Don Caballero 2
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Now, before I go any further, I should stress that whatever else it may be, 2 is not an exercise in gratuitious technical wankery a la the more grandiose moments in Dream Theather's catalogue. And despite the band's all-instrumental approach, this in no way falls into the post-rock category that's become so fashionable of late; the sheer intensity of this recording would be more than sufficient to blast the likes of Explosions in the Sky into submission (not to say EITS aren't a good band; they very much are). At all points, 2 is a focused, aggressive, and measured display of technical wizardry that's at least as much about creativity as virtuosity. If your brain isn't engaged while listening to this stuff, you might've hit the "off" button on it by mistake.Read more ›
When comfortable with "II", move on to my favorite, "What Burns Never Returns". The first track on "WBNR" begins with the exact same drum beat that Don Caballero II closes with. It would have been like an epiphany to you when you first discovered this, but I couldn't resist spoiling it for you...
The fearless instrumental group of experimental math-rockers blazed a small but distinct trail across this subgenre, layering drumkit assaults after angular riffs in a more intimidating way then most of their peers could ever imagine. Even early on, when the group often felt more controlled experiment then experimental control, a rhythmic complexity, anchored by an amazing, ever-questing drummer, never eludes the at-times fascinating interplay. The last few tracks helped rein in these overwhelmingly spastic hardcore jam sessions with a little more melodic development, hinting at further greatness to come.
What amazes me most is, at the level these musicians seem to be, both individually and collectively, how they don't waste a note wanking their egos on this entire album.
For this type of music (which is pretty scant), I'm torn between this one, Don Cab's What Burns Never Returns, and Battles' B EP. This one is the most raw and primal of the three, which gives it a little edge.
Watch for Don Caballero's (reunion) album, World Class Listening Problem, on May 16.
The lineup of this Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania based outfit is centered on bandleader and drummer Damon Che Fitzgerald, along with Ian Williams (electric guitar), Matt Jencik (electric bass guitar), and Mike Banfield (electric guitars). The ensemble playing is superb and revolves around Damon's explosive and virtuosic drumming, which deftly weaves in and out of time signatures seemingly at random. The guitarists emphasize the use of a heavily distorted tone played at a crushing volume throughout, yet back off a tiny bit here and there - for this "old" guy, my ears appreciated the brief rest. In addition to the core of bass/drums/guitar, ear-splitting feedback sustained for several minutes and found sounds are employed, including a recording of a circular saw blade getting pinched as it cuts through a piece of wood.
The nine instrumental tracks range in length from 3:43 to 11:18 and are arranged into four suites ("I" - "IIII"). Total running time equals 59:01. Overall, this music blends aspects of American avant-garde, industrial, King Crimson (1974 and 1981), minimalism, and hardcore heavy metal (or whatever it is called nowadays - metalcore?). Meter shifts occur at the tip of a hat and are frequent - just about every odd time signature under the sun is used.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Don Cab made Chicago post-rockers quake in their boots. These guys are kings.Published 20 months ago by Charlie C.
I am admittedly frustrated with "Don Caballero II." As a fan of bands like Rumah Sakit, Volta do Mar, and more recently, Battles and Lite, I am a late-blooming fan of math rock. Read morePublished on March 10, 2009 by Jeff Hodges
i got this because i remember all my buddies from athens loved these guys, and had played me songs on occasion because i was the resident drummer and this is the resident favorite... Read morePublished on August 3, 2004 by Davy
Well probably this is their most progressive effort so far and I can't remember, apart from some interesting stuff by Djam Karet, anything like this... Read morePublished on November 22, 2002 by Lethe
This CD is hard to review because it is so different, and that makes it difficult to provide a frame of reference. Read morePublished on September 27, 2002 by mbfthrasher