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5 stars After The Reality Dream trilogy Riverside tried to make sth new and fresh. Anno Domini High Definition is definetly sth new. It is most energetic and heavy album by Riverside so far. It seems like they were finally free to play whatever they wanted to. Duda's experiments with voice can be suprising, singing "a capella" in Hyperactive, Michał Łapaj uses Hammond a lot bringing climate of 70s to this album. Guitar work is finally varied, and Piotr Grudzinski created some finest riffs in his career. We can recognize that drummer, Kozieradzki, used to play in metal bands becouse of blastbeat, and more energetic playing than on previous albums.They suprise us with using trumpets - Egoist Hedonist, Theremin in Hybrid Times and by many electronics sounds and samples. ADHD is definetly the most adult, progressive and energetic realese by those guys. Each musican is in top form, and I am sure that they reached their potential by that 3 months of recording album. Becouse of complex structure of each songs it is no an easy album, but I guarantee that after several listening this music will grow, and it won't be easy to get bored. Biggest step forward in their career!
Report this review (#215963)
Posted Friday, May 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Mission accomplished

This is some album. It really is terrific, hard-hitting, melow and aggressive. We have heard most of it before from this magnificent Polish metal band; their first three records are an excellent blend of 'metalish' and melancolic elements and this really is no exception. They have, however, managed to take a further step in their musical development which is what makes 'Anno Domini High Definition' a joy for the ears.

There is only five tracks on this album and it has still got several progressive elements, but it is not as complex as you would probably expect. 'Rapid Eye Movement' (their third studio release) was somewhat of a dissapointment following two excellent releases and I have a feeling they, with 'Anno Domini', are trying to return to what made 'Out of Myself' and especially 'Second Life Syndrom' so great. And I have to say: mission accomplished.

One of the greatest elements of the first part of 'Anno Domini' is its aggressiveness á la the two tracks 'Artificial Smile' and 'I Turned You Down' from 'Second Life Syndrom'. The first two tracks and the first part of the third are all carrying this aggressiveness. While 'Hyperactive' and 'Driven to Destruction' are both somewhat 'classic' RIVERSIDE, and great hard-rocking openers, 'Egoist Hedonist' is the track which transforms this record into something speciel.

The first part of 'Egoist Hedonist' is absolutely astounding; instrumentally interesting and challenging with a few electronic elements which really suits the track. After six minutes or so the track changes into a 'classic' RIVERSIDE instrumental part which does not really add anything to neither the track nor the album as a whole.

'Left Out' is probably the pick of the album. The tempo is taken out after the finish of 'Egoist Hedonist' and the guitar work here is excellent. It is a mellow, beautiful track which is made ever so perfect with the organ and electronic elements. This track will grow on you and is as good as it gets from RIVERSIDE - at least for now.

'Hybrid Times' finishes the album off in style. It is a bit more heavy than 'Left Out', but almost as well-written a composition of progressive rock music and it will definitely grow on you as well. What makes the final three tracks so great are their inpredictability and 'Left Out' and 'Hybrid Times' is what differentiates 'Anno Domini' from being a good record to an excellent record.

'Left Out', 'Hybrid Times' and the first six minutes of 'Egoist Hedonist' are worth five stars, but the final part of 'Anno Domini' lacks that little bit of extra quality to make it a true masterpiece. I will not rule out that in time, the record might win me completely over, but for now this is a four-star record.

RIVERSIDE has risen from 'Rapid Eye Movement' (though still a decent album it is not of the same standard as their previous two) to prove that they are amongst the leading acts on the progressive metal scene.

Report this review (#216570)
Posted Tuesday, May 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Riverside are always so heavy and profound.

When you listen to their music you feel pathos, sadness, melancholy, but mixed up with power.

This new work has more "metal" elements than in the past albums. Though sometimes the "growl" voice is a bit irritating to my personal opinion, Duda is a great singer and he has power of feeling and great interpretation ability... and Grudzinski is a true inspired guitar player! The solos are so touching and enriched with feeling, the riffs are captivating and he gives to all the musicians the possibility to give their personal contribution at the highest level.

ADHD is the natural evolution of the Riverside sound, even if I prefer their melancholic side to the heavy one.

