The Gabriel Construct

Experimental/Post Metal

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The Gabriel Construct Interior City album cover
4.10 | 12 ratings | 3 reviews | 45% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Arrival in a Distant Land (6:51)
2. Ranting Prophet (4:50)
3. Fear of Humanity (8:01)
4. My Alien Father (4:46)
5. Retreat Underground (2:38)
6. Subway Dwellers (5:32)
7. Defense Highway (10:48)
8. Inner Sanctum (7:33)
9. Languishing in Lower Chakras (11:09)
10. Curing Somatization (10:25)

Total Time: 74:43


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Gabriel Lucas Riccio / vocals, keyboards, programming, rain stick, wood block
- Travis Orbin / drums, additional screams (10)
- Thomas Murphy / bass
- David Stivelman / electric & acoustic guitars
- Sophia Uddin / violin
- Soren Larson / saxophone
- Garrett Davis / additional laughs (7)

Releases information

Self-released CD and digital 05 April 2013
Produced by Gabriel Riccio
All music and lyrics by Gabriel Riccio except:
Additional drum arrangements on 2-8 & 10 by Travis Orbin
Additional bass arrangements on 2-4 & 6 by Tom Murphy
Violin Solos on 2 & 8 and Violin Noise on 6 by Sophia Uddin
Guitar Solos on 2, 8, 10 by David Stivelman
Saxophone Solos on 2, 8, 10 by Soren Larson

1-8, 10 engineered by Garrett Davis at West Main Recording (westmainrec.com), Salisbury, MD, with assistance from Joseph Hill, January-August 2012 except piano tracked by Garrett Davis at Gull Works Studios, Salisbury, MD, January 9-13, 2012
9 recorded and mixed by Gabriel Riccio in Eden, MD

Mixed and mastered by Taylor Larson and Gabriel Riccio at Oceanic Recording, Bethesda, MD, with assistance from Will Donnelly, September-October 2012 & January 2013

Cover art by Joseph Borzotta (josephborzotta.com)

Travis Orbin is endorsed by Pearl Drums and TRX Cymbals.

Thanks to aapatsos for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
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Interior CityInterior City
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THE GABRIEL CONSTRUCT Interior City ratings distribution

(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(45%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(9%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE GABRIEL CONSTRUCT Interior City reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions Team
5 stars The Gabriel Construct is in fact the project of Gabriel Lucas Riccio. Gabriel is a vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist from Salisbury (USA). On his debut album Interior City (2013) he has a fixed band to help him create his chaotic sound: Travis Orbin (Darkest Hour, ex-Periphery, Of Legends) on drums, Thomas Murphy (ex-Periphery) on bass, David Stivelman (ex-Debbie Does Dallas) on guitar, Soren Larson on saxophone, and Sophia Uddin on violin.

Interior City (2013) is a dark and chaotic album that works under a concept. According to Gabriel himself: "Interior City attempts to overcome mental programming which holds each of us back. It is a story about paranoia and escapism, based on a simple idea: in a society which respects nothing, every individual learns that they are not worthy of respect. The album follows one person's tumultuous journey to regain their self-respect and their ability to fully engage with the world around them, in the process revealing the darkest thoughts that drive society as a whole." A weird and complex concept? You bet! And his music reflects that.

But before going into the album, I have to mention the great package which Interior City (2013) is wrapped in. A high quality artwork with a mini LP kind of layout.

Now, if you're waiting for anything 'usual'? you may want to try other albums, cause you'll not find it here! Interior City (2013), as the name suggests, is a world itself. The Gabriel Construct sound is weird and chaotic. It is intentionally weird to a point where they'll make you feel uneasy. Right on track one 'Arrival In A Distant Land' you'll see that. Not just on track one. Mainly led by the piano 'Ranting Prophet' shows a weird sequence of chords that soon grows to have an Orphaned Land kind of sound. Unnatural tempos and great vocals included. The Gabriel Construct's sound sometimes edges the chaos, like in the final part of this track. Unbelievable fast drums followed by 'untuned' violins. Just great! Attached follows 'Fear Of Humanity'. And the initial verse says everything you need to know about the mood of the track: "I'm afraid of humans / I wonder if they're afraid of me / They grow here like tumors / I wonder if that's how they see me".

