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Witzend - Cosmos And Chaos

Witzend - Cosmos And ChaosI first heard of Witzend from ex-HHH journalist, John ‘Bobo’ Bollenberg back in the mid 1990’s but until now, hadn’t actually heard any of their music.  I immediately associated the name ‘Witzend’ with a TV production company, Witzend Productions, which used to (and probably still does) produce some gems of programmes for the UK and abroad.  Clearly they have absolutely no connection whatsoever, but there does happen to be other bands going by the same moniker (in Canada and the UK).  To avoid confusion and potential legal expense, Ohio based Witzend changed their name to Syzygy. 

Following the release of Syzygy’s new album, The Allegory Of Light, interest in their debut (under the Witzend name), Cosmos And Chaos, has resurfaced.

Cosmos And Chaos was released in 1993 and features the current Syzygy line-up of Carl Baldassare (guitars, mandolins, vocals), Sam Giunta (keyboards) and Paul Mihacevich (drums, percussion).

Debut albums can often be variable in content; think too hard about it and you can be writing tunes for years and still not have anything recorded, so select the best you have and get it out there.  Bands have to start somewhere and it gives folk the opportunity to hear what they are all about.  Cosmos is loaded with great tunes with performance to match though the tracks aren’t always obviously or well matched when looking at the album as a whole.  That said, there isn’t a bad track on this album, just sometimes a lack of flow between tracks.

Even at this early stage, they have developed their own sound with just a nod and subtle hint here and there to influences such as Jethro Tull, The Nice/ELP, The Who, YES, Hackett, Led Zep and no doubt a few others so subtle I wouldn’t like to hesitate a guess (well at the very least King Crimson and Gentle Giant – so shoot me!).

The general aura of this instrumental album is one of delicateness much in the same way as Eris Pluvia, but they are no strangers to the heavier (but retaining the melodic element) side to progressive rock in tracks such as Strange Loop II and Cosmos.  

Cosmos And Chaos becomes addictive after the second spin and shows the band’s potential.  Extrapolating individual tracks’ directions could result in about six quite different excellent albums and hopefully they will explore the possibility in the longer term.  Recommended.

Jem Jedrzejewski



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