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Exovex - Radio Silence CD (album) cover

RADIO SILENCE

Exovex

 

Crossover Prog

3.71 | 32 ratings

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buddyblueyes
3 stars Extra! Extra! Gifted guitarist and songwriter keeps up with Modern Drummer's Reader Poll results!

Keith Carlock, Gavin Harrison and Josh Freese are the drummers on this release? Well, someone's got their eye on drumming talent! Bravo to Exovex, a.k.a. South Carolinian Dale Simmons, for grabbing such immense talents on the kit. Dale's website bio states he's a fan of Porcupine Tree and that is apparent, not only grabbing Gavin, but also featuring Richard Barbieri on keys as well! You can acknowledge right away that PT and Floyd are big influences here. These are well crafted songs focusing on spacey guitar with orbiting themes of isolation, burden and woe. Radio Silence reminds me sonically of Ray Strattman's release from last year, The Lie Of The Beholder (a greatly overlooked album). As a matter of fact, many of the songs from Mr. Simmons are practically interchangeable with Roy's songs.

Besides the songwriting, Radio Silence has two great things going for it: a perfect length for listening and the album's continuity. I'm reading more and more how listeners and reviewers are growing weary of these 80+ minute albums. I'm starting to agree. I don't think I've yet made it completely through Kamasi Washington's "Epic"-ally long album (I thoroughly adore the album, however. 5 stars. Just too much ants-in-my-pants for one sitting.) Radio Silence is, however, a perfect, blissful 45 minutes long, and the songs flow effortlessly from one song to the next.

My only quip comes with the biggest selling point of the album -- the drummers. All three drummers have expressively unique voices and exceptional, distinct articulation on the drums. The type of drums they play, how they're tuned, and their setups all are quite different from each other, however, I have a tough time discerning who's who on these songs. The drums, tuning and tracking all sound the exact same. There were times listening to this I physically expressed: "break the chains, man!' [fist of defiance to the air!] There is a marginalization of the talent utilized, and their unique approach to the drums is completely lost on this album. This begs the question: what may have resulted had Keith been able to bring some of the jazzy touch and fusion creativity he used with Wayne Krantz; Gavin's signature beat displacements and crafty grooves; Josh's bombastic performance, a la A Perfect Circle? Could it have been so much more? Or, would that have disrupted the continuity?

Aside from the drums, Exovex could have also benefited from incorporating a strong bassist. There was almost no place where the bass lines stood out in any fashion, nor any part of the arrangements that focused around a strong bass line. Nitpicking? Perhaps. This album is a very straight ahead, rock-oriented album, the focus of which are vocals and guitar work, so in that regard it succeeds.

Aside from the two qualms, this is still a most enjoyable listening experience with all the right elements in place for a crossover progressive act. If you are a Floyd-inspired guitarist, you may find more here to enjoy, but drummer's beware -- this is not the Josh, Gavin or Keith that you are used to.

Wishful concert pairing: Dave Kerzner.

buddyblueyes | 3/5 |

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