IZZ - Don't Panic

(2019, 43:59, Doone Records DR16-669563)

The tracks:
  1- Don't Panic(4:25)
  2- 42(18:41)
  3- Six String Theory(2:07)
  4- Moment Of Inertia(9:46)
  5- Age Of Stars(9:00)

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This New York based prog formation was founded by the brothers Tom and John Galgano in the mid-Nineties, between 1998 and 2019 IZZ released a serie of studio - and live albums, this review is about their latest CD entitled Don't Panic, from 2019.

1. Don't Panic (4:25) : This first track sounds like alternating melodic rock with prog tendencies featuring strong male and female vocals, a powerful Chris Squire-like bass sound, fiery electric guitar leads, sparkling piano runs in a mid-tempo, in the end first a mellow part, then a bombastic ending with the distinctive IZZ vocal lines.

2. 42 (18:41) : This long composition contains all elements of 24-carat melodic and harmonic symphonic rock (with hints from Yes and Glass Hammer): the climates shifts from dreamy and slow rhythm to bombastic eruptions, with a wonderful colouring by the vintage keyboards (lots of Mellotron choirs, along Mini Moog and Hammond organ) and flowing guitar (often Steve Howe inspired), and strong male and female vocals. The final part is breathtaking: a mid-tempo culminates in a bombastic atmosphere with an awesome Mellotron choir sound, a powerful and dynamic rhythm-section, strong female vocals and howling electric guitar runs, goose bumps!

3. Six String Theory (2:07) : Great title for a dreamy acoustic guitar duet, it sounds wonderful, very tender and warm, in the tradition of mellow Steve Howe.

4. Moment Of Inertia (9:46) : First a Grand piano intro and wonderful classical orchestrations, then a bombastic eruption with propulsive guitar work (Eighties King Crimson hints), a tight beat and a heavy guitar solo. What an exciting, very powerful and dynamic sound! Then captivating interplay between the Hammond and electric guitar, along another heavy guitar solo with biting runs. Halfway some laughter, then fat spectacular pitchbend driven Mini Moog flights (obvious hints from first Rick Wakeman and then the late Keith Emerson, followed by a sensational guitar-synthesizer duel, a heavy guitar solo. And finally wonderful piano and moving electric guitar runs. Another impressive composition.

5. Age Of Stars (9:00) : This final track starts mellow with twanging guitars, dreamy male and female vocals and assorted percussion, topped with that strong bass sound. Next an accellaration with a tight beat and vocal harmonies, like the first song this sounds like melodic rock with prog tendencies (Eighties Yes comes to my mind). This is embellished with delicate work on guitar and keyboards, another trademark of IZZ. In the final part a bombastic eruption with Mellotron choir, female vocals, a spacey Mini Moog solo, sumptuous Mellotron choir drops and sensitive electric guitar, wow.

This is a grower, to me it sounds as varied and elaborate melodic prog should be, with strong vocals, outstanding musicians and interesting musical ideas.

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Dave Smith)

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