I’ve been meaning to write this for some time. Viola gave me the new Rodrigo y Gabriela album, 11:11, for my birthday last month. (DOH!) In my defense, I was given A LOT of new things to listen to all at once and it has taken me a while to digest it all. Anyhow…
I first learned about Rodrigo y Gabriela a little over a year ago after hearing their interpretation of Metallica’s “Orion” (from Master of Puppets) via Pandora. Needless to say, as a classical guitar player who loves heavy metal, I am tad envious of this duo. Each song kept me tapping my foot, bobbing my head, and my ears in musical heaven. Rodrigo y Gabriela has masterfully combined two musical styles – heavy metal and flamenco – creating a distinct musical voice.
Each song is written in the spirit of an artist who has inspired the duo, demonstrating their musical diversity. You can immediately hear how Rodrigo y Gabriela experiment on 11:11 by adding effects, layering melodies, and mixing in rhythmical textures.
The album begins with the energetic and catchy “Hanuman”, dedicated to Santana. The rhythmic and energetic intensity is felt throughout 11:11. The second track “Buster Voodoo” captures the spirit of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” with a little wah wah. The tribal-sounding “Master Maqui”, dedicated to Paco de Lucia, features a solo with Strunz and Farah (another popular guitar duo).
My favorite track is the gypsy-inspired “Atman”, dedicated to the late Dimebag Darrell (of Pantera and Damageplan), featuring Alex Skolnick from Testament. Skolnick is no stranger to Rodrigo y Gabriela having shared the stage with them making a couple of surprise appearances.
In an unexpected twist, the atmospheric “11:11”, dedicated to Pink Floyd, ends with a calm piano instead of flashy, flamenco finish.
All in all, I really enjoyed this album. If you are interested in modern flamenco with a rock flavor, then this album is definitely worth checking out. I must confess, I’ve been jamming to this album regularly as of late. I think anyone who gives this album a chance will do so as well.