Chimp Spanner
All Roads Lead Here


4.0
excellent

Review

by Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF
March 1st, 2012 | 11 replies | 6,985 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: In a climate saturated with artists boasting progressive metal chops, Paul Antonio Ortiz asserts himself as a leading man and publishes a lesson for the newcomers.

Technical metal bands are a dime a dozen these days. It just isn't hard to find a talented guitarist who can jump around the fretboard at lightspeed anymore - as a matter of fact, that annoying neighbor kid who always bothers you with his overt "apathy" is probably hammering away at his custom 8-string fretboard as you read this. But what separates those newcomers who can play scale after scale and Paul Antonio Ortiz, better known as Chimp Spanner is this: those kids (better known as seventy percent of newcomer technical metal groups) can't write an original, interesting song to save their lives, while Ortiz puts a great deal of thought and time into the creative process, successfully resulting in an engaging and dynamically interesting record.

For those unfamiliar with Chimp Spanner, All Roads Lead Here, Ortiz's third release under the moniker, continues in a tradition of bright guitar leads, keyboards, and electronics focused around down-tuned polyrhythmic riffing and layered to create an atmospheric, science-fiction-y effect. If that sounds a bit too complex, think of it this way: take a sci-fi TV series opening theme, metal it up, speed it up to at least two or three times its original pace, and overlay some fast, intricate fretwork at a similar, but brighter tone of distortion. Take that concoction, chop it up, and space it out with some drawn out, atmospheric variations on that theme that focus on keyboards and synthesizers making those especially spacey sounds and drop the guitars into a deeper, more relaxed lounge sound as they continue to guide the flow of the sound. That, in a nutshell is the sound of Chimp Spanner.

And for the most part, All Roads Lead Here isn't too far off from 2009's At the Dream's Edge stylistically. Both can be described as above, with minor variations, though At the Dream's Edge focused more on the melodious aspects of Chimp Spanner's sound - the lead guitars and synthesizers - while All Roads Lead Here sees Ortiz taking a more polarizing approach to the project. Tracks like "Dark Age of Technology" and "Cloud City" put more of a focus on these same melodious aspects, while the trilogy of "MÓ§bius" songs take Chimp Spanner to a darker, more atmospheric place by focusing more on the distorted chugs and the resonating chords of the keyboard in the background layer of each track.

Pulling the two slightly different sounds together seems an effortless task for Ortiz, allowing the EP to flow easily from one passage to another with style and grace. Perhaps more importantly, though, the transitions from passage to passage come across as interesting and stylistically important. Essentially, it's clearly visible that Paul's creativity and attention to detail pay off where others would simply slap together riffs, cross their fingers, and slack off.

And in the end, that's how All Roads Lead Here comes off: as a brief lesson in style, care, and work-ethic to genre newcomers. Of course that's all just subtext to the headline that, if nothing else, Chimp Spanner is still alive and having fun playing around with his sound to the listener's satisfaction.



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user ratings (102)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2012



1978 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Alternative summary:

"Dear Tosin Abasi,

In your face.

Love,

Paul Antonio Ortiz"

Digging: Rx Bandits - Gemini, Her Majesty

seedofnothing
March 1st 2012



3425 Comments


Good Review.

TBliss2
March 1st 2012



504 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cool review, pos.

sexpoi
March 1st 2012



599 Comments


Good review, but I still enjoyed At the Dream's Edge the best

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2012



1978 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I think I like At the Dream's Edge best, too. But this is a little heavier, so it'll appeal to the people who like that kind of sound a bit more.

CrazyFool84
March 15th 2012



1080 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pos'd for covering a Chimp Spanner EP

crowing51
March 27th 2012



3446 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Mobius 3 an Cloud City are the best tracks on here.

J0ckstrapsFTW
June 9th 2012



3652 Comments


This is pretty sexy

NeoSpaz
March 14th 2013



4517 Comments


Been meaning to check this out for a while, damn

RenegaDrifter
August 16th 2013



175 Comments


sadly, meh at best for me

Calc
December 4th 2013



11942 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the last minute of Mobius III through some good headphones is a headbanger's delight.

Digging: Kashiwa Daisuke - April. #02



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