But in any case their merit is to be able to mix these two different moods in the best way I ever heard.

Three point five stars. Not four for the growling vocalisms.

Report this review (#219669)
Posted Wednesday, June 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Reality Dream trilogy is over. I thought that's about it from RIVERSIDE. Three great moody atmospheric progressive rock albums with touch of metal, effects, delay, reverb? I was sure that is all what this band has to offer and that this album will be hollow copy of The Reality Dreamalbums.

I was wrong.

It was like The Reality dream was a cage for bands inspiration (therefore weaker 3-rd album). This is one great album, with first 2 songs very good and last 3 songs great. I cannot give this album any less than 4 stars. I expected bad album and this is a very good. 4 stars

Best song: Left out, Hybrid times

Report this review (#221272)
Posted Monday, June 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Riverside's popularity is growing up from few years and it is happening very fast. I think that publishing this new album (Anno Domini High Definition) is the road to their big popularity. They were saying that ADHD will something absolutely new. They weren't lying, it's really fresh. In Reality Dream Trylogy you won't feel these feelings which you'll fell when you listen ADHD.

Mariusz Duda shows us many new voice skills. From this new skills, the best for me is when he's growling. His bass is cleaner. He rumbles on his bass guitar very rhythmic. The guitarist (Piotr Grudziński) plays more heavy riffs, but he plays exciting solos too. In comparison to his earlier playing, now his guitar is more "metal" than "rock". Piotr Kozieradzki (Mittloff) finally shows his experience from death metal bands from his past. He beats his drums very hard. I feel that Mittloff added more drums to his collection, becuase I hear some different sounds. Michał Łapaj often plays on Hammond Organ and it gives us specific climat. Different is using trumpets and theremin. For the first time it's very strange, but after some listenings you begin to understand this music. At the end I can say one thing: Riverside made genius album!

Report this review (#221282)
Posted Monday, June 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Riverside's latest offering is a modern classic. I wouldn't usually consider affixing this title to a progressive metal album, but I cannot help but concede here. ADHD is the most complete album I have heard since Close to the Edge.

From the piano intro that starts of Hyperdrive to the bombastic conclusion of Hybrid Times, this album does not let you out of its grasp. The songs become progressively more serious and also longer as the work progresses, working you over. The keyboard work is excellent, and the guitar and drums are sharp as a razor. You just don't hear this near-perfect blend of the instruments anymore, not since the days of Yes, though Dream Theater can come close at times as well. The dramatically shifting vocal styles bring additional diversity to the album. The deep raspy vocals punctuated by occasional growls and clean vocals please any metal fan or prog fan equally.

I'm not going to attempt to further justify this work with words; I strongly urge you to immediately get a hold of this album and immerse yourself in Riverside's delightfully diverse and often ingenious machinations.

Report this review (#221520)
Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, before rating this album I would like to say that this is a fantastic web site (thank you all for its success) and furthermore this is my first review: and I am so happy to do so for "maybe" the best modern metal progressive band. What to say about this album? Nothing it's simply perfect! I would really like to hear these songs at their concerts becuase I think that this album related to their previous records has been conceived for live performances. I'm saying this because this album is slightly more "aggressive" in comparison to the previous ones, there are really short "soft" moments: it's a condense of high emotions. Someone can say: Man it's impossible to have perfection, so find me a defect...well if I was obligated I would say: it's a bit short or it has a few this an imperfection?! So finally, my suggestion to all progressive fans: get this album!
Report this review (#221659)
Posted Thursday, June 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Riverside ? Anno Domini High Definition 4 stars

The beginning of a new trilogy.

Riverside not only moves onto a new trilogy, but a new sound as well. The new sound features a more traditional prog-metal sound. First and foremost, a lot of the soft acoustic or spacey section is really scarce on this record. While that seems like the soul of this band may be gone, listening to this record all the way through denied the accusation. The classic Riverside sound is still there but they started to really let go on their instruments. Even the opening number can show even some Meshuggah influences.

What is fascinating about the record is that there are only 5 songs, but when you listen to the album, you can never tell when the songs change. Each song really takes a life of their own and is constantly moving into new areas, a really diverging album, in other words, lacking repetition. The only songs that can remotely relation to the Reality Dream series are the song 'Egoist Hedonist'.

