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Riverside - Anno Domini High Definition CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.22 | 1336 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Putting METAL in Riverside's progressive metal

The thing I like most about great bands is their capability of reinventing themselves, with dear consequences every time. It all depends on which thing they decide to make their bets and, most times, it either is catastrophic or brilliant, but that is always a very dangerous thing to do because, in one hand, one can seriously lose the point and turn into something that neither the old fans like, nor is able to capture the attention of anybody else, like happened to Queensr˙che, for example. On the other hand one can hit precisely the bullseye, putting out something new that is pleasant to everybody, old and, eventually, new fans alike.

Riverside's case, along with many other bands that released albums these past years and 2009, is, of course, the second case. The band decided to make a really good departure from their mellow and spacy progressive metal and embrace their more extreme influences, such as death metal, though keeping their identity: space rock, Porcupine Tree and Marillion influences can still be seen throughout the album, not as clear as in their debut, however, which is definitely an improvement, but they are still somewhere in the mix. Powerful organs have also been added and assumed a very important role, a role which the synthesizers couldn't fill very well, with great results. Also, this change of direction is very important to consolidate Riverside's spot in the sun as on e of the most important progressive metal bands of nowadays and to take them out of the grise (or grey) zone, since many times they were in the borderline between heavy progressive rock and progressive metal and now they send a clear message to us all that they are, indeed, a (very good) progressive metal band.

Anno Domini High Definition is, as bassist and singer Mariusz Duda said, the clearest way for fans to see what Riverside really is, a high definition picture of the true identity of the band (thus the name of the album). That can be interpreted in a series of different (and positive) ways: the band has really matured to the point that they can easily work together and put out the best of each and every member; Riverside is finally able to give itself the luxury of being different; the members are finally able to work out, in their music, all the intensity of what they picture it to be. One way or another, this album is all of this: INTENSE, DIFFERENT AND MATURE, WITHOUT LOSING THE BAND'S IDENTITY!

This combination resulted in one of the biggest surprises I had in some time, musically, regarding progressive rock/metal releases. Every musical phrase comes with a pleasant and unexpected surprise (being the biggest surprise of all the drums crescendo at the end of the album, ending perfectly with a very well put blast-beat) to such a degree that I have been listening to this album almost three months non-stop and it still surprises me one way or the other and I bet that, as time passes, the album will be even more pleasant and interesting to listen to. Thus, I believe, Anno Domini High Definition will be a serious competitor for the place of album of the year, if it isn't already.

Musically, you can pretty much expect the usual Riverside, but in the higher gears, with more power and intensity then ever before. However, they are not anywhere near being extreme, they are just more energetic. The highlights go to the whole album, which is a very memorable and enjoyable one. The production is also top notch: the instruments and vocals sound as clear as possible, contributing greatly for the album overall quality.

Grade and Final Thoughts

An album of such high quality production, recording and composing features cannot be left unrewarded. Indeed, Riverside's 2009 album is one of those fine treats that is instantly recognizable as a masterpiece, though some may take a wile to be able to draw the whole picture and really enjoy the album. Solid 5 stars and, sincerely, the best album released so far in 2009. Don't miss it!

CCVP | 5/5 |


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