Tabula Rasa, released this summer by the Italian trio Efrem Scacco, which also happens to be the name of the band’s guitarist, is perhaps nothing you’ve ever heard or at least, you haven’t heard this mixture of styles before. If you are into progressive, jazz-fusion and intricately woven metal guitar music, and might I add all of them are instrumentals, than this band is definitely for you. I’ll admit I haven’t heard anyone in recent memory playing both jazz and metal in one album, and doing it fantastically well. Dare I say, Efrem Scacco could give such musical powerhouse masters like Rush, Yes and Metallica a run for their money?
“Shy” is aptly titled because the feeling of the instruments sound shy but then it gets much livelier after the five-minute mark. “Freme” has beautifully, flawless fingering on the guitar. It’s funky, danceable and jerky with lots of energy packed inside. “Too Much Thinking” is more of a free form jazzy number that starts off slow and quiet and packs an explosive punch towards the end.
“Refusi e Rifiuti” is a head bang metal song but with a sophisticated style thrown in that is hard to describe unless you listen to it. “Paraneue” made me think of Radiohead, Primus and Rush all rolled into one. “L’Ostile Libero (lamenti)” has some crazy, cool guitar effects that I would describe as progressive metal that turns chaotic, but in a good way.
“Notterno” is the first of the last three songs that slows the tempos down. Jazzy, shuffling brush technique on the snare drum and dreamy, luscious jazz guitar tones from years ago can be heard throughout this one. “Laconico” also has the slower pace of the cool jazz sound that’s marked by energized high spots of the drums, melodic bass lines and one hell of a “singing” guitar sound that lasts for many measures - very original.
“Deltempo” starts off with a richer sound coming from each of the instruments with a lot more action during the mid-way point of the song. If you are familiar with the guitar styling of Steve Vai and others like him, than you’ll dig this ending number.
Again, all songs are instrumentals, so if you’re not into that than this album probably isn’t for you. But if you appreciate jazz, metal, progressive and all that, from a very talented trio who have command of their instruments, then look no further.
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