Album Review: Rodrigo y Gabriela’s 11:11

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.

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