrumental prog, part-interlude Cosmos and Chaos, The Allegory of Light's density rewards repeated listens. At the same time, there's a small part of me that misses the 'tautology' of Witsend; specifically, the melodic songcraft they infused into their composition. While many of the tracks here outweigh Cosmos' opener "Voyager" in technical firepower and ambition, are any quite so cleverly written? This is prog rock, made by fans of prog rock, for fans of prog rock, almost to a fault. Syzygy certainly extended their reach with The Allegory of Light, but may have lost some of the honesty that made their debut oddly charming.

Latest members reviews

4 stars "The Allegory of Light" is the second album from the Ohio-based trio known as Syzygy. (Their fist album was recorded under the band name Witsend.) These guys are all exceptional talents on their respective instruments. I love the driving, inventive drumming of Paul Mihacevich - reminds m ... (read more)

Report this review (#119841) | Posted by Squire Jaco | Thursday, April 26, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Syzygy, the band reformed from Witsend, delivers a catchy, intelligent, and interesting mostly-instrumental record. This album is ideal to any fan of The Flower Kings, Gentle Giant, The Moody Blues, and Van Der Graff Generator. It is difficult to put a finger on exactly what trhey sound like, ... (read more)

Report this review (#24855) | Posted by | Thursday, October 28, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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