To make the confusion complete I would like to tell you that members Carl Baldassarre and Sam Giunta played together before Witsend/Syzygy in a band called Abraxas. The American Abraxas and not the Polish band! This was during the early 1980’s. Together with Paul Milhacevich the trio Witsend released its debut CD “Cosmos and Chaos” in 1993. Because someone grabbed the rights for the name Witsend the band decided to change their name into Syzygy when they released this second CD called “Allegory of Light”.
Carl Baldassarre – electric, acoustic and classical guitars, guitar synth, bass guitar and vocals on “Beggar’s Tale” and “Forbidden”;Sam Giunta – piano and synthesizers; Paul Milhacevich – drums, percussion and vocals on “M.O.T.H.”.
One of the most important tasks of the progVisions members is to discover unknown bands and spread the word to a bigger audience. So it is a pleasure for me to introduce you to the American progressive rock band Syzygy. When you hear this you will be surprised. The album opens with the title track “Allegory of Light”, a long suite which is divided into three parts (“M.O.T.H.”, “Beggar’s Tale” and “Distant Light”). The first part “M.O.T.H.” (11:20) will immediately blow you out of your chair. A diverse piece of music with references to Gentle Giant, EL&P, King Crimson and Glass Hammer. Maybe you will miss the name of Spock’s Beard (the old Beard!) but they were influenced by Gentle Giant. Young prog fans won’t know the name Gentle Giant, but I am from the generation who witnessed the gigs of Yes, Gentle Giant, Camel and Genesis. Gentle Giant and Yes made the more complex music while the bands Camel and Genesis were more into melodic music. The first thing you will notice when you listen to Syzygy is that this trio exists out of very skilled musicians who have the ability to play some very complex music. The second part “Beggar’s Tale” (2:47) is a short songmatic piece with acoustic and classic guitars which are only accompanied by bass and some percussion. The vocals remind me of the fairytale like music of Glass Hammer. “Distant Light” (5:35) is an up-tempo piece with some Rush and Yes references. The good thing about Syzygy is that the band mixes all those influences into a meltingpot of Syzygy music.
The next track is called “In the age of mankind” and is divided into the parts “Zinjanthropus” (12:31) and “Industryopolis” (6:33). Both are killer tracks. Old progfans will get feelings of nostalgia. The names of legendary bands like Yes, EL&P, King Crimson, Rush and Gentle Giant are again floating through my brain. Fantastic drumwork, guitar solo’s and the music is drenched in heavy keyboards.
Luckily you can catch your breath again with the acoustic guitar, piano and vocals in the ballad “Forbidden” (3:22). Otherwise it would be too much. But the short track “Light Speed” (2:58) is again an up-tempo rock piece with some Fripp like guitar work.
The album ends with the long track “Journey of the Myrrdin” (17:29). Heavy rock riffs are combined with symphonic power prog. This piece has not only a lot of power but also a lot of variation. There is also a place for melodic guitar and keyboard solo’s. I will not repeat myself with a long description of this track. Syzygy rocks!
The music of Syzygy is an overwhelming experience. This album blew me away. It is still possible to make fresh and powerful music which has its roots in the seventies. The three musician’s are skillful enough to play the complex and up-tempo material of the band. At one point the guitar of Carl Baldassarre sounds like Fripp and the next time you think you are listening to Steve Howe. The same story goes for Sam Giunta. One minute he sounds like Keith Emerson, the next minute you think of Kerry Minnear (Gentle Giant) or Ryo Okumoto (Spock’s Beard). And Paul Milhacevich makes this trio complete with steady and amazing drumwork. “Allegory of Light” is album with a mixture of rock and sympho from the seventies. Syzygy is making the music they like themselves. So it could be described as a meltingpot of their own musical influences. We will not talk about the word progressive this time. Many of us will just like it because it is a kind of window to the past. The era of Symphonic Rock!