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Riverside - Anno Domini High Definition CD (album) cover

ANNO DOMINI HIGH DEFINITION

Riverside

 

Progressive Metal

4.22 | 869 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars A really appealing aspect of this album for me is how each section within the arrangements flows together almost without seams. The longest two songs, situated at the last, are not as strong nor as memorable as what comes prior, however. This factor makes it a tough album for me to judge, given that it begins so mightily and then peters off as it seems the band is trying to be heavier than they are capable of. While classified as progressive metal, this work features some dynamics in terms of softer contrasts, but these unfortunately tend to be rare.

"Hyperactive" An exquisite piano introduction is eventually consumed by more menacing synthesizer and electric guitar dominated layers. The stark vocals shoot in over musical breaks, and sound exceptional except for the presumably intentional cracking that occasionally happens. The electric guitar burns through the mix like a wall of flame, while the synthesizer lead is more like a concentrated laser, searing a tremendous solo into the wall of noise. This is remarkable work.

"Driven To Destruction" A thudding bass kicks off the second song, and as with the previous one, becomes thicker thanks to electric guitar and subtle synthesizer. The pattern of the verses is similar to the previous song in that the singing takes place over quiet.

"Egoist Hedonist" A static guitar works against the dynamic music of the verses, and later on, heavy riffs and vocal improvisation take over on top of a brass section that provides some additional variety. A gritty bass solo ushers in an extremely creative musical interlude, full of crunchy guitar and eerily bright keyboard. It reminds me of Kansas in a way, particularly "The Spider" or "Myriad" if the band had taken a much heavier approach to either of those spiraling masterpieces.

"Left Out" A forlorn bass and soft electric guitar slow things down. When things become heavier, there's a pleasing and warbling organ accompanying the explosive guitars and drums. A lovely guitar riff, doubled by keyboard, is incorporated for bit just before that teaser of an organ earlier on pays up with a full on solo. The quieter middle section reminds me in so many ways of the somewhat underground artist Celldweller. The ending is grating at best, and downright irritating at worst.

"Hybrid Times" That coldly beautiful piano returns once more, and this time the vocalist does not tarry. It doesn't stay quiet for long either, as the band explodes into heavy riffs and a wild synthesizer lead. Midway through, the music takes on a more industrial veneer, pumping out crushing chords and heavy drums, and punctuating it all with vocal interruptions. Coincidentally, the organ chord progression is the same one used on one of the stages of Mega Man 2 for NES (I'm a nerd, I know). The track wears out its welcome in the last several minutes or so though, as it becomes repetitive and degenerates into an almost white noise conclusion.

Epignosis | 3/5 |

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