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Ink Compatible [Import]

Spastic Ink Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (29 Jun 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Marquee Japan
  • ASIN: B0001N1N8E
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,376,529 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spastic Ink - Now with 66% vocal tracks! 9 Sep 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
What I didn't realise when I ordered this CD recently is that this 2004 folloy up to the 1996(?) first album of Ron Jarzombeck's vehicle Spastic Ink is that there are now vocals in the band.

As ever, R. Jarzombeck (Watchtower) and his rhythm section(s) exhibit frightening technical ability with rocket-science-like precision as they hurtle through rapid-changing tricky passages that you won't be able to hum unless you spend a lot of time practicing. That element of Ron/Spastic Ink's music hasn't changed remotely since Ink Complete.

What has changed is that just over half the tracks are now decorated by vocalist Jason McMaster. Generally McMaster dwells in a slightly gruff but more melodic than death-metal sort of region with his singing, reminiscent of the likes of Dave Mustaine or Peter Marrino (once vocalist for Cacophony), both of whom happen to be collaborators of guest guitarist Marty Friedman who makes a fleeting appearance that seems likely to be purely for sales purposes. McMaster does however briefly stray close to a death-metal style growl toward the end of "A Chaotic Realisation of Nothing Yet Misunderstood". One other track "Melissa's Friend" features Pain of Salvation's Daniel Gildenlöw on vocals, in place of McMaster, who delivers one of his most Mike Patton-esque performances to fit the challenging music.

Apart from 'sung' vocals, there's also a generous portion of spoken word snippets mostly intended to be humourous and succeeding somewhat in that goal, though ultimately the inclusion of these spoken word parts shouldn't majorly influence a listener's decision whether to purchase this album or not.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CD,Ink Compatible-Spastic Ink. 10 Aug 2009
Format:Audio CD
Considering it had to come from USA it did'nt take long atall to reach me
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Technical Prog Metal/Pseudo Watchtower Reunion. 3 Mar 2005
By Mattowarrior - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Ron Jarzombek is an amazing guitarist. The only peers I see for him are Michael Romeo and John Petrucci. This shows the talents of all involved, including a guest appearance by Marty Friedman and keyboard legend Jens Johannsen (formerly Yngwie Malmsteen/Silver Mountain, etc).

The concept album features some really funny clips of a redneck's struggles with his computer, as it is a concept album about computers and the internet. The songs range from Neoclassical shred insanity, to Zappa and Watchtower type melodies. Jason McMaster (formerly of Watchtower also) outdoes himself on this as well. His vocals are a bit rougher this time around and have lost none of its power, but the high shrieking (which was far worse with Alan Tecchio in my opinion) is kept to a minimum. The music is insane, technical metal from another dimension. My band plays a Dream Theater cover, but if they wanted me to learn some of this stuff, I would throw down my guitar for good! Hopefully the Watchtower reunion will happen and these guys get the acclaim they deserve. Technical Metal is still in its infancy, and I can see many innovations to come considering the scope of this genre. Highly recommended.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Technical metal for the kid in all of us... 23 Dec 2005
By Boris Kaplun - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The first thing to note about this recording is the rather impressive list of guest contributors. On vocals - Jason McMaster of Watchtower, Daniel Gildenlow of Pain of Salvation; on guitars - Marty Friedman of Megadeth; on keyboards - Jens Johansson of Stratovarius, Jimmy Pitts of Scholomance, David Bagsby of Xen; on bass - Michael Manring of Attention Deficit (god), Sean Malone of Cynic (demi-god), Doug Keyser of Watchtower, Ray Riendeau of Rob Halford; on drums - Jeff Eber of Dysrhythmia, David Penna of Sys-X.

Wow. Ron Jarzombek sure knows how to make friends in the right places (the guy has also played with Hate Eternal drummer Derek Roddy, Behold... the Arctopus drummer Charlie Zeleny, Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler, and others)... not to mention the base lineup of brother and percussion wizard Bobby Jarzombek on drums and Riot's Pete Perez on bass. With musicians like these at your disposal, it's possible to create just about anything imaginable. Ron, being the prolific madman that he is, has chosen to create a whacked out novelty trip through the world of instrumental absurdity.

