Hear The Track HereNow I know I've stated in public many times that I'm not really into progressive rock, but I have to say that Messrs Sylvan and Bonamici have convinced me that there is life in the old dog yet. There again, given the professional level at which their material always conveys, the genre is really not that important; its about musicians playing their little hearts out. It does help, of course, if you have some sort of story to tell rather than just a quick noodle around the fretboard and/or your favourite prog rock instrument. Seriously, the only prog rock tracks I ever liked - back in the day - were tracks that had a capable song attached to them. Virtuoso, who would 'ave 'em...rather watch paint dry. Any number of musicians can reach a high standard of performance (given enough time and talent) but ask yourself, how many of them could make you cry with their performance and the number drops dramatically.
At this point Gabriel Sabadi utters a heartfelt 'oh f***!'
Gabriel Sabadi is a new name to me and presumably Soundclick who hails from the western USA (Washington, that's the state not the Capital or the dead dude) which is probably more famous for grunge rock than anything else. I have to say that the immediate impression Please Don't Stare was extremely favourable; it seemed to be produced well, the performance was decent if a little histronic vocally. Having said that bombastic vocals were ever part of the genre, right? In that department, Gabriel has just the right pitch and phrasing to make it work so that you don't actually cringe in sympathy. For this reviewer, it's the vocal side of prog rock in particular that I have most problems with, but Mr Sabadi slides by.
Unfortunately, I can't be as enthusiastic (Ed: uh oh, he hasn't taken his Reality meds...) about the musical track or - ultimately - the production because they didn't do the job they were intended to do: back up that self same bombastic vocal. A large part of the blame for this rests at the tired and confused feet of the drum track, which just noodles along with pretty much the same beat throughout - a kind of aural bash, bash, bash if you know what I mean. This is particularly noticeable when you have those vocals happening above it. The whole mix is well hot too, leading to a slight distortion in the later sections (4+minutes or so) that is offputting, at least to my ears. I think I can see what Gabriel is after here because he certainly delivers it vocally, but the musical backing needs serious work, especially if it is sustain interest over five and a half minutes.