The songs keep being attached to each other, which just makes the impression of unity within the album stronger. 'My Alien Father' talks about alien abduction. It reminded me instantaneously of X-Files, the series (which is a great one). 'Retreat Underground' is the follow up with a big confusion of sounds and one thing that is the album's trade mark already, many vocals. This track is a bit cyberpunk and talks about getting hidden in the underground, where is 'safer'. As a continuation of the underground story we have 'Subway Dwellers' with its saxophones and great cymbals work by Travis Orbin.

'Defense Highway' continues with The Gabriel Construct unusual collage of sounds and ideas and after a quick piano intro the song shows us a frantic sound, chaotic, disoriented in some way. And layers and layers of vocals. Almost 11 minutes of superb music! 'Inner Sanctum' follows. A great upbeat track with tons of weird vocals and clever saxophones. Sometimes it is even as if the vocals sang to a different track.

To conclude, Interior City (2013) we have two more tracks. On the CD there's a mistake and the instrumental 'Languishing In Lower Chakras' is not mentioned anywhere in the booklet or back cover. I was just able to figure out the name after taking a look on their Bandcamp page. This instrumental once again relies on the piano to a somber intro and then presents us with some unusual and dark sounds. In fact, they're calm sounds most of the time, but even in peace we can find chaos. And then we have 'Curing Somatization'. A piece full of disoriented guitars, screams, and of course, many vocals, their trade mark throughout the album.

Interior City (2013) is possibly the closest you'll get to being in a completely different world. In this case, Gabriel Lucas Riccio's world. A miles away world that is worthy to go!

(Originally posted on progshine.net)


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Review by maani
3 stars Although my older brother likes some of Genesis' music, he does have one main bugaboo about them: that their songs are often "aimless," simply going from one section to another, seemingly at random. I disagree, of course: while it is true that many of their compositions have multiple sections, often introducing different musical motifs, most of those compositions follow the exposition-development-recapitulation form of some classical music, and almost always return to and resolve at least the initial motif, if not others.

However, given my older brother's feelings, I can assume that he would not like The Gabriel Construct (though I do -- with some reservations), the debut solo project from Gabriel Lucas Riccio.

In most of the ten compositions on Interior City -- particularly the lengthier ones -- Mr. Riccio actually does what my brother suggests about Genesis: haphazardly string unrelated sections of music together, only once or twice returning to and/or resolving either the initial theme or added ones. This is not to say that there isn't creativity here; there is. In fact, occasional sections show serious potential -- even flashes of brilliance.

However, this leads to my second "construct"-ive criticism of the album: there is a "sameness" to much of it, and not just stylistically. Fast sections all tend to be "heavy," and follow a similar pattern throughout the album: harmony lead vocals (interesting the first time, perhaps even the second, but tediously overused by the third or fourth -- particularly since they are often used throughout entire songs), and noisy production, often including speed-metal double bass drumming. (Indeed, one influence here that Mr. Riccio does not mention is Dream Theater, particularly in "Fear of Humanity.") Slower sections all tend to be "soft," mostly piano-based, with single-voice vocals.

Indeed, Mr. Riccio seems to think that "very loud" and "very soft" are the only dynamics available, and that sudden changes between the two are the only way to get there: i.e., there are very few gradations of dynamics, and even fewer "natural" segues between the two. It may be that Mr. Riccio believes that this adds "tension" to his compositions. True, a sudden change from loud to soft can certainly create tension. But it must make sense within the context of the song, and fails to create tension if it is overused.

