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Album Review

Number three from Iz is an avant-hard rock instrumental winner. Michael Lance Serviolo (guitar), Tom Sublet (bass), and Dave Kerman (drums) re-define the rock power trio through sparse yet complex riff-based compositions, a heavy attitude, and enough clever musicianship and strange twists to prevent you from mistaking it for yet another guitar shredding project. Is E M Forever Einstein meeting Present? Or the Flying Luttenbachers in slow motion? Neither, actually, although "Hanged Man Blues" and "Etudes of Saturn/Hunting Lodge Tank" point in both (and a few more) directions. In these tracks, the trio pummel their way through cyclic patterns and mammoth riffs that could not quite be called progressive rock or heavy metal — and most certainly not prog metal. To alleviate the mood, Serviolo switches gears for a couple of noise-based experimental tracks ("Screaming Baby Cyborg," "Catatonia") and an unexpected ballad in the closer "Subterranean Boreali." Nothing is quite what it seems on E M, and fans of Kerman expecting some of the rapid-fire, quirky drumming featured in 5uu's might be disappointed at first. Then again, the music does not stray too far from some form of avant-prog, despite a touch of alternative rock; Cheval de Frise and Deerhoof also come to mind, although none of them are as heavy as Iz, nor do they have a guitarist a skillful as Serviolo. A strange, unique creature definitely worth hearing. ~ François Couture, Rovi

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