by Martin Hutchinson
“Centered around the 18+ minute epic, “42,” Don’t Panic bears all the hallmarks of what has made IZZ one of the brightest lights in the US progressive rock scene.” Well, the press release for the 9th studio album from US progressive rock luminaries IZZ certainly paints a good picture of what to expect and it’s evident from the first notes of album opener and title track “Don’t Panic” that the band have imbued a new sense of power and purpose to the music along with much verve and a whole lot of panache. A driving bassline, sweetly harmonized vocals and catchy hooks immediately draw you in and grab your attention.
If the first track is a taster, then “42” is very much a main course of progressive wonderment within its lengthy eighteen minute running time. All four vocalists (yes, it doesn’t really get much more prog than that) contribute to the beautiful melodies and harmonies. Anmarie Byrnes, Laura Meade, John Galgano and Tom Galgano integrate with the wonderful instrumental prowess of guitarist Paul Bremner, and drummers, Greg DiMiceli and Brian Coralian to bring the song’s powerful, dynamic, and emotional arrangement to life. There is a touch of prog legends Yes to the song but only in homage and I think it is one of the best progressive rock tracks released so far this year.
The elegant strains of exquisite classical guitar piece “Six String Theory” add moments of calm reflection to this impressive collection of songs and provide the ying to the yang of the majestic instrumental tour-de-force of “Moment of Inertia”. This is a towering near ten-minutes of primeval musical power that feels like a soundtrack to the moving of mountains and brings a thunderous directness to the record, you feel like you have been brought out of momentous trance as it comes to its short, sharp close.
Closer “Age of Stars” brings some more classic progressive rock brilliance to the album with intelligent musical twists and turns that take you on a quite breathtaking journey of discovery and revelation. Vocals and instruments are your guides as this slow burning tale traverses an ever-expanding musical tapestry bringing the whole album to a close with a repeat of the choral refrain from the opening track.
IZZ have returned with what should become an American progressive rock classic. Don’t Panic brings classic prog rock bang up to date for the 21st century and should cement this musical collective as one of the pre-eminent bands of the genre at this moment in time and for many years to come.
Released May 21st, 2019 on Doone Records
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)
Paul Bremner: Electric & Acoustic Guitars
Anmarie Byrnes: Vocals
Brian Coralian: Electronic & Acoustic Drums and Percussion
Greg DiMiceli: Acoustic Drums and Percussion
John Galgano: Bass Guitar, Electric & Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Tom Galgano: Keyboards, Vocals
Laura Meade: Vocals