Ridiculous things start happening from the very start, as "Aquanet" comes in with the horribly familiar staticy beeps and bloops of a dial-up modem connecting to an ISP. Only, that isn't some kind of sample you're hearing, it's Ron actually recreating the sounds of a dial-up modem with his guitars. I'm afraid I will never know how he accomplished this. Bizarre. The song then breaks into the kind of non-stop guitar abstractions that you will be subjected to throughout the remainder of the album. Everything is a lead, though occasionally a Watchtower-esque thrash riff will pop its head into the fray. At some point towards the middle of the song, Jens Johansson comes in with a keyboard lead before bowing out to a funky bass solo from Pete Perez, which gives way once again to Ron's ego. Just kidding. The great thing about Ron is that his leads and solos are totally off the wall, goofy, and whacky... and you will NEVER get tired of them. This is nothing like listening to John Petrucci leave the remainder of his band in the dust for five minutes. This is more like listening to Ron Thal and Electrocution 250's Todd Duane trading rhythmically labyrinthine leads back and forth while being filtered through a Disney cartoon and backed by frenetic drum acrobatics and utterly solid bass heroics - and I don't mean the kind of thing you hear with Spiral Architect, where the band wanders around like aimless sheep while the bassist performs advanced finger exercises for the entirety of the song. There is some serious synergy going on with these guys. It's unrivaled. Anyway, the song draws to a close with a sample of an answering machine repeating "If you'd like to make a call, please hang up and try again. If you need help, please hang up and dial your operator" in an increasingly annoyed and agitated tone of voice. On top of this, Bobby Jarzombek goes crazy on his kit with absurd footwork and lightning fast fills.

"Just A Little Bit" is more of the same. Nothing too special.

Then comes "Words for Nerds". Ink Compatible is actually a sort of humorous concept album about the perils of computers and the clueless users who succumb to them. The concept is revealed initially at the introduction of this song, where we hear a clip of a guy reading about jiggawatt hard drivers, LSD monitors, and EMBEES of memory before realizing that he's reading about a computer. It then breaks into a whacky instrumental segment which goes through more changes than I can count in the span of about one minute before culminating in a brief but decidedly evil sounding lead from Ron. Another pause, and now we're treated to a clip of a female shopping around for a word processor with very specific requirements. This rolls right into a gorgeous extended bass solo from Michael Manring - outstanding performance, by the way - which goes on for approximately a full minute before dropping out into yet another spoken segment. This time it's some guy attempting to futilely enter a URL into a web browser. Before you have a chance to get your bearings, the band comes back in with a twisted keyboard medley that sounds like Sesame Street wrung through The Twilight Zone, and then bam - another break. A guy talking about backing up fixed hard drives and reconfiguring his dot matrix, and then the guys finally come back in for good with some goofy melodies to bring the song to a quiet end.

"Melissa's Friend" is up next, and it starts off once again with a guy complaining about his computer... something about critters crawling all over his files. Ron comes in with a truly malicious sounding tapped lead, and eventually we get to hear Daniel Gildenlow sing about computer viruses with the full emphatic power of his mega-dramatic vocals. He holds nothing back.

"Read Me" isn't anything terribly exciting. An instrumental that starts off with some almost neo-classical shredding harmonized with what sounds like a toy piano. Goes on into more extended solo'ing from Ron. There's some whacky stuff going on towards the end of this song, with upbeat major key melodies simultaneously juxtaposed against wild shredding, thrash riffing, spooky keyboard lines that sound like something out of Ghostbusters, and various other strange guitar noises. Ends abruptly and moves into...

"Multi-Masking". The intro to this song is comprised of vocals that were recorded backwards. I read on RJ's forum at one point that this portion needs to be played in reverse in order to get the actual lyrics, and he even mentioned what the lyrics were, but I forget. That moves into a brief medley of what sounds like a MOOG synthesizer mixed with xylophone, and then the band comes in with the usual. Some wonderful guitar and bass interplay towards the middle of this song, and another neat keyboard lead from Jens. There's another bass solo floating around in there as well. Following up is "In Memory Of...", which is the most laid back track on here. It starts off a bit slow, but picks up towards the middle with monster bass work from Sean Malone and a very fusion-y feel.

At twelve minutes and twelve seconds, "A Chaotic Realization of Nothing Yet Misunderstood (or ACRONYM)" is the next and longest track to be found here. Dysrhythmia's Jeff Eber is behind the drumkit on this one, and he holds it down well. Ron Jarzombek is probably at his most frenetic here... simply all over the place.

The album comes to an end with "The Cereal Mouse", which is a little over a minute long and is a very fun thing. It's like a shred lullaby with cartoon synths. This is the kind of stuff that makes Ron Jarzombek so wonderful.

The weak point of this album can be condensed into two words - Jason McMaster. I didn't really like him in Watchtower, and I don't like him here either. In fact, he sounds noticeably worse; his voice cracked and strained. Nothing unbearable, just not particularly enjoyable. Also, the spoken segments found in several of the tracks here can get old after a while.

Aside from that, this is quality technical metal that doesn't take itself too seriously and is very fun to listen to. My highest praises to RJ.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Chaotic Realization of Nothing Yet Misunderstood 7 Feb 2005
By Murat Batmaz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Ink Compatible is the second Spastic Ink release and it differs from the debut in some significant aspects. First of all, unlike the first disc, this one is not all instrumental. Watchtower singer Jason McCaster sings on five tracks and Pain of Salvation vocalist Daniel Gildenlow also appears on one song as a guest. In addition, besides the core members, there are several other guest contributors to this disc. They range from Jens Johansson on keys to Sean Malone and Michael Manring on bass to Jeff Eber and David Penna on drums, and to Marty Friedman on guitars, just to name a few.