While moving to a genre that is infested with a lot of Dream Theater style bands, Riverside ventures into this territory giving their own take on it, and I was impressed. They can certainly stand out in that genre; think along the lines of Pain of Salvation. For fans of the softer Riverside stuff might want to shift onto Mariusz Duda's solo project Lunatic Soul which I liked more than this and highly recommend. This album was a welcome change of pace before the first trilogy could get a little tiring, which what Rapid Eye Movement was?just to an extent though. Solid addition.

Report this review (#222781)
Posted Tuesday, June 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is heavy and aggressive?and I love it! Riverside is a Polish band that made quite an impression in the progressive rock scene with their Reality Dream Trilogy. I found all three of the Reality Dream albums excellent, but I think this album may transcend even that excellent trilogy. All musicians are in top form here, the playing is absolutely fantastic and this album is a nonstop roller coaster ride for its almost 45 minutes. In fact, it is hard to tell where one track ends and the next begins, it all just seems to blend together making for a breathtaking experience.

The first two tracks are pretty standard Riverside rock songs. The opener, Hyperactive, is notable for its interchange between heavy guitar and drums and Duda singing beautifully acapella. It really creates a great dynamic that is fun to listen to. The third song, Egoist Hedonist, is wonderful?it starts with a more laid back electronica section before becoming another aggressive rock jam complete with horns! This leads into perhaps my favorite track on the album, Left Out. This is the most mellow track on the album and is beautiful with Duda's singing and beautiful acoustic guitar. As is common on this record though, the mellowness doesn't last long and we are taken into another jam that really grooves with some awesome organ playing. The final track is another epic of sorts that is even heavier than the previous song and ends the album on a high note.

This is an incredible album because of the virtuosity involved with all band members. I am impressed with how much power and aggression is put into this album, and it is an exciting listen that captivates me for the whole album length. I really can't find anything to complain about with this record, it is consistent and a blast to listen to. Definitely a contender for top album of the year.

Report this review (#225149)
Posted Wednesday, July 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Anno Domini High Definition" is the 4th full-length studio album by Polish progressive rock/metal act Riverside. The album was released in Poland in June 2009 through Mystic Production. The European and the US releases were in July 2009. The cover artwork was created by Travis Smith. There´s a special edition available with a bonus DVD containing parts of the concert recorded in Paradiso club (Amsterdam) in December 2008 during the "Reality Dream (2008)" Tour.

The music on "Anno Domini High Definition" continues the progressive rock/metal style that Riverside has played on their previous three studio albums, "Out of Myself (2003)", "Second Life Syndrome (2005)" and "Rapid Eye Movement (2007)". There´s a pretty strong emphasis on the metal side of the group´s sound on this album though and the softer progressive rock sections are fewer compared to the previous releases. "Anno Domini High Definition" is generally quite the heavy album. Don´t expect too many surprises though. This is still unmistakably the sound of Riverside, with atmospheric rock sections and mellower moments to compliment the heavy riffing. The music features many instrumental sections in addition the vocal sections, which are as usual delivered in the pleasant and warm voice of Mariusz Duda. The musicianship is generally on a high level. Great soloing, strong rhythmic playing and nice keyboard work throughout. In addition to that "Anno Domini High Definition" is packed in a detailed and powerful sound production.

So overall "Anno Domini High Definition" is a strong release, but if I have to the honest Riverside have gone in the complete opposite direction of what I had hoped for with "Anno Domini High Definition" and although the album is objectively seen a high quality product and a great listening experience I´m personally slightly disappointed that there are not more atmospheric progressive rock parts on the album. I´ve always felt that Riverside´s strength was in their softer progressive rock side and not in their progressive metal side and to my ears this release is the proof of that. It´s when the band are most melodic and sophisticated like they are on "Left Out" and not when they play heavier parts like they do on "Hyperactive", that they shine. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is still warranted even though I feel this is a step down from their previous releases.

