Gabriel Rioux is an artist from Winnipeg, Manitoba who recently released Dreamstate. Rioux mentions ”This album is heavily inspired by metal, prog rock and soft rock. It starts off with more trashy modern metal and it mellows out in the middle of the album showing a more emotional and melancholic side before finishing with an epic seven minute track.”
The album is a complete DIY effort. It does have that bedroom quality aesthetic. Despite the programmed drums this album doesn't feel too far off from a band playing live. The opening song is called “Falling Awake.” It more or less comes out of the gate with an adrenaline inducing groove. The guitar is the lead focal point to the song. I thought the dynamics were well done. It’s a solid opener and also a good indicator of the general sound.
“Revelations” has a little more cosmic sound. Rioux leans into a hall reverb which adds to this feeling. The song has some very cool moments. I loved the build that was happening surrounding the one-minute mark. The juxtaposition between the palm muted guitars and the more lush elements worked really well.
“Disoriented” has a syncopated type of rhythm which reminded me more of bands like Tool or Perfect Circle. There are a number of killer grooves and some very impressive guitar picking but also lead guitar skills as well. This song felt like one of the highlights.
Things did seem to mellow out with “Running for Miles.” It’s not only mellow but there’s a cerebral quality to the song. There’s quite a bit happening on this song with a myriad of notes coming at you quickly. “Reflection” sounds a lot like the title and goes further into the cerebral flirtation so much so that I was reminded of Pink Floyd.
The title track “Dreamstate” is clean sounding with the distortion basically off till the end. This song almost felt emotionally neutral but I don’t say that in a bad way. It was just a pleasant song that was easy to appreciate.
“Cycle” seemed to be more influenced by post-rock than the previous song. This song sounded somewhere between Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Mogwai. The epic closer “It'll Be Alright” returns to the sound of the earlier songs on the album although this song is a roller coaster ride at a little over seven-minutes long.
Albums like this aren’t easy to make for a single person. Rioux impressed me. Although I think adding a drummer might add more to the dynamics, this album rocked. It also shows different sides to his talent. Take a listen.
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