Review: THE MERCY STONE’s “Ghettoblaster”

Flourishes of absolute intensity, exuded by a spellbinding union of musical components bounded together by the intimate synergy of its musicians — “Ghettoblaster” provides a performance that is truly mesmerizing. The music comes at us with an excessive release of spontaneous energy, induced by boisterous instrumentation and complex musicianship. The album opens with a marvelous overture — the title track. This song is a passage through dextrous and innovative musical segments that are embellished with elaborate solos from violinist Dei Urresti. The backing string section establishes a rhythmic landscape for guitarist and mainman Scott Grady to work from, allowing him to erupt with a barrage of solos that are coordinated with such adroit musicianship.


Of course, it’s expected that Grady’s guitar work here is the centerpiece of The Mercy Stone, but the other musicians provide an equally captivating performance. Urresti’s violin arrangements effectively compliment Grady’s guitar work and/or Steven Ragsdale’s and Nathan King’s sax work, with all instruments collaborating at a level that is truly incendiary. But I must also mention Joris Daniel Hoogsteder’s drumming. He always provides such innovative percussive rhythms, eruptively dynamic, yet orchestrated with such effective prowess. As I said before, “Ghettoblaster” is fueled by ebullient performances. “Triptide” and “Megalodon,” for example, are driven by an overabundance of hyperactive instrumentation. The latter, in particular, is yet another highlight from the album.

As we venture further into the album’s content, voyaging through all of the aggression and spasticity, we are surprised to discover a bit gentler side. “Outbound” is another much more mellifluous piece, but has a much more abstract orchestration. It opens with a very relaxing tempo before blossoming into a more elevated, yet restrained, climax.

“Ghettoblaster” has a huge potential to be labeled as a landmark effort and a template for all future musical acts aspiring to venture into Experimental Rock, heavily influenced by Jazz Fusion, Avant-garde and Classical Music.

The album is available from CD Baby.