IZŌ are an Italian instrumental Sludge/Stoner/Doom Metal Band who offers something very familiar and also something very different with their music. Their self-titled debut album sees the band create different moods with each individual song. The music can be very trippy in places as their album keeps you entertained through out the thirty five minute run time.
Opening track – IZŌ (Intro) – is a short affair with the band creating ambient noises and stylish riffs before an angry Japanese soundclip comes into play. The riffs have a distorted feedback vibe to them before the song ends and the next track appears…
Second track – We Are What We Are – offers full-on instrumental psychedelic sludge/stoner rock to get your teeth stuck into. It has quite a doomy feel to it as the band play at a fast pace. IZŌ create heavy pounding riffs with powerful drums to match. The drumming is perhaps one of the best things about the album as drummer – Luca – creates a vortex of noise around you. The psych riffs hold you prisoner against your will. Why would you want to escape when the music is good as this? The final part of the song moves into Pelican style territory but IZŌ manage to keep the mood under control.
Third track – Hikikomori – opens with a more sombre psych post-rock feel with a solitary guitar playing gentile notes before IZŌ return to the doomier sound of the previous track. IZŌ offer a sense of hope at times before the gloomy atmospherics appear sees IZŌ create heavier sludge based sounds. I can detect a slight Ufomammut vibe at times especially with the swirling psych noises in the background. There’s a cool almost jazz/progressive riff towards the song that’s mixed with some superb spaced out noises. Put all these things together and it all builds up to one epic loud finish.
Fourth track – Kikusai – is perhaps the standout song on the album. It starts off very slowly with IZŌ playing delicate slow-paced riffs with a touch of atmospheric doom lurking in the background. It’s the small things that grab your attention the most. Intricate noises and sounds take your attention away from the riffs and make you focus on other things. This is quite a clever and intelligent song as IZŌ play tricks on the listener. It’s very hard to describe but it feels there are two or three different songs going at the same time. When the band return to the heavier riffs everything comes together and all the spaced out noises you heard at the start are now part of the song. You’ll understand more when you hear the song.
Fifth track – EuTONEsia – is more of a post-metal song and the band once again excel at changing the mood of the album once again. Slowly played Post-Rock sounds turn into heavier sludge/post-metal grooves with the pounding drums providing superb support once more.
The final song – MudMut (Outro) is a more straight-forward Sludge/Stoner Metal song as IZŌ leave the spaced out theatrics behind. It’s a wise decision as your attention is purely on the band itself. There are no trippy noises to confuse you with, just good old fashioned Sludge/Stoner Metal riffs for you to rock out to.
IZŌ’s S/T debut album is a stunning record and it sounds incredible from start to finish. This is an album that could see IZŌ become firm favourites within the Instrumental Sludge/Stoner Metal scene.
Words by Steve Howe
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