IZZ - Sliver of a Sun - 1999
The appearance of American progressive bands and the development of its scene, as shown in the number of events, record labels or magazines in North America, has nothing to envy the golden years of our dear genre, it is more, it seems that it even overcomes it. Bands that maintain an exceptional level and that squeeze all the juice from prog in surprising ways. Bands that expand through the vast American geography, but that surprisingly have left an unforgivable hole in the city of New York.
IZZ appears to break up with this tradition and fills the hole with a surprising turn of the squeezer. It is a group of young musicians, lovers of the deepest roots of progressive rock, the one made in Europe, of course. They come from other scenes such as Jazz, Celtic music or theater. An explosive mixture that delivers a first CD, "Sliver of a Sun" with an appealing richness of sounds.
The music of IZZ is as a solid and effective mix of the music of King Crimson, Van der Graaf Generator, and maybe some dark Scandinavian progressive as White Willow or even the calmer Anekdoten. Due to the golden aura created in some songs, caused by the kind of productions in which it seems that the group is playing in your own living room. The American touch is given, as usual by the singer, Tom Galgano, who next to his brother John, play synthesizers, pianos and guitars. Philip Gaita plays bass and Brian Coralian and Greg DiMiceli play both drums.
"Endless Calling", opens this collection of relatively short compositions, none of which exceeds nine minutes. Great force and an obsessive rhythm, a piercing bass, and a Frippian guitar. The composition breaks several times, to pave the way to keyboards that within a perfect harmony with the other instruments, describes a beautiful passage.
"I get lost", is a two-headed composition. Parts of great lyricism and melody at the keyboards,, against other Crimsonian moments, where John Galgano is Bob Fripp reincarnated. The third piece, "Lornadoone" is a beautiful semiacoustic song where two guests, Michele Salustri and Danielle Altieri, embellish the composition with vocals and flute respectively. Several charming crescendos of drums and guitar complete the sound.
They continue their acoustic set with "She walked out the door" with acoustic guitars, drums and piano follow a beautiful but foreseeable melody. "Assurance", is the voice of Galgano accompanying the piano and preparing the landscape to the listener for multiple entrances of instruments that end in a joint melody. The breaks and rhythm changes are spectacular, with the musicians using their respective instruments at full steam. The best track until now. The acoustics return with "Take it higher", in which the quality level comes down slightly in another unoriginal piece.
The above-mentioned problem is solved with "Double Bass", which obviously is an an exercise of bass and guitar that destroy everything in just two minutes. A jewel, a pity that it is so short. It could fit perfectly in John Paul Jones "Zooma". "Just a girl" comes back to the easier rhythms and is not too interesting.
"Meteor", is another of the jewels of the CD, very varied in melodies and rhythm changes. The keyboards are the main instruments, drawing all kind of musical structures. The voice of Galgano in this composition sounds with a power not heard up to now. Together with "Assurance" and "Meteor", "Razor" is one of the most spectacular songs, with the guitar and bass shining. The intermediate section is a pleasure with all kind of electronic drums and other devices transforming the experience into a ghastly audition of Van der Graaf Generator.
"Where I belong" is the perfect dessert for this album. A smooth layer of keyboards with Michele Salustri's heavenly voice. A delightful, relaxing and spiritual song that with the whisper of the lyrics and the instrumental immensity, seems to get lost in the horizon, leaving the signs of an exciting experience.
In definitive an excellent album full of surprises, that which will make us watch with attention the career of IZZ. Worthy successors of some famous American bands basking in the glory of the ephemeral progressive success.