IZM IZM demo cassette

IZM, a four-piece out of Los Angeles, does the whole “punk band plus a synth” thing that I tend to rail against here in my reviews. To reiterate, my position is not that punk bands can’t have synths, it’s that if you have one, it’s way too easy to fuck things up, so to be safe, it’s best to avoid them altogether. The most common mistakes with these outfits are that they opt for some squiggly-ass timbre, making the act sound too jokey, or they put the synth too far forward in the mix, drowning out the rest of the band—often it’s both. But I’m happy to report that IZM commits neither crime. These fellas play grimy, knife-fight hardcore punk—not generally where you’d expect to encounter a synth! Thankfully, it’s buried in the mix, really playing more of a supporting role, and the cheap (but not too cheap!) haunted-house tone they use actually adds some menace to the record. I think I still would have dug these tracks had they been synth-free, but I’m pretty sure they would have been less memorable. Solid work!