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.