1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2009
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.
Generally, the vocals don't really add much to Spastic Ink's music, meaning newcomers would mostly be better starting with the first album Ink Compatible, though consideration should be made to the brevity of most of the lyrical sections minimising the impact the inclusion of lyrics actually has on the band. Gildenlöw fans could and probably should be influenced to prioritise this album over its predecessor as Daniel's part on the track he guests on is fairly sizeable. Marty Friedman fans (and I expect there may be some considering the purchase of this album as Ron has recently toured as Marty's rhythm/harmony guitarist/sideman) should note that there's not really enough of Marty here to overturn the superiority of the first Spastic Ink album.