This leads to yet another quibble: some of his choices seem'wrong. [N.B. I promise I am not trying to tell Mr. Riccio how to write his songs.] By this I mean mostly the way he matches music to lyrics, and particularly the way he phrases lyrics within the music, which can be at best odd and at worst jarring. Another choice that seems glaring to me is that he often fails to use what he has: i.e., some of the heavier jams could really use a guitar, keyboard or violin solo, and some of the softer, piano-supported sections just scream for a flute, sax or violin solo. Indeed, of all the issues brought up so far, Mr. Riccio's choices (in all the regards noted here) is the one that bothered me most overall.

Mr. Riccio cites a number of influences, including Devin Townsend, Mars Volta, Periphery, Ulver, Porcupine Tree and Oliver Messiaen. I hear very little of either Mars Volta or Porcupine Tree (two groups with whom I am intimately familiar). Re: Messiaen, I assume Mr. Riccio is invoking him with regard to the few "soundscape" elements of the album, including the opening track ("Arrival in a Distant Land") and "Languishing in Lower Chakras" (the only instrumental track on the album). However, the former reminds me more of Eno's Ambient approach, and the latter has various shadings of Eno, Vangelis, Ligeti, and even The Beatles (think "Revolution 9").

Mr. Riccio's musical approach is much closer to Townsend, Periphery (his drummer and bassist are both ex-Periphery), and Ulver. (Another possible influence is Tool.) However, Mr. Riccio seems to miss an important difference between his music and theirs: even within the heavy (sometimes thrash) metal sound that he and they all use, all of them are more melodic than he tends to be, and only use harmony lead vocals sparingly, if at all.

The overall production on the album is pretty good, but I have some issues with the mix: it seems a bit "muddy" (i.e., lack of separation), and except for the piano (in the soft parts) and drums, the other instruments tend to get overpowered by the vocals and the "noise" (apparently an actual element of the music, given that Mr. Riccio's contributions are listed as "keyboards, vocals, noise"). In this regard, it is hard to say much about the musicianship, though from what I could hear, it is excellent throughout.

With respect to the vocals, Mr. Riccio has a listenable and expressive enough voice, but I sense that he is not the best person to be carrying his own songs. I would suggest that he find a vocalist he likes, and also let that vocalist sing at least some of the parts without the harmony lead.

Mr. Riccio's lyrics tend toward the esoteric (often with a psychological bent; much of the album seems to deal with the loss of "self" in the larger society), and are generally pretty good. This is decidedly a strength (particularly with progressive rock), and it will be nice to see how he develops in this area.

Although this review is more "critical" than others I have written, Interior City is definitely worth a listen. Indeed, it grew on me the second time, and I'm guessing it will continue to grow on me. As noted, there is a great deal of creativity going on here, and it is always encouraging to find writers and musicians willing to tackle progressive rock. I should also add that Mr. Riccio is able to write "solid" progressive rock compositions of under five minutes. (In fact, one of the most complex is under three minutes!)

Finally, I want to say a word about "Languishing in Lower Chakras," which I feel is not only the best composition on the album, but really had me sitting forward. Although he may still be finding his footing with vocal/band-based progressive rock, Mr. Riccio has a much firmer grasp with respect to soundscapes. "Languishing" is among the best I've heard in quite some time -- it is clear that a lot of thought, compositional knowledge, and time went into it -- and while I certainly urge Mr. Riccio to continue developing his progressive rock writing, I also urge him to look toward "Languishing" as a jumping-off point for more compositions of this type. Indeed, based on the quality of "Languishing" (and, to only a slightly lesser extent, "Arrival in a Distant Land"), he might consider an entire album of soundscapes, allowing him to fully straddle both the progressive rock world of Periphery, Tool and Dream Theater, and the soundscape world of Eno, Vangelis and Messiaen.

Although I have given this album 3 stars, it really rates another half star.


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5 stars I'm not sure if composer/multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Riccio intended for this amazing Eclectic/Post Rock album to be a flow-through concept album, but that has been the only way that I've been able to hear it. Something in this music and album concept is reminiscent of DEVIN TOWNSEND's Zilto ... (read more)

Report this review (#1042232) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Sunday, September 22, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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