Planet Z poses an interesting contrast. For one, first-call session violinist and active concert performer Susan Aquila uses a Viper 6-string violin to diametrically oppose her classical roots, and performs material composed by symphonic conductor, guitarist, Dr. Robert Tomaro. Hence, the program is centered within the jazz-fusion realm and framed on attractive material that effectively bridges the high-impact schema with numerous off-kilter metrics.
Aquila's violin work often includes classical inferences along with a supersonic C&W twang during various solos. With thumping rhythms, electric keys and a rather resonating soundstage, the playbook is formed on tenacity, power, memorable hooks and highly electric treks into an eternal cosmic abyss. No doubt, Aqulia is a striking soloist via her streaming notes and variable rhythmic permutations. And it's a democratic engagement, where the respective artists enjoy some stretching room to complement the rousing group-focused dialogues throughout.
"The Fire of the Planes," intimates one of many, stirring highlights. Here, the ensemble launches a torrid jazz-fusion opus, contrasted by unanticipated reverse-engineering mechanisms and designed with flickering unison choruses. Joseph Church's blaring electric piano notes are layered into Aquila's sonorous passages, intensified by howling accents and an upwardly spiraling gait. Moreover, drummers Ray Marchica and Paul Pizzuti tender a fluid yet robust underpinning.
At times, the musical portraiture may lean towards a jazz-metal spectrum, so it's not an album that may bear its true colors when played at a low volume. But there are more than enough intricacies, shades and bombastic aerial assaults to keep matters at an excitable level of entertainment.