Again IZZ Delivers!
The second release in a trilogy that began with The Darkened Room, Crush Of Night takes up where its predecessor left off. Dealing largely with themes of mortality, truth, and faith during the journey from birth to death, it extends the story to new planes. The work of a band that is maturing before our eyes and ears, the songwriting here is simply superb: confident, challenging, literate, melodic, and nuanced. These songs just leap out at you. Where once IZZ songs would have a single great hook, many now have three or four, and the music is brimming with ideas.
Songs like Almost Over and Solid Ground carry on in much the same vein as The Darkened Room's Stumbling, Ticking, and The Message: Prog-Pop gems that are meaty enough to dig into musically which do not overstay their welcome and offer great melodies and hooks that a lot of Prog sadly lacks. The theme of Can’t Feel The Earth, which took up a good chunk of The Darkened Room, features prominently in the lyrics and chorus of Solid Ground - an excellent way to tie the two albums together without simply rehashing the same musical turf. Similar lyrical tie-ins abound throughout.
The album's centerpiece, the epic This Reality/The Crush Of Night, is a substantial meal, to say the least, deeply beautiful and spiritual as IZZ creates the most atmospheric piece they've ever attempted. Anmarie Byrnes sounds absolutely lovely here and the prominence of her strong, soaring vocals playing off those of the Galgano brothers, Tom and John, is striking. Twin percussionists Greg DiMiceli (acoustic drums) and Brian Coralian (electronic drums) anchor the proceedings in the dynamically complementary way we've come to expect.
The inclusion of Gentle Giant's Gary Green on Words And Miracles and the title track is the icing on the cake. With Green's angular, bluesy style that is startlingly different from Paul Bremner's searing leads, the juxtaposition works very well and adds yet another dimension to IZZ's impressive and distinctive sound.
IZZ is one of those increasingly rare bands that manage to always raise the bar again with every new release and Crush Of Night is no exception. The writing, performing, and production work just keep improving. There really seems to be nothing that these folks can't do, and do well. Crush Of Night is surely a sonic treat and I can’t wait for Part 3!