Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Album Review: "Izo" by Izo

My daughter and I have been watching Inuyasha on Netflix and Hulu for the past six months or so.

It tells the story of youkai (improperly translated to demon in English) power struggles during the Period of Warring States in Japan.

Back then, folklore like monsters, demons, and witches were believed a lot more and have created some very interesting stories.

This is a very long running series. We have watched over one hundred thirty episodes and I think we have nearly sixty more to watch.

Inuyasha, like most serial anime, doesn't start off quickly. It's kind of like a Japanese role playing game in that we don't even even met the principal characters until several hours in. This show has taken quite awhile to warm up. It's not hard to see why many non-Japanese don't like anime.

Some of Izo
It has to be admitted that the cover art was why this album was chosen for review, but let's move on shall we?

A few years back, playing pinball in a smokey bar, a friend of mine explained that a band should get you on one song.

It should grab you.

After the first track and a half, I nearly decided to stop listening to Izo.

This album wasn't popping to me in order to be included in these pages, as I only do positive reviews, but I was really grooving along to these songs. It finally occurred after about five minutes into the first proper song that Izo is an instrumental act.

This group  has much more in common with Karma To Burn than Steve Vai though. That's what was getting through to me. The work involved in making these songs groove. Then, out of nowhere, a guitar solo as beautiful as the Lady of the Lake appeared and my attention was ensnared.

Izo certainly doesn't rely on guitar solos, but they are able to use them to maximum effect. Instead of being the time for the guitarist to shine, they take the songs to another level.

The songs are neither overly complex nor overly musical. They are just songs full of blood, sweat, and tears. They paint pictures of hard work and determination. It's almost as if this album was composed by cutting wood.

Release: 2/26/16
Genre: Stoner Metal
Label: Acid Cosmonaut Records

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