Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Being "metal" doesn't necessarily have much to do with the actual music. So, although plucking acoustic guitars may seem to have little in common with, say, Judas Priest, classical shredders Rodrigo y Gabriela should be considered totally metal.
It's about street cred. Lead guitarist Rodrigo Sanchez and power strummer Gabriela Quintero honed their chops in Mexico City's thrash-metal scene before turning to acoustic Spanish axes. Unlike 2006's self-titled breakout album, there's no Metallica cover among these 11 worldly originals. The songs were inspired by artists ranging from Dimebag Darrell to Argentine tango nuevo guru Astor Piazzolla. Melodies are attacked aggressively, even if they aren't always super-memorable. Producer Colin Richardson (Slipknot, Cannibal Corpse) emphasizes the clarity of Sanchez's finger-burning quests and Quintero's urgent percussive technique. Box drum, piano, even sitar provide mortar between the duo's inventive acoustic bricks.
Testament's Alex Skolnick brandishes a guest electric guitar during "Atman." And "Buster Voodoo" pays tribute to Jimi Hendrix. But while the duo hasn't forgotten its past -- "Logos" feels like the elegant intro to a metal epic that never reaches its stomp-box eruption -- other tracks may sort of remind you of Ottmar Liebert on a Red Bull bender. In other words, if you weren't told that Rodrigo y Gabriela are metal, you might not ever realize it. Good thing you read this.
Rodrigo y Gabriela perform at Rams Head Live on Oct. 24.
-- Michael Deeds
DOWNLOAD THESE: "Triveni," "Logos," "Hora Zero"