Rodrigo y Gabriela - 11:11

2009-09-09 | |

Heavy metal and the Spanish classical style of playing rarely mix. I don't think I can name another band who actually play anything near to this style. Rodrigo y Gabriela, on the other hand, are at the forefront of what they do. And what they do - they do very well indeed. Monday saw the release of their third studio album, and their first non-live release since their eponymous album shot them onto many of our radars three years ago.

Rodrigo y Gabriela, the Mexican duo living in Dublin, are still stuck on their instrumental trail with the release of 11:11. The track-names are based around the imagery of the cosmos, in a more religious than scientific sense. Logos - the source of the Universe; Savitri - a Hindu Sun God; Atman - the soul, in Hindu religion.

Though it lacks in the vocalisation to add infinitely to the meaning behind the names of the tracks, it does create a sense of order within organised chaos. Take the track Hora Zero, in which there almost seems to be a fight for supremacy going on between the two guitars, but, then they fuse back into oneness, and the song becomes a harmonic journey that just shows off the skill of the duo.

Most of the songs rarely stray from their usual style, seen numerous times on Foc or Rodrigo y Gabriela, of classical guitars playing in a fast, flamenco-style. Even the songs where they have special guests, like Alex Skolnick (formerly of Testament) or Strunz and Farah, didn't actually sound much different to what they usually put out - sure, Skolknick's guitar is noticeable in the last 2 minutes of Atman, but, beyond that, I wouldn't have questioned the album had these 'guests' not appeared.

I suppose, as a fan of world music, I find it easy to get into this sort of stuff. I find it enjoyable to just sit back and let the music wash over me, in a way which only world music can. However, I always seem to find that Rodrigo y Gabriela have something a little bit more welcoming in their music than, say, Kenyan benga, or the Bedouin tishoumaren style. They have such a way with their instruments, something unseen in British society in particular, that even those who aren't interested in flamenco or world music are drawn like moths to a very talented flame. And that's all you need to succeed in this world - talent, which this pair have by the barrel-load.

Overall: 8/10 - It's a repetition of a style they've become very pigeonholed into. While I think it's good, I'd like to see more from them.

Top Track - Hora Zero

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