SPASTIC INK – Ink Compatible

SPASTIC INK - Ink Compatible


Eclectic Electric (Independent)
Release date: March 21, 2004

Guitars: B
Bass: A
Percussion: B-
Keyboards: B
Vocals: D+
Lyrics: B+
Recording Quality: A-
Originality: A+
Overall Rating: B-

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Spastic Ink is a band from San Antonio, Texas, USA (remember the Alamo!) whose style of music can best be labeled “Technical Metal,” which involves instrument patterns played in an information processing mode – complete with bleeps, chirps, and periods of frantic speed. The band is largely the product of the creative mind of Ron Jarzombek – who has delved into other projects in the past, including a few solo efforts. Ink Compatible is the band’s follow up release to Ink Complete, which was essentially an instrumental album. Other than Jarzombek on guitars, Spastic Ink’s members include Jason McMaster handling vocals, Pete Perez on bass guitar, and Bobby Jarzombek on drums.


Jarzombek adds some nice support talent for various tracks with the likes of Jens Johansson on synthesizers and Marty Friedman on guitar, to name just a few. The recording quality and crispness of the instruments are generally very good, and there are great stereo effects. The guitar work is original and solid at times, along with the pronounced bass work … Perez definitely earns his keep on this album. The Technical Metal style, a sub-genre of the Progressive Metal sub-genre, adds a number of quirks and twists to the pronounced bass drums and power chords typically germane to conventional Metal music. There’s a touch of the early 1970’s Space Rock movement in Spastic Ink’s musical style, but the production quality of today is so much more advanced compared to back then – the band takes advantage of technology to deliver a cornucopia of sounds. Spastic Ink also is effective in staying with a technological lyrical theme, and plays on technological jargon in a somewhat humorous manner within their lyrics and song titles.


Although a host of sounds come through in this album, Spastic Ink’s name properly describes the band’s musical style to a “T.” Oftentimes, their music elicits the image of a caged gerbil on amphetamines running back and forth from its upside down water bottle to its metal exercise wheel … each song tends to shift gears often and essential musical continuity within each track often lacks. This practice basically relegates this CD to being good listening material when in a certain mood or in a focused state of mind. Much of the “enjoyment” of listening to this CD will be lost if the listener can’t pay really close attention to everything going on. It’s definitely not background or party music! The prior Spastic Ink CD was essentially an instrumental CD, but Ink Compatible has 6 out of 9 tracks with vocals, and although the lyrics are most times clever, the vocal performance by McMaster really doesn’t enhance the enjoyment of any of the songs.


Fans of alternative (peculiar) music with an aggressive edge should particularly enjoy Ink Compatible. Technical Metal is a very small sub-genre of an overall genre that seems to be getting sliced and diced more and more each day, but you’ve got to admire Jarzombek’s vision and efforts in putting together this album. Not everyone will be compelled to buy this CD, but all Metal fans should indeed respect it!


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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