Report this review (#226085)
Posted Sunday, July 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow! I'm stunned. I've never been a fan of Riverside, despite the fact that they are from my native Poland. I don't know why, but something annoyed me in their music. I didn't like the vocalist. I know it's a matter of taste and lots of people seem to praise him (just like lots of people bash James LaBrie but I love him). I decided to give this one a spin and It blew me away. I still had an issue with the vocals, but the more I listen to the MUSIC, the less it started to annoy me and I kind of got to terms with it. I don't really pay attention to the lyrics , but as for the music, this is how modern progressive metal should sound like. Technical (but not in a show-off kind of way) but beatiful and atmospheric at the same time. And progressive at its best ALL the way - something that for example Dream Theater have lost lately, going for a more commercial-metal-kind-of-approach. And since I mentioned Dream Theater, I think they should learn from Riverside how to PRODUCE. This album has a perfect balance between all the instruments - I love how the bass is exposed and often plays a major role in the instrumentation. The use of keyboards and synthesizers is also something other bands should take note of. It stands as a perfect background to amazing guitar work - riffs and solos are fantastic, but what is the most important - they're not going for SPEED but MELODY and FEELING.

The album is quite short, but I think it plays as an advantage. Some prog-metal albums can get too long and they can become boring or tiring, or simply ran out of ideas. This one is a perfect listen from the first to the last minute. A masterpiece of modern progressive metal. Must-have for any fan of the genre.

Report this review (#226429)
Posted Monday, July 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Since their 2003 debut, Out Of Myself, Riverside have consistently improved with each subsequent release, Anno Domini High Definition being their best yet. The sound is still unmistakably Riverside. The atmospheric keyboard flourishes, the spacey hypnotic grooves, the metallic guitar riffs but only this time it's a much more overall heavier affair. It's not the longest of albums clocking in at around 45 minutes and there are only 5 tracks but the good news is there isn't a weak one amongst them.

Hyperactive opens with a haunting piano refrain that builds into an explosive unison metallic frenzy. The track kicks along at a fair pace with some excellent guitar riffs backed by keyboards ranging from synths to Hammond stabs and Mariusz Duda's recognisable smooth vocals; not your typical metal singer then.

Driven To Destruction has more dynamics mixing the light and shade with the heavier parts and is more old Riverside in feel only heavier with an eastern vibe and that organ really packs some power! I'm really enjoying the use of organ here and there are some great flourishes from it on Egoist Hedonist, a track with many changes and sub divided into 3 parts with an excellent closing instrumental section.

For the first time on the album, at least for any great length, things quieten down on the 11 minute Left Out with its moody atmospheric feel. Even on the heavier parts it still retains a slower pace in the main though picks up a bit later on and benefits from some of the best melodies too. The ending packs another powerful punch; another strong instrumental section.

Saving the longest piece until last, the 12 minute Hybrid Times keeps the quality quotient high and is one of the heavier tracks overall. Once again a song of many changes the drumming briefly venturing into thrash metal territory! A lull punctuated by a sequenced synth makes way for a final build into a cacophonous ending. Powerful stuff indeed.

So there you have it, a very pleasing new album from Riverside and very welcome in a year that so far hasn't produced too many great albums. A high contender to make my top 10 at the end of the year.

Report this review (#227854)
Posted Wednesday, July 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars It is true that Riverside did not impress me in their previous releases. I thought that they are just a good band which tries to play intellectual progressive. But in 'Anno Domini High Definition' they proved me wrong. They are not just a good band. In this release they combine the technicality that is essential in progressive releases along with deep,'brain' music. Another plus in this band is the good voice of Mariusz Duda. We are many times compromised with pretty bad voices because of the nice music of this and that band. Hyperactive starts with some piano and fade-in music and grows more intense with memorable refrain. A very good opener. 'Driven to Destruction' initiates with a bass assault followed by oriental instrumentation and very nice guitars.It is less dynamic than the first song but totally progressive. Then,after the 2 very good tracks it goes my favorite 'Egoist Hedonist' which I like for the kinda jazz passage a couple of minutes after the start and for the subject it deals with. Of course,it has a memorable refrain and beautifully arranged music.I have not read the lyrics but I understand that the main issue is states of human condition(feelings mostly) by the prism of society.If I am wrong,tell me. 'Left Out' is more mellow and sentimental with very good moments in terms of musicianship. I like very much the aggressive ending with chaotic riffs and anxious(with the good meaning)music.And how could this great album close?With a track that starts with a piano session as the first one.So,what,piano and that's all?Not at all. The music after the 3 first minutes starts to become very Dream Theater-like but not a bad copy, it includes all that Riverside are. It lasts about 12 minutes which is the only flaw,because after the ninth minute is just keyboard stuff. I forgot to mention how good the keyboard player mr.Lapaj is. I rate it with 9/10 which means 4.5/5 and with the rounding it goes 5 stars.
Report this review (#228623)
Posted Monday, July 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first thing I heard about this 4th studio release by Riverside was on my own thread about the band where I questioned their metal status and called them more heavy prog overlooking their career so far. One of the responders said their new album was going to be more metal than their previous ones and therefore Riverside would be adequate in the prog metal subgenre after all. Well, I don't know how the member knew this at that point because this was several months ago but probably he had some inside information because I can only admit he was right. Anno Domini is by far their roughest output so far.

