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Riverside - Anno Domini High Definition CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.22 | 1336 ratings

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5 stars Driven To Distraction

Riverside, by definition, are a band I should love. They lie perfectly between the spectrum of prog rock and metal that almost all my favourite bands sit. They are highly recommended by not only people whose opinions I trust, but also the artists themselves whom I adore. All of Riverside's albums sit within my favourites' top 100 chart, and yet you have no idea how much internal debate it took to give this album a 4.5.

For a very long time, I was settled on this as a 3.5 star album, and I could not even justify a 4. But it wasn't until I took a good long stare at the track ratings I had given it. Now, I am incredibly harsh with my track ratings, and anything above a 7/10 is considered a great song, and yet Anno Domini managed to pull an album average of 8/10. This was a bit off, because anything with an average above 7 generally ranks a 4.5 or 5 star overall, and yet ADHD still sat right down in the 3.5s.

Because, to be honest, the music here is almost perfect. Each song has a distinct melody and riff that I like, but they are spread out so as to not make the album dull. So why did I not give this a high rating earlier? Why did I have to argue with myself to justify this in my hall of fame? If all the songs are good, what's wrong?

I'll tell you what's wrong.





Seriously. Riverside. For the love of god. Shut. The. Fuck. Up. With. That. God damn. Hammond.

It doesn't make you sound like Yes. It doesn't even make you sound like you're a 70's prog band at all. Who even said it was required to be prog anyway? It sucked back then and it sucks even more now. I cry internally every time I hear it, and although bands have learnt to be wary, there are a few artists (Neal Morse being the other) who just don't know when to realize that it is possibly the most annoying noise on the fucking planet.

And what's worse? Using it in heavy sections. The last thing I want to hear when I'm headbanging to a brvtal riff like the one in "Hyperactive" is the sound of a warbling noisebox that should be reserved for children's music. It just sounds so out of place, and so tryhard. It's hysterically out of place and insanely annoying and it makes me hate this great music because of it. And even worse, during "Egoist Hedonist", there's a part that sounds like it could be good if done by a real keyboard, but the retarded mess noise the Hammond makes blurs it out so I can't actually hear any notes, just WHEHEHEHEEHEHHEHEEHEHEHEHEHEHWAAAAAAABBAAAAAABOOOOOOOOOOOOOBINGBONGHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHUEHUEHUEHEUEHUEUHEUE

But actually, that's not the only problem with the aptly named ADHD. You think I'd be that childish to drop an album that much because I don't like the sound of an instrument? No, it's not just that that grinds my gears about this record. It's what I like to call Dream Theater-isms. Unnecessary changes of time. Solos simply for the point of solos. Unnecessary solos with unnecessary changes in time that destroy the mood.

Sure, Riverside are nowhere near as bad as DT themselves for this, but you can't honestly tell me "Left Out" benefitted from that final section. The first few minutes build up to what could be one of the best songs ever written. Gorgeous melody, great riff, solid build up. Until you get to the end and you start to question where all the emotion went. It's just aimless wankery. And as for the signature changes, they're just not needed. I love a good odd time as much as any proghead, but not when any mood has been failed to set and it just becomes music for robots.

But I digress. Anno Domini High Definition is not a bad album. In fact, it's a great one. Riverside are great songwriters, but they're not great at publishing them. This album has so much good material here, I just wish that someone could take it and make a much better album out of it. I can't help but think that this could be done better by cover bands, hence why my band are taking both Hyperactive and Left Out under our wings for full rearrangement.

But there is one thing that only Riverside could ever do, and it's probably the only thing I like about the performance on this record, and it's Mariusz Duda's voice. God. Damn. That voice. My fellow band members will note my various attempts to nail his accent on the "It's just another day of my life" intro to Hyperactive, because it really makes the song.

Anno Domini will proudly sit amongst by 4.5 star albums as the one that took the most debate. A wonderous album surrounded by mediocre production and stupid sounding organs. Hopefully they will grow out of this phase, but to be honest I'll just go and listen to all the Riverside clones that do it better.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

Gallifrey | 5/5 |


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