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Spastic Ink

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Spastic Ink Ink Compatible album cover
3.95 | 82 ratings | 16 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Just a little bit (4:45)
2. AquaNet (8:10)
3. Words for nerds (5:20)
4. Melissa's friend (6:55)
5. Multi-masking (8:15)
6. Read me (5:00)
7. In memory of ... (6:30)
8. A chaotic realization of nothing yet misundestood (11:55)
9. The cereal mouse (1:30)

Total Time: 58:20

Bonus track on 2004 Japan CD :
10. A Quick Affix (4:40)

Line-up / Musicians

- Jason McMaster / vocals (1,2,6-8)
- Ron Jarzombek / guitar, programming, production & mixing
- Pete Perez / bass (1,2,4,6,9)
- Bobby Jarzombek / drums

- Bill Dawson / vocals (2)
- Daniel Gildenl÷w / vocals (4)
- Marty Friedman / guitar (8)
- Jens Johansson / synth (1,6)
- David Bagsby / synth (3)
- Jimmy Pitts / synth (6)
- Michael Manring / fretless bass solo (3)
- Ray Riendeau / bass (3)
- Doug Keyser / bass (5,8)
- Sean Malone / bass (7)
- David Penna / drums (3,5)
- Jeff Eber / drums (8)

Releases information

Artwork: Ron Jarzombek

CD EclecticElectric ‎- EE 2004 (2004, US)
CD Avalon ‎- MICP-10436 (2004, Japan) With a bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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SPASTIC INK Ink Compatible ratings distribution

(82 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

SPASTIC INK Ink Compatible reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by hdfisch
4 stars Edited 09/27/05!

Ink Compatible is an extremely complex album and will probably not find appreciation by all prog-fans. I found it very interesting after my first listen, but only after repeated listening I was able to fully enjoy it.

The first song Aquanet which starts with the dialing sound of a modem fitting perfectly with the overall theme computer & internet is showing already where it's going to. A quite insane and high tension composition telling the story about an internet chat. This was the one I had the biggest problems with in the beginning since it's a bit too much in the vein of old WATCHTOWER recordings which are not that much "my cup of tea." But from track 2 onwards the album is getting really enjoyable at least for people like me loving mind blowing riffs in a breathtaking high speed and abrupt tempo and rhythm changes. The only point I still prefer a bit their first all instrumental album is in fact Jason McMaster's voice which is fitting not really perfectly in some parts. Even Daniel Gildenl÷w's vocals in Melissa's Friend are not as brilliant as one knows from his recordings with POS. Anyway I think the vocal parts are only there for the main reason to provide some time to the listener for recovering from the very demanding and exhausting instrumental parts. Without having the booklet in front of you the quite weird and ironic lyrics are very difficult to follow. But after reading them one gets the impression that it's better to concentrate fully on the excellent instrumental parts. The music is very diverse and there are influences from multiple genres present. Some parts are rather reminiscent of music by FRANK ZAPPA or MR.BUNGLE than of metal.

As a SUMMARY I can say apart from the vocals this album is really a masterpiece in technical metal (or sometimes called math metal as well) and it's very refreshing to listen to an adventurous and inventive band like SPASTIC INK in these days of dozens of "clone band" all sounding very similar. I'd like to tell every fan of this sub-genre not to hesitate and to buy it immediately. Nevertheless due to the mentioned minor flaws I can only rate it with 4 (4,5) stars!

Review by OpethGuitarist
3 stars Texas shred is back.

Jarzombek's on again off again project Spastic Ink releases another dazzling display of virtuoso technique and his ability to take all of it in periodic humorous episode, the funniest perhaps being The Cereal Mouse. Musician's music to say the least.

Jarzombek shows a variety of influences here, from Holdsworth to Satriani as far as his style and technique are concerned. Fans of LTE will find this to be on a whole different level as essentially this is much more complex than LTE, as well as the band having originated before the LTE project. The biggest complaint here is the vocals, which are quite ridiculous, as music this complex should just stick to being an instrumental output.

Also of note is some cool guest appearances on the album, and I believe Freidman (of Megadeth fame) produced the record on his label if I'm not mistaken. This is about as technical as it gets folks.

Review by FruMp
4 stars Mind Melting tech - with a concept!?

SPASTIC INK is the brainchild of guitar mad man Ron Jarzombek (of WATCHTOWER fame) and his enlisted henchmen, his brother and equal counterpart on the drums Bobby and Pete Perez on bass. This time on the tech power trio's sophomore album they have incorporated vocals notably those of Jason McMaster of Prog and tech-metal pioneers WATCHTOWER. The concept here is quite hilarious it's about a redneck who buys a computer and doesn't know how quite how work it (at least from what i can make out).

