N.Y.X: The News

Italian prog dudes carry the news.

TODO alt text

Since being among the first to welcome Van der Graaf in the early 70s, Italy has boasted one of the world’s most devoted prog markets, spawning many home-grown bands since the appearance of PFM and Le Orme.

The Italians are also partial to concept albums, after a band called New Trolls uncorked the country’s first epic in 1968. N.y.X carry on both traditions, grabbing prog’s essential ethos of imbuing their follow-up to 2009 debut Down In The Shadows with disparate strains, including avant-jazz, evil VdGG riffs and electronic dance grooves as they mirror 21st-century life in an edgily claustrophobic barrage, offset by light and shade dynamics. Leader Walt F Nyx’s pyrotechnic snarl is pure Hammill (if mated with wobbly voiced comedienne Hilda Baker), while the convoluted churn of The Daily Dark Delirium is a seething VdGG cataclysm clone. The track is bolstered by the teeth-gnashing squawk of guitarist Trey Gunn, one of the album’s guest stars, along with ex-Crimson Adrian Belew, who gets a stratospheric axe workout over the electro beats of A Sarcastic Portrait (Editorial, Home And Foreign). Huge, crowded and overblown, it really is an album for modern times.