Rodrigo y Gabriela 

11:11

As a pair of musicians whose specialty is playing classical guitars with inspiration coming from the likes of Metallica, Overkill, and Slayer, Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero very much have dichotomy at the heart of what they do. Like the duo's breakthrough self-titled 2006 album, 11:11 is an all-instrumental affair overflowing with plenty of rapturous strumming and rhythmic foreplay. Steeped in the spirit of flamenco guitar, this collection of songs never trails off into New Age-y noodling. Instead, the aggressiveness of the twosome's heavy metal influences clearly comes across.

Rather than throw in covers of Led Zeppelin and Metallica as they did on their last outing, Rodrigo y Gabriela instead uses each self-penned track on the new album as a tribute to their influences. "Buster Voodoo" is a clear Jimi Hendrix homage that includes a quote from "Voodoo Chile." Testament's Alex Skolnick contributes a plugged-in solo that fits right into the Middle Eastern-flavored "Atman." Pink Floyd is given its due on the Gypsy-like title cut, acoustic guitar impresarios Strunz and Farah drop in to solo on the Paco de Lucia-inspired "Master Maqui," and Dominican jazz pianist Michel Camilo is honored on the spry and infectious "Santo Domingo." This is that rare release that appeals to those whose tastes run to Michael Hedges as well as heavy metal. (ATO)

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