Songs from a Decrepit Bronx Apartment
Ryan Fabian has been wrecking mic's in different area codes for a while now and has managed to go pretty much under the radar due to prior engagements. A native of Massachusetts, Ryan moved to Venice Beach at the age of nineteen and enlisted into the military shortly after. After serving a long rigorous enlistment in the service, Fabian got out of dodge and pursued independent touring with stops anywhere and everywhere possible for an unknown musician. Street corners and open mics were not snubbed. Now Ryan Fabian has released his first official release, the relentless Songs from a Decrepit Bronx Apartment. Fabian hammers through eleven mesmerizing tracks that range from alienation, extreme rage, extreme terror and extreme indifference. This is a concept album. It is perhaps one of the most intense independent concept albums since Husker Du's Zen Arcade. Fabian deals with his character, Domingo Gallo and his fall into madness driven by a chance encounter with a woman by the name of Isabella Lopez. Domingo is a sheet metal welder in the South Bronx and meets Isabella by finding her lost dog, a Boxer that nearly chewed the skin off his arm. We find them a year later dating when Domingo gets laid off and Isabella starts stripping. Things get brutal and it ends with bloodshed before we know it. In the album Fabian explores what exactly it is that makes a man descend into the likes of a multi-murderer and what key signs are the warning signals. The bass lines are funky, hard and very influenced by legendary Minutemen bassist Mike Watt, the electronic beats are very up-front and raw but not without their own level of intricacy and dancablity, Greg Pajer's guitar work on the record ranges from the punk-metal of 'Erase the Writing' to ethereal 'Scarface' and even jazz-tinged on the hip-hop esque 'Theme Song Number Seven'. Ryan Fabian's voice has to be one of the most unique I have heard in rock music in quite a while. He's got quite a range from low's to very high 'highs' and a great scream/growl thing going on as well for some great contrast and display of intensity. High points of the album include 'Fire in the Apartment', my personal favorite with a Latin-funk thing that eventually turns into an all out metal assault. 'Isabella' seems to be the flagship track here with it's electro-dance beat, tricky bass line and pop sensibility. '95 North' is easily the most accessible of the tracks with great storytelling and a great stoner rock thing going on. 'Body in the Trunk' is by far the most brutal track with the lyric, 'I killed them all/and I wrote your name with their blood all over the walls'. Ryan Fabian has made something noteworthy here, it is a pop album but not with the empty and even wimpy concepts and subjects mainly dealt with in pop. It is a metal album but not with the pointless self-indulgence and brainlessness that goes into most metal records. It is a funk album without the general cheesiness that goes into a lot of those albums. Ryan Fabian has made a great album and I expect even better things to come from him in the future.