Rodrigo y Gabriela
Rodrigo y Gabriela


5.0
classic

Review

by Michael Robison USER (39 Reviews)
December 11th, 2006 | 80 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


A couple weeks ago, I was looking around for something new, something fresh. I went into post rock, which was nice and a combo of some of my favorite genres, but still I thirsted for something radically different. Then I heard “Stairway to Heaven.” Not the Led Zeppelin one, and certainly not the one you taught yourself when first learning to play guitar. This was a rapid, rhythmic and furious acoustic four minute version of the song by duo Rodrigo Y Gabriela. I had found what I was looking for.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela were diligent students of the metal school of music. They were metal heads, in metal bands, in the metal scene, in…Mexico. Neither was impressed. Like me, they wanted more. So they broke from their roots, left their bands and Mexico and headed for Europe. There, they tapped into their extensive classical flamenco guitar training and played all over until they came to Ireland. They have been there since, catching the attention of former Radiohead producer, John Leckie. The result was this album, their second studio effort, Rodrigo Y Gabriela.

“Tamacun” begins with the Gabriela punching out chords while Rodrigo picks notes at a rapid pace. There is no better rhythm guitarist that I know of than Gabriela Quintero. She turns her guitar into percussion, hitting the strings with force and making everything keep moving. Rodrigo keeps the songs interesting with his acoustic noodling, but Gabriela is like both guitarist and drummer. She employs the flamenco technique of hitting her guitar, which makes the drum sounds throughout the album. It adds an almost tribal feel to songs like “Diablo Rojo.”

I am finding it hard to go into specifics with this album. “Tamacun” is a great song to dance to, if you know how to dance…I just did an Irish jig to it, which didn’t truly fit.
“Vikingman” has two parts to it. The first part is a little more traditional flamenco. Then there is some static, courtesy of Mr. Leckie, and Rodrigo Y Gabriela go insane with a dangerous and fast riffage before going to the warm and tender end. The notes Rodrigo plays at the end are just so perfect, so slow.

“Satori” is not as exciting as the previous three, because they’ve done it before. Nothing new happens in the song aside from the decent theme that Rodrigo plays. There is a cool segment where he plays some low notes. It’s cool.

I think my favorite song, closely followed by “Stairway,” would have to be “Ixtapa.” It starts with some vamping, like we’ve heard before. Gabriela’s guitar keeps chugging along as Rodrigo does what he’s been doing. Then there is a major shift. Rodrigo plays this one line over and over as Gabriela creeps up the fretboard. This gradually crescendos, getting faster and louder. And then from out of the guitars comes a violin! They bring in Roby Lakatos to play a very sweet, if short solo. Then the duo continue at their quickened pace. Roby rejoins them for the song’s conclusion. The band called “Ixtapa” their “Stairway to Heaven” I’d have to agree.

Which brings me to their cover of “Stairway to Heaven.” For the beginning, they play it as we all know, with a few derivations, nothing big. It is once they hit the solo that this turns into a whole other monster. Gabriela is able to encompass all the other band members as Rodrigo takes on Mr. Page’s solo. Then Rodrigo lets Gabriela take over with that powerful riff. It is a magical song, please, please listen to it now. It was born from their concerts, and I would love to see them do it.

I cannot say how well they did on their cover of Metallica’s “Orion,” because I do not listen to very much Metallica. It is my least favorite song on the album, it’s too long in my opinion with too much vamping. I do not know how much of that comes from being faithful to the original. But when Tenacious D said they were acoustic metal, this is what I imagined. The song gets better as it gets more aggressive, due to Gabriela’s rough riffing. A decent song, probably better for the Metallica fans, but I like the rest of the album better, aside from maybe “Satori.”

“Juan Loco” begins at lightning speed, with Rodrigo somehow managing to keep up with Gabriela. This song strikes me as a more traditional Mexican song. At least, after listening to “Stairway to Heaven” and “Orion,” this seems more traditional. I love the speed here, keeps things interesting. The end seems to be a return to acoustic metal, with what I suppose are power chords.

