Weinberg, Barry: Samsarana
Having created music all his life, South Florida native Barry Weinberg has decided to take the bold step of writing and recording his debut album, Samsarana. Subtitled A Cinematic Rock Experience there are certainly bold intentions in play here but it's not something that ties Weinberg or his album down stylistically. In terms of themes the relatable lyrics talk of achieving dreams and not simply bowing down to the pressures of life, while still strongly acknowledging the challenges that face us all. The title of the album itself meaning in sanskrit 'The Wandering' and referring to the endless cycles of Birth, Life, Death, Birth, Life, Death, ad infinitum – This Vicious Circle.
Hugely varied in attack, the broad umbrella you'd bring this album under is that of progressive rock, but this is not a collection that looks to rely on long meandering passages of instrumental soloing to get its message across. Weinberg can play, but he's happier picking out a melody line on his guitar, or a riff that's keen to rush out at you and take things into a more obvious rock footing. Unfortunately these are aspects often held back by a perfunctory production that lends a slightly home-made feel, some of the drumming in particular sounding a little robotic (and with no credits to refer to, it may well be). Vocally the debutant may also prove an acquired taste, a slightly nasally delivering adding bite to the rock sections but not quite the gravitas you might hope for in the more restrained phases.
However it isn't all negative and if you're looking for an upbeat surge of energy then "Taking It All" may well satisfy, while "Endless Sea" finds a more patient and pondering muse take control. Throughout there's a clever use of sound clips, whether they be children playing in a playground or the long honk of a train's horn, which give the pieces a real feel of time and place and they fit their chosen surrounds well. The chiming of a music box at the opening of "Welcome To My World" instinctively reaches out to new life, while being both reassuring and warning of what's to come. While the voices of children which segue into gun fire and combat chatter on "This Vicious Circle" is every bit as unsettling as it was intended to be. Although the beautiful acoustic guitar playing that picks up the theme offers a completely different outlook and one of Weinberg's strongest, more pastoral, vocals.
Stretching things out to nearly the maximum length of a CD, Samsarana often struggles to bare the weight of its own hefty undertaking and there's sometimes a feeling that a tighter, leaner set of songs might just have made for a stronger, longer lasting impression. However, with the story and journey of this album feeling almost as important as how we get there, maybe that compromise would have undermined what can, at times, be an enigmatic, if never quite fully realised experience.
1. Conception (instrumental)
3.Welcome to My World
4. This Vicious Circle
5. Come Out and Play
6. Beyond the Astral Sky
7. Taking It All
8. Endless Sea
9. A Passage of Time
10. Perception (instrumental)
11. You Cannot Burn the Fire
12. Come My Way
13. The Way
14. Inception (instrumental)
Added: March 4th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Dream Reality Productions @ Facebook
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