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Izz - My River Flows CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.81 | 105 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars My first exposure to this interesting band. This album is something of a hybrid, combining the riffs of a metal album, the technical proficiency and scope of a symphonic album and the vocals and smooth passages of an American rock album into one interesting whole. For me the overall effect is of sophisticated neo-prog, but category boundaries are always blurry and I can see how this would be considered a symphonic prog record. I can't help feeling the music begs for a more dramatic vocal treatment, and with the co-option of backing vocalists it's apparent the band are aware of vocal deficiencies. This is a real shame and is, in my opinion, the single greatest barrier to IZZ becoming 'great' rather than merely 'good'. That and the lack of any underlying passion.

The album begins on a strong note with the metal-tinged title track, reminiscent of PORCUPINE TREE, though without that band's melodic strength. The impressive 'Late Night Salvation' is the album's outstanding track, as good an example of modern neo-prog this side of SATELLITE. Like many similar albums, however, the shorter tracks let the album down somewhat. Are they a continuation of the album, or merely a series of disconnected vignettes?

The album concludes with the obligatory twenty-minute epic. It is competent, of that there is no doubt, but I look in vain for a soul, for a compelling reason for this song to exist. When I listen to this album - and albums like it - I often find myself waiting through the shorter tracks, waiting for the epic. Hoping ... only to have my hopes dashed again and again. Of course, eventually I learn to accept a piece for what it is, which in this case is still not as much as one would wish. Melodic, pleasant, with any hint of drama smoothed out (apart from a few stab-chords in the middle of the song), extended periods of noodling that lack either beauty or purpose, until we arrive at the elevated finish in which the vocals finally shine, thanks to the female voices. It's a long wait, but 'Deafening Silence' eventually delivers on its promise, lifting the album to a solid three-star effort.

russellk | 3/5 |


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