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The Gabriel Construct: Interior City

Gabriel Riccio may have only graduated from college two years ago, but his compositional prowess—which is in full-force on his debut LP, Interior City—is of the strength that one would expect from a musician of a much better age pedigree. As Interior City makes clear, however, Riccio is far from what one would expect of a young musician. Whereas it's all the rage for a young songwriter to get a group of friends together and riff on the banal, chilled-out indie rock formula, Riccio has taken his years as a compositions student and embellished them to a full degree, producing a progressive rock opus that's a sign of remarkable things to come. Riccio's voice, which fluctuates from metal screams to a Serj Tankian warble, is near operatic in its declaratory power, and the bevy of musicians he recruited for this project back him up with a compelling cacophony of both contemporary and vintage prog theatrics. Like anyone looking to impress right from the get-go, Riccio went ahead and made this a concept album, the theme of which is tautologically described as thus: "in a society which respects nothing, every individual learns that they are not worthy of respect." As is the case with many concept records—The Decemberists' The Hazards of Love, for example—one doesn't really need to dive into the story to get behind the music, which is the real star here, but the lyric sheet does allow for the listener to get drawn a little more in to the brimming-to-the-cap mind of Riccio.

The sole major mistake made on Interior City is the backloading of the songs; the longest pieces come at the end, which can make getting to the conclusion of the story a bit of a slog, even for the ardent prog fan. But for those enamored with Riccio's brand of progressive rock, best described as early Pain of Salvation with an added penchant for classical composition, Interior City will prove a rewarding experience. An uncompromising debut from an artist who appears to have enough ideas to last him a lifetime of songwriting.

Track Listing

1. Arrival in a Distant Land
2. Ranting Prophet
3. Fear of Humanity
4. My Alien Father
5. Retreat Underground
6. Subway Dwellers
7. Defense Highway
8. Inner Sanctum
9. Languishing in Lower Chakras
10. Curing Somatization

Added: September 19th 2013
Reviewer: Brice Ezell
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2908
Language: english

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The Gabriel Construct: Interior City
Posted by Mark Johnson, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-09-05 12:35:23
My Score:

The music and sound effects on this album are excellent. Especially the opening piano on "Arrival in a Distant Land". It is when the singer, Gabriel Lucas Riccio, begins to sing that the fun ended for me. I am not sure how to describe it. Vocals and lyrics can make or break an album for me. Especially when the band name is The Gabriel Construct. When Riccio is singing, almost speaking the opening lyrics along with that piano on "Arrival in a Distant Land", things sound great. But when he starts lifting his vocals to sing, "I can't get out", that is exactly how I felt…but not in a way that the artist may have intended. Not only did I want "to get out"…I wanted to turn off the disc. For me, the album's highlights begin and end with the opening track. They lost me after that.

Riccio's vocals seem out of tune, or do not match the piano notes being played from the opening of "Ranting Prophet" through the end of the album. Which I guess is ok for art, but not for the sound in my ears anyway. Yes, he does get your attention and you can feel his pain, but unless you like listening to an album of that, this may not be your cup of tea either.

"Fear of Humanity" has some incredible guitar soloing, but Ricci's vocals interrupt that cool flow and take away the fun. Don't get me wrong, hidden behind his off kilter vocal delivery is the accent and sound of Tears for Fears' Roland Orzabal. But the off pitch sound of Ricci never reaches Orzabal's heights.

The piano and keyboards throughout this concept and adventure are magical. The solid drums, bass and electric guitar rock well. "Languishing in Lower Chakras", despite its dark title is one of the best tracks on the album. It is over 11 minutes long and does not contain any of Ricci's vocals.

Close your eyes and imagine its Roland Orzabal singing and maybe you can get through this.

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