Things start with Hyperactive, an energetic shorter song proving this point immediately. This song can compete with their roughest material on SLS in my opinion. The song has a nice pace and though the song took quite some listenings before getting the hang of it, I'm really into it now. This also goes for the rest of the album by the way, this is not very accessible I have to say but that always has a certain charm too and it proves the progressive calibre of an album , nothing wrong with that, is there ? 4*.

Driven to Destruction is already more epic and inventive than previous. Especially the vocals remind of their earlier albums but musically also this one is somewhat innovative with some nice haunting keys in the second half of the song. Really metal this one as well. 4,25*.

Egoist Hedonist is the first that really got stuck in my system first few times I listened to the album. This is truly a memorable song and the most accessible of the album. This is what I call a terrific composition, the build up and concept are excellent and again also this one is pretty metal. So after having listened to this album many times by now I have to agree Riverside is a prog metal band after all. This song is the highlight for me and I love the wind section after a few minutes which proves a brilliant idea ! 4,75*.

Left Out starts more laid back in a wonderful way giving the song an ambient dreamy feel. After two minutes Piotr accompanies and the song turns into a rock ballad, after this the mood within the song keeps changing but remains on the quiet side most of the time only getting a bit heavier towards the end. Another winner on this maginificent album. So far it's close to masterpiece status for me. 4,5 *.

Hybrid Times is a splendid closer in my opinion summing up all elements I heard so far in the other songs. Yet there is no special feature in this song to me like in third track, this is more like an overall very good track. Some nice guitar by Piotr around the 8 minute mark. 4,5*.

Like I said, close to a masterpiece but just misses out on that for me and not for the first time the average the album has so far on our site (4,33) is the right one for me. Second Life Syndrome is still their best album in my opinion but this one has moved up second place.

Report this review (#228699)
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars RIVERSIDE are back with their new release, and I feel like I'm coming back to my reviewing activity, he-he)

I really loved the Reality Dream trilogy, though, to be honest, it's ending part is somewhat weaker than its precedetors. To make myself clear, I never thought RIVERSIDE would return after such a weak album as "Rapid Eye Movement". But here they go - 5 tracks, 44'44'' of pure Atmoseric Rock/Modern Prog, and don't you dare to compare these Polish guys with ANATHEMA; PORCUPINE TREE or OPETH anymore! They've made enough albums to prove their right to have their own face, their own manner, their own sound, and ADHD only upgrades elements of their music to some new level. Two closing epics is an exclusive treat, especially for those who got tired with their REM's brooding. Welcome back, RIVERSIDE; and thank you for such a nice cute album! My Top-10 record for this year for sure

Report this review (#228955)
Posted Wednesday, July 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars I discovered the band in 2004 with their first recording and so far, "Out of Myself " has always have had my preference. Probably because it was the less heavy-metal oriented. This "Anno Dominici?" is in line with the band's evolution towards a heavier and more metal sound. At least it is what can be felt while starting to listen to this album.

As soon as the well titled "Hyperactive" starts, you get the message: we're in for quite a wild treat. The band has a sound of their own, even if here and there some references are noticeable ("Opeth" or "Dream Theater" for instance). I have to admit that I much more preferred the whispering vocals from their debut than these aggressive ones available here.

