Recently, an alarming number of rock and metal journalists-and countless fans whom are far less finicky-have bemoaned the lack of original and innovative music to be found nowadays. That complaint holds a good amount of truth for one depressingly simple reason...there's no money (and in turn, longevity) to be had by bands who try to create something entirely new. People like what is familiar to them, perhaps with a unique twist to it, but predictably comfortable and non-threatening all the same. Doing all it can to put some ingenuity back in music, Spastic Ink deserves a significant amount of recognition the likes of which it'll probably never receive for reasons mentioned above.

Bandleader Ron Jarzombek holds near-legendary status to some as the guitarist of the much-lamented group WatchTower, a long-absent band which set the standards for technicality within metal. Joining him in this instrumental foray are brother Bobby Jarzombek and bassist Pete Perez, both of whom are members of Riot and both of whom shine on levels that rival WatchTower standards. Although instrumental records from proficient players are often about as appealing as the hastily forgotten Lemmy spread in Playgirl, Ron stands stands out above all of them, less an over-practiced virtuosos than a craftsman - turned - mathematician. His style is not what could be called fluid, constantly shifting and leaping sideways towards a new thread, as if one had taken the glass image of a song and shattered it, fusing it back together in a seemless manner that's now unpredictable and daring.

One needs only to look at a few of the band's demented songs for proof of Spastic Ink's myriad of differences. Witness "See, And It's Sharp!" which consists entirely of two notes (C and C#) played over a six-range octave, or "A Wild Hare", an insane venture chronicling the actions of Thumper the rabbit from the movie Bambi-each voice, sound effect and background scoring note has been painstakingly transcribed to guitar, bass and drums from each scene the critter appears in. It sounds crazy, and it is, but that's part of the band's demented appeal.

Of course, it should be obvious that this isn't music for everyone, and will probably strike even disciples of Vai or Rozz (as in Rick, known to millions as the whamy-bar czar) as too much to take. Being inventive has it's drawbacks, lack of wide-spread appeal being one of them. For those others, this band will knock you straight on your ass. Considering how infrequently that occurs nowadays to writers who think they've heard it all (and say they've heard it all done better), you tend to forget how fun the whole experience can be. A must-hear for any who have read this far.

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