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When listening to one of guitar virtuoso Ron Jarzombek's more recent projects- Blotted Science's 'The Machinations Of Dementia'- I could not have been more blown away by the sheer technical ferocity of the man's vision and composition. As much a brilliant mathematician as he is a guitarist, Jarzombek has impressed me with everything I've heard of his, and Spastic Ink's debut has been no exception to that. Although not a entirely emotive piece of work, 'Ink Complete' is a musician's dream listening experience, and should see fit to stretch lobes of even a Calculus major.
The first thing I notice with the music of Spastic Ink is that it is a fair bit less heavy that what I've heard of Jarzombek's work before; the album is worked through by lead guitar, bass, and drums. Occasionally, the electric guitar will be overdubbed a few times for harmonies and added rhythms, but for what turns out to be incredibly complex music, it is surprising that there are only three instruments and musicians at work here. Of course, my reason for going into this was to hear some more of Ron Jarzombek's work, and its clear he does take the spotlight here in most cases. Whether he is making intensely mathematical chugging riffs, shredding or doing thoughtful and melodic leads, the music of 'Ink Complete' draws around virtually whatever he does, with the other two musicians taking more of a support role. Bassist Pete Perez and drummer Bobby Jarzombek are both worthy of praise however. Bobby nicely compliments the constantly changing time signatures by adding plenty of fills and intricacy that makes his performance here much more than for the sake of merely keeping time. Pete Perez is the least remarkable member here, feeling as if he is often overshadowed by the wizardry of Ron and Bobby. His skill is evident in the moments he is really able to let loose with his playing.
It does feel as if Spastic Ink would be a much more enjoyable project if it was somewhat more band-oriented as opposed to being so highly guitar driven. Also, what Spastic Ink makes up in their technical and compositional wizardry here, they do lose in emotional appeal. Although one can listen to this album and see it has being a technical masterpiece by all accounts (as virtually everything Ron Jarzombek has done turns out to be) but there are only a few scarce moments in the album that really caught my feelings. Chief among these would be the second track 'A Morning With Squeakie', which is relatively quite melodic and upbeat. The real crown here however goes to 'The Wild Hare', which is a playful masterpiece both in composition and instrumental feeling.
An excellent album, and while Jarzombek has clearly done better, 'Ink Complete' is a wonderful piece of technical progressive metal.