This being said, there are still some enjoyable melodic parts which are combined with heavier ones. Keyboards do bring some other dimension to the music ("Driven To Destruction"). There are only five tracks on this short album. And their length is increasing chronologically: the shortest to start and the longest to end with.

The fine Oriental oriented "Egoist Hedonist" is a good song; probably because these sounds break with the overall metal mood (although this one is not a lullaby either). My fave of the whole is "Left Out" which reminds me a lot to their debut album: some atmospheric passages combined with heavy metal lines are a fine combination. Keyboards and guitar parts are very effective and end up crescendo in a fantastic orgy of sounds. A great track indeed.

The closing song is again on the heavy edge: keyboards are (again) the highlight: Michal Lapaj pumps them jolly good like the good old Hensley or Lord. He does overall a quite serious job on this album (maybe more than ever).

This work is their best one since their debut (at least I feel so). Just outside the four star rating (seven out of ten).

Report this review (#229077)
Posted Thursday, July 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#229120)
Posted Thursday, July 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is what progressive metal should sound like. Blazing guitar, bass and drums. And vocals you can actually understand. The only big drawback is it's only forty four minutes long. Oh well.

This is my first Riverside album, so I cannot compare it with their previous work. But I like this one a lot.

The album begins with placid piano, but with the song being titled "Hyperactive", you know that will not last. The band soon comes in with some head ripping riffs, full of prog twists and turns. From start to finish, this album brings song after song of blissful attitude adjustment.

Report this review (#229129)
Posted Thursday, July 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Dear fans of Riverside fear not the new Anno Domini High Definition since I can assure you that it's truly an amazing release!

I admit that I had certain reservations and fears about this release since Riverside has so far only worked on their Reality Dream-trilogy, so who knew how the band would evolve once the trilogy was complete? All those fears were put to rest once I heard the new album. The band implemented a great deal of new sound techniques that make them sound better then ever. Don't believe me? Then check out the radio edit version of Egoist Hedonist from the band official Myspace!

It feels like Riverside have gathered all the elements that I truly loved about them on their previous releases and pushed it one step further which is an excellent definition of progress. Anno Domini High Definition is a strong competitor for best release of the year!

***** star songs: Hyperactive (5:45) Egoist Hedonist (8:56)

**** star songs: Driven To Destruction (7:06) Left Out (10:59) Hybrid Times (11:53)

Total rating: 4,33

Report this review (#229599)
Posted Sunday, August 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars RIVERSIDE can do no wrong as far as i'm concerned. This is their fourth studio album and they all rate between 4 and 4.5 stars in my opinion. The first three albums really drew me in with the atmosphere and those warm vocals and guitar leads, but this is a new chapter for the band and I like where they're heading. What stood out for me on this latest disc was the drumming and chunky bass. This one really kicks ass, and besides all that they've kept it under 45 minutes ! The art work is still done by Travis Smith but with a new trilogy comes a new direction in that area as well. The songs seem to get better as this album plays out and they certainly get longer. I still think "Left Out" is the best track though.

"Hyperactive" is a song that's been the hardest for me to get into simply because it's so different from what they've done in the past. Piano intro before it kicks in around 1 1/2 minutes. Vocals after 2 minutes. I like the guitar 2 1/2 minutes in. Synths come and go. "Driven To Destruction" has such a good bass intro before everyone joins in. It settles before a minute. Love the guitar after 1 1/2 minutes. Vocals and riffs trade off then join forces wreaking havoc. Classic RIVERSIDE right there, especially the guitar 3 1/2 minutes in. Great sound before 5 minutes then it kicks back in.

"Egoist Hedonist" opens with some crowd noise as drums, bass, guitar and vocals come in. Growly bass a minute in. Riffs 3 1/2 minutes in as contrasts continue. I like the drums and guitar 3 1/2 minutes in and later at 6 1/2 minutes. It's nice and heavy after 8 minutes with some excellent sounding synths late. "Left Out" really reminds me of "Damnation" for the first 2 minutes. Lots of atmosphere with fragile vocals, it's amazing. It kicks in after 2 minutes, settles then kicks in again before 4 1/2 minutes as contrasts continue. I like the keyboards and atmosphere 7 minutes in then we get some huge bass followed by guitar. Nice. "Hybrid Times" opens with piano before vocals then the whole band around a minute. The guitar is grinding it out after 3 minutes. It settles 6 minutes in with vocals then it starts to build. A warm guitar solo after 7 1/2 minutes before settling again 9 minutes in. There's a powerful undercurrent still as this plays out to the end.

