10 SEP 13 DAVID SHANNON
We live in era of side projects. Actors write novels or play in bands, musicians moonlight as actors or even get into politics. Many times, these diversions fail or reach only the level of vanity pieces. For musicians, side bands often provide an outlet for the music artists would really like to be playing, or represent an opportunity for them to experiment with different forms, or they simply offer a chance to play with a different lineup. In any case, Volto!’s 2013 debut Incitare, on the Fantasy label, makes the case for side bands as sometimes just as interesting as the main gig.
Made up of Tool drummer Danny Carey, Don Henley bassist Lance Morrison, and guitar wizard/Pygmy Love Circus alum John Ziegler, Volto! plays instrumental progressive rock and fusion with an emphasis on heavy, crunchy guitars, wide-ranging tempo and atmosphere, and original songwriting that takes cues from masters of the form such as the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever, the Tony Williams Lifetime, and Alan Holdsworth.
These influences are best heard on tracks like "Quirk," on which guest keyboardist Jeff Babko of Cleto and the Cletones (the Jimmy Kimmel house band) channels Chick Corea. Occasionally, the band sharpens to a prog-metal edge. Opener "Grip It" starts with a rumbling, distorted riff that builds in intensity as the song progresses; "Tocino" alternates between unmistakably metal riffs and spacy, open melodies.