The opening track 'Aquanet' is my favourite starting with nothing more appropriate than the sound effect of a modem dialing up before launching into a tech assault. The funnily titled read me is another great song, it's probably one of the most technical but also utitlises dynamics very well in the middle. Melissa's Friend is another highlight - one of the funniest songs and one of the most melodic too.

The music here is a lot more varied and diverse than on the previous album and it invokes more of a WATCHTOWER feel thanks to the vocals of Jason McMaster although it's not quite as fast paced and paranoid (although it's a lot more technical). This one is a must for fans of technical metal.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First-rate shred tech from the Jarzombek crew, even Jason McMaster's slightly tortured vocals work which couldn't have been easy considering the mind-numbing calculations going on here. And guest keyboardists Jens Johansson, David Bagsby and Jimmy Pitts fit right in and never overshadow the guitar. Essentially one long epic work of linear metallics broken-up by occasional strange interludes and sound effects, Spastic Ink's second album is sliced into nine tracks but plays beautifully as a singular piece of modern progmetal; stylish, highly intricate, at times approaching the sort of complexities heard in 20th century classical avant garde. Guitarist/composer Ron Jarzombek is helped by brother Bobby's crack drums and bassist Pete Perez, the team sounding just like brothers who've been playing together all their lives should; seamless. A kind of almost invisible perfection only heard in other fraternal units like the Allmans, Shulman Bros., the Beach Boys, and Van Halen. 'Aquanet' bleeps hello with a fax signal giving way to Jarzobek's clean, rolling glissandos and laser trills and spell-binding rhythms, all changing before you realize what's happened. This band is a machine in the best way and puts to shame most current metal acts. McMaster's rock'n roll whine is somewhere between Kurt Cobain and Rob Halford but with enough drunk swagger to know he is neither, vocalizing only where appropriate and allowing the players the spotlight as in 'Just a Little Bit'. 'Words For Nerds' chunks and hunks and makes one dizzy, featuring a bizarre middle and a perfectly kooky synth solo from the great but almost completely unknown David Bagsby. 'Melissa's Friend' expands with Satriani flavors and a slight Mars Volta influence, becoming a wide-ranging, almost Floydian journey with some lowbrow humor. Paganini-like instrumental 'Read Me' has precise programs by Ron, 'Multi-masking' wears many faces and 12-minute 'A Chaotic Realization of Nothing Yet Misunderstood' is a real accomplishment of continuous movement-- clean, beautiful, exacting and truly gymnastic.

Extreme but also showing much of the melody and myth of the neoclassical metal pioneered by Schenker, Uli Jon Roth and Yngwie, 'Ink Compatible' will appeal to a wider range of fans than your typical Behold the Arctopus CD. Surprises around every corner and well worth many good listens.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Ink Compatible' - Spastic Ink (8/10)

With Spastic Ink's 1997 debut 'Ink Complete', brothers Jarzombek and bassist Pete Perez left quite a mark on the tech metal scene. Being able to charge their viciously impressive playing with intelligent and complex composition, Spastic Ink immediately set themselves apart from the rest of the crowd, leaving a dedicated fanbase hungry for more. Seven years later, a few things changed with the band's sound on the second record 'Ink Compatible', but the tongue-in-cheek nature of the album coupled with its technical brilliance make it nothing short of a great follow-up to the original.

'Ink Compatible' shows the sound and direction of Spastic Ink growing more mature, although the eccentric charm of guitarist Ron Jarzombek is still here, through quirky guitar solos and odd voiceovers. To one as yet uninitiated with the music of Spastic Ink, the band takes progressive metal to very technical heights, and features incredibly complex arrangements, albeit at the sacrifice of well-rounded music. Although I was always impressed by the arrangements of Spastic's msuci the first time around, it always felt as if the compositions lacked cohesion as complete pieces. On 'Ink Compatible', there has definitely been a marked improvement on that front. Instead of the songs feeling like individual collections of jaw-dropping riffs and musical ideas, 'Ink Compatible' has pieces that take the form of actual songs; all to the band's benefit.

In most ways, 'Ink Compatible' is an improvement over its predecessor, although it certainly takes some extra time to grow in light of the added complexities to composition structure. However, I do not necessarily choose this album over the first. The biggest reason for this is certainly the use of singers here, which as one may have expected from a band as technical as Spastic Ink, does not work in the band's favour. Although there are some great singers like Daniel Gildenlow (of progressive metal titans Pain of Salvation) at work here, the vocal melodies never sound inspired, and instead tend to distract from the real delight here, being the excellent instrumentation. Some of the voiceovers wear thin quickly as well; one can only hear interludes about hillbillies' views towards personal computers so many times before deigning to skip over it!