It's too early for me to say how this rates when compared to their other albums, all I know is it's another successful recording from this great band.

Report this review (#230588)
Posted Saturday, August 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've always liked European progressive bands. Most of these tend to be German, so it's kinda wild to have one from Poland. I've enjoyed Riverside over the years but there's never been a defining moment for them. They have always had the elements. Very Tool, Porcupine Tree sounding. The vocals are solid but you have to be willing to deal with an accent.

So the new Riverside is actually amazing. I was not expecting it. The album is shorter than their previous releases but I think that makes the difference here. Too many bands feel the need to jam 70-80 minutes on a CD without much care for the quality of it. The new Riverside is just over 44 minutes. Not a wasted minute on it.

5 tracks and each one is strong. From the horns on "Egoist Hedonist" to the thick bass line on the closer "Hybrid Times", this is how progressive metal SHOULD sound. If Tool was truly more adventurous and more melodic (see Porcupine Tree), they might sound like this. I highly recommend this to anyone wanting more from their progressive metal.

Report this review (#231405)
Posted Thursday, August 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Let us face it - Riverside surpassed old masters - Dream Theater the moment 'Out of myself' was released. DT somehow cannot find the power and magic they were able to create on their best records; since 'Train of thoughts' there has been little truly interesting music from DT, only individual compositions such as 'Octavarium' or 'In the presence of enemies pt 2'. But coming back to Riverside, these musicians really know what they are doing. In the nick of time they realised that the formula of the trilogy had been exploited and that next album resembling their previous releases would be simply derivative...As a result, this time we are served a progressive metal album where heavy elements dominate. Those who got used to nostalgic, melancholic soundscapes might be a little disappointed but even they ought to be able to realise what a masterpiece it is..Lyrical, subtle parts are still present but this time one has to look for them as they are so rare. The best example of the oldschool Riverside is the composition titled 'Left Out' which contains some truly magical lyrical moments like the amazing opening. The other songs are definitely more metal oriented with agressive but memorable guitar riffs, heavy Hammond organ, and beautiful keyboards (e.g. Egoist Hedonist with oriental motifs resembling harp). The music on ADHD is heavier also due to the much more dense drumming than before. Even the guitar solos by Grudziński seem to be carrying much more emotions than before (amazing bends). Although he does not play 20 notes/sec., he is still able to send shivers down the listener's spine. The album lasts 44 minutes but it is perfectly enough in 'these hybrid hyperactive times' when few of us have time to devote 80 minutes to listen to a record with full attention. Most importantly, this is 44 minutes of 'pure music' without unnecesary moments like annoying jamming in the middle of a song. Undoubtedly, Riverside are great musicians, and great composers; each song develops perfectly well and you do not have a feeling that a particular composition is a blend of several random pieces. There is a natural flow in each song, which makes listening to this record a really pleasant experience. ADHD is an album released by a group that knows what it is doing, a group that knows how to achieve its goals, a group that is developing wonderfully, a group that will surely provide us with at least equally excellent recordings in the future.

A highly recommended record 5 stars

Report this review (#234982)
Posted Tuesday, August 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars A perfect album, a perfect meld and blend of the traits and eccentricities that Riverside has brought forth on previous albums. This time, in contrast from the previous albums; all that this band has to offer is in true, uncompromosing and unrelenting form from track 1 to track 5. Albeit a bit short for my taste, I want more. Album of the year as far as I am concerned, sorry Dream Theater your new effort doesn't touch this Polish Masterpiece.

I won't do a track by track synopsis, I will merely tell you in my 15+ years of progressive- obsession that this is an album to run out and purchase - if you can find it.

Happy Proggin'

Report this review (#235993)
Posted Sunday, August 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's already been over two months since the release of the new album by the best Polish band. I'm unable to say how many times I changed my opinion about it. After the first hearing I was rather disappointed. I thought: How a group which released three brilliant albums could now record such week material? However, in the course of time I started liking new songs. And after a month I already loved them. Recently "Anno Domini high Definition" is still present in my CD player, and I can safely say that finding a competitor for it when choosing the best album of this year will be difficult.

