A good friend of mine whom I've known since I was a little kid recently released his debut album. He's an incredible musician and composed this entire album and recruited studio musicians to record it. I played guitars, Travis Orbin (of Periphery and Darkest Hour) played drums, Tom Murphy (also of Periphery) recorded bass, and Gabe's girlfriend played violin. He composed everything (except a few solos and additions from some musicians), and performed vocals and piano.
From the website:
The Gabriel Construct is the rock solo project of Gabriel Lucas Riccio, a vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist from Salisbury, MD. His debut album, ‘Interior City’, is a dark and atmospheric concept album featuring Travis Orbin (ex-Periphery, Sky Eats Airplane, Of Legends) on drums, Thomas Murphy (ex-Periphery) on bass, David Stivelman (ex-Debbie Does Dallas) on guitar, Soren Larson on saxophone, and frequent collaborator Sophia Uddin on violin. The album unites players from rock, metal, classical, and jazz backgrounds to create a sound which incorporates influences from a wide variety of genres, including progressive rock, 20th century classical music, extreme metal, drum-n-bass, jazz, ’90s grunge and space rock, ’80s pop and more. The album’s densely layered vocal harmonies, distorted pianos, dissonant chords, and complex rhythms envelop the listener in a hallucinatory wall of sound.
Gabriel graduated from Swarthmore College with a Bachelor of Arts in Music in 2011, where he won the Melvin B. Troy Prize in composition after studying under Gerald Levinson. Levinson was a student of George Crumb and Olivier Messiaen, both of whom became large influences on ‘Interior City’. Gabriel’s rock background combined with classical training provide him with a unique perspective which allows him to create a sound entirely his own.
Just as the music of ‘Interior City’ attempts to overcome the limitations of genre boundaries, the album’s concept is concerned with overcoming the 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.
Gabriel wanted “to create a work which encourages people to live with respect and compassion, both for the world around them and for themselves. In an increasingly globalized world, it is more important than ever to recognize how our actions and lifestyles affect others.” With ‘Interior City’, he has musically documented his personal journey towards manifesting that compassion.
This album is, in my opinion, an absolute masterpiece. It's completely unique without being unlistenable. Some of the songs have the same feel as Devin Townsend's solo work, some can't be compared to anything, really. It's definitely worth a listen.
Here's a stream of the full album with shortcuts to each track in the description:
My favorites are Defense Highway and Curing Somatization, but to get the full experience, you really need to listen to it beginning to end.
Here's one of Travis Orbin's playalong videos: