This is Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero’s first album of new material in five years. It comes two years after the duo’s big collaborative effort, Area 52, and marks a return to the intimacy that brought them to national attention with their accessible fusion of flamenco and acoustic metal.
Recorded at their own studio, 9 Dead Alive weaves aggressive strumming and percussive slapping amidst melodic gems like “The Soundmaker,” “Fram,” and “Misty Moses.” Ignoring traditional flamenco repertoire and techniques, the duo has been known to use guitar picks, wah pedals, and is as influenced by Paco De Lucia and the Guitar Trio as they are by Metallica.
“Sunday Neurosis” is a somber piece that benefits from dialogue snippets discussing the existence of God along with light B3 underpinning. “Somnium” is thrillingly reminiscent of Al Di Meola’s “Mediterranean Sundance” and the duo’s interplay is absolutely sublime. The nylon slide guitar on “Torito” pops, and “Megalopolis” is beautiful rich perfection.
This is an exquisite record from two fine guitarists thinking outside of the box and making great art.
This article originally appeared in VG’s July 2014 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.