Perhaps there isn't as much of the same charm this time around for Spastic Ink, but the album is certainly a step above 'Ink Complete' in terms of its writing and- in some cases- musicianship itself. Spastic Ink finally sounds like a full band effort here as opposed to the debut, which sounded closer to being a Ron Jarzombek solo album. An excellent album by any stretch, although it is more hit-and-miss than what I've previously heard from Spastic Ink.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Mindblowing, one of the most technical and original bands you'll find in this site, courtesy of Ron Jarzombek's Awesomness. This album is weird, melodic, technical, creative, dynamic, even fun, but more important... PROGRESSIVE! This album has a lot of contributors, from Daniel Gildenlow Marty Fri ... (read more)

Report this review (#295924) | Posted by watchmen | Monday, August 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars While Spastic Ink is certainly comprised of some competent musicians, the album Ink Compatible is mostly technical fluff. After an hour of listening to nothing but odd chromatic guitar runs and unusual atonal synth atmospheres, things can get pretty tiring. Even guests like Marty Friedman and ... (read more)

Report this review (#227497) | Posted by topofsm | Sunday, July 19, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well, Spastic Ink is from other dimension of progmetal music. Ron Jarzombek seems to be a very excentric guy and proyect his personality through his music. The first time I listened Ink Compatible I asked to myself "what the hell is this?" but, with a few listening more, I start to like more and ... (read more)

Report this review (#89697) | Posted by ProgDog | Friday, September 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A great album spoiled by some really annoying vocals. I am listening to Ink Complete right now; being an excellent album one may ask himself (or rather, Ron Jarzombek, the real drive in the Spastic Ink project) why the hell are there vocals included. I'm not a fan of Watchtower for the same r ... (read more)

Report this review (#74983) | Posted by Gyroid | Friday, April 14, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars lets go here by starters this is the funniest cd ive ever heard in my life. full of mroe time switches then your mamas pancakes make bananas. 1st off this cd starts off with the track Aquanet-hilarious modem dialing up wacky phone messages awesome metal to rock intricate timeings one thin ... (read more)

Report this review (#38953) | Posted by | Saturday, July 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This albuw is definitely a grower. After reading a few reviews and looking at the lineup (which includes Bobby Jarzombek, one of my favorite drummers ever) I bought the CD and... I was disappointed! An hour of insanely complex music with thrashy vocals and weird time signatures. But that didn' ... (read more)

Report this review (#38657) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 6, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Wow. What can I say? If there ever was a band capable of pulling of a true "masterpiece" (whatever that is), Spastic Ink would be it. This album really has to be heard to be believed.It's awesome; mind-boggling; f*cked-up; relaxing; simplistic; technical; humourus; I could go on. It's Ron, Bobby ... (read more)

Report this review (#31626) | Posted by LDGuy | Saturday, May 28, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Actually, there is nothing wrong with this album. The music is great, the production is excellent, the compositions are amazing. Ron Jarzombek is absolutely the genius mastermind behind Spastic Ink. So, why I put 2 stars to this CD? (Actually, 2.5 stars...) It's because of Mr. JASON McMASTER - ... (read more)

Report this review (#31625) | Posted by | Sunday, May 1, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is unbelievable! just "perfect"technically. Every sound every rythm or note has a perfect quality i a perfect moment in the song. It's like a Cartier-Bresson's picture : every thig in the song is not the result of hazard. Every rythm, sound, riff, comes from a musical reflexion. the re ... (read more)

Report this review (#31623) | Posted by | Monday, April 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Even when the disclaimer tells you to not put five stars (I mean, sparingly) every time you want, you should get this album and submit a review (after this one) putting the same rating as me. I'll put some reasons: Ron Jarzombek and Marty Friedman having an epic battle on the trade-offs showca ... (read more)

Report this review (#31622) | Posted by | Sunday, March 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Wow,this Album is a masterpiece...great very high complex technical Progressive Metal with nameful sizes of the progressive Metal Scene!!For example:Ron Jarzombek (Watchtower,Guitars),Jason McMaster(ex Watchtower,Vocals), Daniel Gildenl÷w(Pain Of Salvation,Vocals/Guitars)or Marty Friedman!!Ink ... (read more)

Report this review (#31619) | Posted by | Monday, August 9, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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