The music being written entirely by Ron Jarzombek and with Jason McMaster lending his vocals to more than half of the songs, it is quite safe to say that some of the heaviness of Watchtower is carried over to this album. Ron's second solo album, Solitarily Speaking of Theoretical Confinement, also seems to have had an impact on this release. McMaster's vocals may take a little time to adjust to if you expect to hear the vocal stylings of bands like Zero Hour and Spiral Architect. I've never been a great fan of McMaster's voice, but it gets better every time I listen to it and he does a fairly good job overall. The first track, "Aquanet", exemplifies his tough delivery but it gradually becomes euphonious in the following songs. Speaking of "Aquanet", this is a very interesting piece as it begins with the sound of a modem connecting, and this is not some kind of sample or anything, but actually played by Ron on guitars. Jens Johansson plays a frenzied synth solo in the middle part before Ron goes back to his whacky guitar shredding.

"Words for Nerds" reveals the main theme of Ink Compatible. Throughout the album, Ron explores humanity's interaction with computers and technology. One little complaint, not just for this particular tune but all of them in general, is that there are some spoken segments on some tracks (usually by a woman and a man respectively), and while they seem interesting first, after months of listening to this disc, it seems the segments Ron sandwiched right in the middle of the tunes may seem a bit out of place, especially when they tend to pop out during contrasting key and guitar solos. They do serve their purpose right when they are introduced in the beginning and ending of the songs though. The apex of the song is when Attention Deficit bassist Michael Manring honours this disc with a killer fretless bass solo. What a jawdropping performance indeed. "Melissa's Friend" is one of my favourite songs on the album; it features Daniel Gildenlow on vocals (Ron should have done the entire disc with him!) and Daniel literally graces this tune with a stunning vocal delivery similar to his singing on the One Hour by the Concrete Lake disc. It's a song about computer viruses where Daniel utters a number of virus names, if I'm not mistaken. Riot's Pete Perez plays funky bass figures engulfed in brief acoustic guitars that greatly contrast Ron's frenzied lead guitar work. Note the drumming here (listen to it with headphones) -- perhaps the best drumming on this disc.

"Multi-Masking" is another interesting track (with Jason McMaster back on vocals) that should be noted. It begins with an indiscernible vocal intro before Ron goes into fusion territory. I read that the intro was recorded backwards on purpose and if you play it in reverse order you can hear the clear lyrics. I don't have the means to hear them in that order, but I know Ron posted a link to the song a while back on his website. Jens Johansson once again lays down a quick synth solo before he disappears suddenly. "In Memory of..." has Sean Malone on bass and the second the song kicks in you'll notice this song is much more toned down than the earlier tracks and is trademarked by Malone's unique touch. It was planned to use more of Malone's playing on the disc, but unfortunately things didn't work out. More fusion-jazz lines are employed thanks to Sean Malone's killer fretless bass and an added acoustic guitar melody. The tone, choice of notes and overall sound of this song bring Gordian Knot to mind which is Sean Malone's solo project with tons of guest musicians. The 12-minute tech-metal epic "ACRONYM" delves into a heavy, aggressive and scary musical platform and features Marty Freedman playing a cerebral guitar solo. Dysrhytmia drummer Jeff Eber works the drums with ferocity and accuracy, whilst Ron Jarzombek cuts it totally loose on his electric guitar. This is perhaps the heaviest Ink song of them all. This album certainly isn't for everyone, and even some tech-metal fans, but it certainly accomplishes its goals offering meticulous musicianship, though you may find yourself wondering what's going on in the music, and even why, during some moments.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Very good, but.... 12 Jan 2005
By Hanzo Hattori - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It's true this is a crazy technical masterpiece that puts just about everything else to total shame... makes DT sound like AC/DC.. .. Yes I do like some dt stuff too not bashing them in any way. But.. what isn't on the site is the earlier album from 1997 Ink Complete. Check out [...] for details.. and Ron Jarzombek the awesome guitarist on this album, is also on the older one Complete, and was in a little band called Watchtower you may not have heard of.. Check out Control and Resistance by Watchtower for sure if you think DT was a band that influenced this album lol.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prog Metal Bliss 21 July 2004
By B. Bowes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This progressive music is quiet possible the most complicated and moving pieces of music ever to come out of this genre of music. This CD encapsulates what every prog band has always wanted to be ? even puts some of Dream Theaters most complicated music to shame. And just so you know, that was not an east statement to write.

Anyone who enjoys complicated and/or heavy music MUST have this CD. Do whatever you can to buy this CD, it has changed the way I look at prog music and has become my new reference to what all other prog bands should produce. I've just never heard such flow, such synchronization, and great balance of imagination and character in one band. DT, Rush, and Yes must be proud to have paved the way to such awesome music like this.
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