Riverside closed a trilogy in 2007 about the human brain with ‘Rapid Eye Movement’, it was started on their debut ‘Out Of Myself’. It was about time for something new and the four musicians were in for a fresh approach. ‘Anno Domini High Definition’ sounds a bit heavier and more organic. It really rocks and that’s a pro. Do not worry; we are not dispensed with their captivating melancholy which is so characteristic for these Polish guys. But there is more momentum without marring the infamous Riverside sound the band is praised for.
This fourth album has a theme that makes you think about your life and it really appeals to me. In brief it boils down to most people being concerned about following the latest trends while ignoring the real sense of life. I instantly think about a proverb of my youth (indeed dear readers, I have always been fascinated by sayings hitting the mark) I always remembered that predicate and it goes like this: life is not a fast highway between the cradle and the coffin; take your time to park in the sun. Now it may sound a bit corny, but there is a lot of truth in those old sayings and Riverside has dedicated a whole album to this subject now. Thus stop with this urge for innovation and refuse to be a slave of this modern consumption society!
Before I am bogged down in writing a pamphlet for the green party, I concentrate myself on the marvellous music on ‘Anno Domini High Definition’. In five lengthy compositions we can enchant the heartfelt voice of bassist Mariusz Duda - in emotional moments still reminding me of Vinny Cavanagh (Anathema) - the magnificent, fluttering guitar solos of Piotr Grudzinski and the warm vintage sound of Michal Lapaj’s Hammond organ or classical piano. The latter one recently bought a Theremin and this enigmatic instrument can be heard in the last two songs. ‘Left Out’ and ‘Hybrid Times’ are eleven and twelve minutes long and they go from firm Dream Theater alike parts into introvert contemplations to captivating guitar soloing. The rocking organ in ‘Left Out’ even makes me think of Deep Purple, but that is not so strange since Michal happens to be a great admirer of Jon Lord.
‘Anno Domini High Definition’ is the best album Riverside has made hitherto. It is a perfect amalgam of all influences of the band, blend into delightful melodies. Averse to any fustiness one may find in sympho and prog rock, Riverside appears to be a fresh wind blowing through the scene. When you purchase the special edition you can enjoy a concert that the Warszawa based band played in Amsterdam last year. And they are touring next fall. The undersigned realizes that it is high time to see them live on stage again!