Review Summary: The Chimp proves he’s king of the jungle even in his early infancy.
These days Paul Antonio Ortiz aka “Chimp Spanner” is often regarded as being a rather big name in the Djent community, certainly being highly ranked for instrumental talent. His success mainly sprang to life with the release of “At the Dream’s Edge” in 2009 where it was heralded as a being a technical sprawling epic filled with complex riffs and atmospheric ambiance. However before this Paul had released another album under the moniker of “Chimp Spanner” and even if it doesn’t stand quite a tall as its elder, it certainly comes close.
All the traces of Chimp Spanner’s style are in here from the ambient synth to the frenetic guitar lines, the core Chimp Spanner sound is found all throughout this record set ablaze from the very start by the wonderfully energetic “Clarity in Chaos”. The distinguishing feature that sets Chimp Spanner above his counterparts and among the great is the implementation of structure. Rather than present an album filled with these elaborate self fulfilment tracks that just showcase the technical ability of the artist, Chimp Spanner does what a good instrumental artist should do and that’s create a song around his technical ability rather than show it off bombastically at the expense of proper structure. So as a result songs feel as though they have a sense of pace, which elevates it from a mere good instrumental album to a great one. Not only do the fast frantic riffs make for the albums high points but a few of the more subdued sections rank up there also. Sections such as the soft tapping, bass laden piece found near the middle of “Spirals”, the piano opening for “The Last Day” and the beautifully uplifting “Jacob’s Ladder”. Even with the mention of all these more subdued areas of the album, there’s still plenty of chaotic guitaring that shows a rather astounding level of musicianship and talent from Mr. Ortiz even when this is his debut album.
The key differences between this record and it’s more popular follow up is the found in the ideals and production. On “At the Dream’s Edge” there’s a real sense of multiple songs contributing together to create a singular sprawling epic that’s full of ambition, where as things differ with “Imperium Vorago”. This record follows a more standard structural method of individual songs that occasionally connect together, which in turn makes for a somewhat lesser experience as Chimp Spanner’s music suits the free flowing grandiose style more than the one found on “Imperium Vorago”. That being said however this style still suits Chimp Spanner as many of the core enjoyable factors are still here. Also as this is a debut album it was recorded in Paul’s own personal studio so everything has a cleaner and simpler sound than what is found on “At the Dream’s Edge” but this in no way detracts from the overall enjoyability as every instrument can be heard clearly in all their intricate detail.
The chimp lets out his mighty loud roar across the instrumental landscape and shows that he means business. With the technically ability that would make many jealous and the composition skills to back it up, Chimp Spanner proves to be more than his silly name would suggest by delivering a fantastic instrumental album.