Here’s the dilemma — a musician, Juan Montoya (Torche, MonstrO) I’m both familiar with and fond of comes out with a new project, Stallone. Great! I’m stoked… what’s that? It’s an instrumental project? And the self titled release is only three songs? Graaaah – alright.

I’m actually very picky with instrumental projects, considering my penchant for dissecting the vocal components on any and all recordings I encounter (O.C.D. much?). I mean Grails does it, and they do it damn well on the regular. Why not give instrumental a chance? Tell you what – I’m glad I did.

The opening track “Wondrous Beast” is enough to keep you sticking around for the long haul right there. It’s heavy, it’s intricate, and it’s just a taste of what’s to come on this short, surprisingly multifaceted album. We’re taken then to more subdued, yet expansive track “The Battle of Miami.” I’d be lying if I denied that this song takes me back to high school, driving around in my ’93 Mustang, windows down in the summer sun. Think of Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins with a bit more of a stoner doom vibe and doubled intricacies musicianship-wise on all fronts. The  closing track, “La Cobra,” brings to mind three words – clean, bright, and refreshing. Seriously, I feel like this song should come with a glass of vodka lemonade on the rocks (okay, maybe with a dash of cayenne for punch).

In all seriousness, I underestimated these three tracks from the get-go and for that, I have no one to apologize to but myself. Kell – I’m sorry you almost let a pretty damn rad-ass instrumental mini-release pass you by. Don’t let it happen again, eh?

(four out five horns)


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