Leon : I’m not a fan of instrumental metal, especially not when it concerns guitarists because I usually find that they (ab)use instrumental (solo) albums to show their capabilities as a musician and not as a composer. You get how excited I was when I received ‘Rotation’ from Marc Rizzo for a review. The name didn’t ring a bell but the man is definitely a big name in the industry, he plays guitars in Soulfly and has played in Ill Niño! In the past I have very much enjoyed listening to these both bands. Besides his more famous work he has also released three solo albums, ‘Colossal Myopia’ is from 2004, ‘The Ultimate Devotion’ is from 2006, and ‘Legionnaire’ was released in 2010. Eight years have passed and now the man is releasing solo album number four, ‘Rotation’.
Instrumental isn’t my cup of tea, but ‘Rotation’ isn’t your standard instrumental album. I expect that Rizzo uses his solo album as a way to exhaust all of his creative guitar skills, with bands such as Soulfly or Ill Niño he can/could only use a small portion of his talent. But what makes this album great is the fact that Rizzo doesn’t end up playing endless solo’s without any disregard of the song. He actually writes a really decent song and finishes it with some lead guitar and solo’s, completely in service of the song. What I also like is that the man has stepped a little bit off the gas when compared to his previous albums, there is now a clearer structure in the songs and the songs feel a bit more like, well, songs. Overall I think that the musicians perform better on this album as well, especially drummer Anthony Devizio does a great job, but also bass guitarist Elo Hernandez and guitarist Derrick Klybash are spot on. Maybe the biggest improvement is the mix, because my god, ‘Rotation’ sounds absolutely fantastic! Producer Chris “Zuess” Harris (Hatebreed, Souldfly) has absolutely show to be an added value there.
If you can entertain a instrumental sceptic for forty-four minutes, with an instrumental metal album, you must be doing something right. Listen to a song like ‘Spectral Intensities’. Man, there are some epic moments in that song! I must admit that I would be really curious to an album like this with vocals, I really think that would be a great album. We’ll have to do with this album though, but not to worry as it’s a really nice one! Job well done.