Ron Jarzombek - PHHHP!
Review by Scott Andrews, Eclectic Earwig Reviews
Phhhp! is a collection of songs from Ron Jarzombek, the guitarist for Watchtower in the late 80s and the brilliant mind behind Spastic Ink, an instrumental technical metal project that is arguably the most progressive metal record ever made. Ink Complete featured technical instrumental songs, written around a specific theme or music theory idea, that also grooved with feeling and did not bore from lack of vocals - two common problems with most other instrumental guitar music. Phhhp! is similar in style, a series of songs written over a longer period before Ink, and demo-ed by Jarzombek on a 4 track recorder with a drum machine. He overdubbed additional parts and cleaned up the sound to produce a record showcasing the early seeds of the crazy sounding but precisely composed Spastic Ink style.
Jarzombek is heavily influenced by musical film scores, and often tells a story with his instrumental metal. As with Ink, each song has a specific inspiration or storyline, which is detailed in the liner notes. He also has a wacky sense of humor. Both are featured in the ten minute opus "Ants on My Windshield," which tells the story of a guy returning from a date who is eaten alive by the colony of ants living on the roof of his car. The music is so descriptive that you can feel the ants crawling over his skin in the winding shrill melodies.
It is rare in rock and metal that a musician excels at both playing and songwriting. Jarzombek's vision as a composer is brilliant, and he has the very impressive chops required to communicate his writing vision. If you like instrumental guitar with high doses of clever composition and humor, go straight to the master, Ron Jarzombek.
Scott Andrews, Eclectic Earwig Reviews