After playing in the 2015 Vans Warped tour, California band Cedar Boulevard plans to take the rock world by storm with their debut release of Turn To Stone. Founded by guitarist Luke Sharp, the trio draws inspiration for heavy hitters such as Avenged Sevenfold and A Day to Remember, creating a very unique sound to their music.
With heavy technical guitar riffs and solos, mixed with soft vocals, the band is a mix of pop punk and rock. If you took the vocals from Yellowcard and added the backing instruments of A7X, possibly adding in a little bit of early 30 Seconds to Mars, you would get the sound that this band creates.
Now, the best thing about Turn to Stone is the band’s instrumentation and guitar solo driven sound, the riffs are well composed and executed very well on a technical level, but instrumentation and the ability to play your axe well doesn’t make an album a hit. The lyrical content is there, but to me the vocal abilities of Isac Gabriel fall flat on most of the tracks. His voice sounds nasally during the verses but picks up well in the chorus’ of the songs. If he could maintain that same sound and range through the entire songs, I feel the album would have been much better. On tracks like “Lost and Alone” and “Turn to Stone” his vocals even have a flat tone to them, then he tries to make up for it by releasing grows and screams that really don’t fit into the tracks well, it’s more jarring than anything else. I think with a little more vocal training and coaching that Isac’s vocal range can be molded and matured to help fit the sound of the band better.
But even though in some places his vocals are a bit rough, there are still some outstanding tracks on the album. “Tear” was by far one of the best songs on the album, Isac’s voice was much more balanced on this track creating great chemistry with the instruments, and the guitar solos were absolutely astounding.
This band has some serious potential and I think they can go a long way in this industry by keeping their guitar-heavy sounds, outstanding song writing, technical abilities and by finding balance in Isac’s vocal range. You can give the 13-track debut a listen on February 3rd when it is released to the public via Cedar Boulevard’s website.