The final song “PPA” is alright, but not very different from what we’ve heard before. However, there is one mini section where Gabriela takes over and makes you stomp your feet as she smacks those strings. It is the highlight of the song for me.

I tried hard to find things to criticize this album for, especially after giving some albums 5’s in reviews that looking back, probably didn’t deserve them (I won’t edit however), but this is a whole new thing for me. I'll give it a 4.5 because...uh...screw it. 5. I love this damned flamenco-metal-fusion. It gets a little repetitive at times, but I don’t mind that one bit. Get this CD. Now. Please?



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user ratings (229)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (4)
From metal bands to sweet, warm acoustic guitars. Definitely something different for every listener....

Doug Zeiser (4.5)
Rodrigo Sánchez and Gabriela Quintero make up the flamenco acoustic styled band of Rodrigo y Gabrie...

scpttrerulz (4)
A musical gem.......

related reviews

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Syncratic
December 11th 2006


756 Comments


Wow...fantastic review...I loved the first couple of paragraphs.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 11th 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah good review. I'm downloading this now.

Otisbum
December 11th 2006


1912 Comments


Great review, I'm getting this soon. Their cover of Orion is awesome.
These guys make me want to learn how to play flamenco-style.

The Sludge
December 11th 2006


2169 Comments


Ok, I'm going to be getting this as well. I loved the music I heard from the listening party. Good review.

Two-Headed Boy
December 11th 2006


4527 Comments


This sounds awesome, even for someone as musically spineless as myself. Might listen.

Good review, m'man.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
December 11th 2006


3768 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Finally, a review of this - it's been a long time coming. I was actually JUST listening to this album, in preparation for perhaps a review, albeit different from yours. Good review, though I disagree with the rating - I think people get too caught up and dazzled by the flamenco, just something they haven't heard before, as well as by the 'metal' side of it. This Message Edited On 12.11.06

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

ohcleverhansyou
December 11th 2006


885 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

What didn't you like in it Streetlight? I seriously looked for something wrong, it was just too much awesome for me. And writing "AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME" for a review isn't all that high brow...

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
December 11th 2006


3768 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's not that I don't like it. It's a great album, and i've given it that - catchy, percussive, just fun listening, but RyG play this form of pop-flamenco that just doesn't sit well with me. It's hard to explain, but if you listen to guys like Paco Pena and Paco De Lucia, this just seems to lose alot of it's initial charm.

ohcleverhansyou
December 11th 2006


885 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Haha alright, I was just on a flamenco binge on Pandora this weekend, trying to get into the genre some more.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
December 11th 2006


3768 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pandora is awesome 8) Tell you what though, if you want to be blown away by acoustic guitar, though it's not quite flamenco, check out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friday_Night_in_San_Francisco

Seriously. You'll drop dead.This Message Edited On 12.11.06

metallicaman8
December 11th 2006


4677 Comments


Tamacun>>>Jesus.

Nice review.This Message Edited On 12.11.06

Angmar
December 11th 2006


2689 Comments


I NEED THIS!!! great review

happybegood
December 11th 2006


65 Comments


I'm considering getting this.

Hatshepsut
December 11th 2006


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i NEED this. These two are insane.

ohcleverhansyou
December 11th 2006


885 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Wow, a lot of people hunger for this. It is really really good, especially for someone who doesn't focus on vocals as much as maybe I should. No words, no problem. Completely changed my walk to class listening to this.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 11th 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Got the album, only listened to Stairway so far, which was really good.

Angmar
December 11th 2006


2689 Comments


ill dload one song over night but I have dial up so i makes it impossible to get whole albums. If I like the song I'll buy the album simple as that.

UrbanM11
December 11th 2006


117 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

amazing album, and a pretty awsome review as well

Tyler
Emeritus
December 11th 2006


7926 Comments


I prefer their live release.

ohcleverhansyou
December 12th 2006


885 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is a pretty good crossover album, I had never listened to this for any extended period of time before either. Cocaine, I can only imagine what they'd be like live.



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