The initial dislike for "Anno Domini" results from getting used to the group's style, which we could hear on previous albums. The typical sound of Riverside is already present on their debut, "Out of Myself", and was consistently preserved on "Second Life Syndrome" and "Rapid Eye Movement". The fourth album brings many changes. The most important difference is the lack of Grudzinski's melodical guitar solos. We can also forget about Lapaj's atmospheric strings and pads. They're all a rareness now. In exchange we can hear dominating metal riffs, rough organ parts and penetrating sound of synth leads. Let's add Kozieradzki's more powerful drum beats and amazing vocals by Duda, which never were that agressive. This is definitely the heaviest album by Riverside.

Not only did the music change. New lyrics criticize today's life, exposing 21 century's constant problems: incessant being on the run, lack of free time, getting lost in the world where everybody minds only their own business, inability to slow down and rest from the global race and pace we set ourseleves. That's where the album's name as well as the non-accidental abbreviation ADHD come from. The lyrics together with the agressive background work out really well. Why did Duda, Riverside's composer, choose this subject? On the official blog about the new album he wrote that "this kind of albums is necessary, even if we only apply them to ourselves once in a while like a vaccine to become immune, to survive, but most of all not to let ourselves go crazy in these hybrid and hyperactive times".

The best song on ADHD is the opening "Hyperactive". The delicate piano part on the beginning doesn't fit the new material at all, so it can be treated as a joke. On the other hand it may as well be a metaphore. Everyday lives seemingly do not bring that many problems and a common principle dictates: Respect life, as it is a gift. "No!", the band seems to shout, trying to convince us that reality is totally different, when the piano slowly dissapears, agressive and heavy rock sounds fade in and Duda starts to sing about a next day of a man who curses the sun getting out of bed. My second favourite song, "Left Out", has an outstanding ballad intro, reminding me of Riverside's melodies from their previous works, while in the end it surprises with an intriguing and disturbing keyboard part. "Egoist Hedonist" stands out because of the use of brass instuments and a mystical sound of harp created by keyboard. "Driven to Destruction" and "Hybrid Times" are the less interesting songs on ADHD, but this doesn't mean that they're boring. The first one starts with a really catchy bass line and the second one is an ideal ending for such an energetic album.

It takes some time to get used to Riverside's new style. Of course, one can say that the band already had its good times and don't give their new album a single chance. But it's important not to fogret that in progressive rock development and introducing new ideas is always present. Let's not be deluded by the first impression and listen to "Anno Domini High Definition" more than those few times. I guarantee a radical change of opinion then.

Report this review (#237269)
Posted Saturday, September 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars 10/10

"Anno Domini High Definition" is the quintessential modern prog album,the true essence of progressive metal.

Riverside's fourth album, released in 2009, finally showed me how progressive metal can penetrate your soul so strongly that you can't forget about it. Indeed, "Anno Domini High Definition" has become one of my favorite albums of all time, and it never seizes to amaze me for the fact that it's such a new and innovating album, and how it changed my life despite being released only one year ago.

I couldn't help noticing how this album was badmouthed by many Riverside fans, since it is very different from their previous efforts: the atmospheric Pink Floydish moments are practically gone, the sound is much crunchier, more crude, and of course heavier. It is a 100% progressive METAL album. Also, the song structures are more complex (it took me about seven listens to finally understand ADHD well), because of many time changes and the number of tracks goes down to five, and, as a consequence, the length of the album is shorter than those 60 minute Riverside records released previously.

How come this album is a landmark in progressive metal history? Let's look back at the previous prog metal masterpieces: with "Operation Mindcrime" there is a introduction to epic concept albums, with Images And Words" the genre reaches mainstream success, with "Scenes From A Memory" concept albums start to become more concentrated on the music, making some mind blowing songs and passages, with "The Perfect Element" some more modern elements are introduced in the music, "The Human Equation" proved that mixing prog metal with many different styles of music is a definite winning formula, even with "Second Life Syndrome" there is a different approach to heaviness, using also some space/ psych rock moments. I could list more albums, but I think these are the really important ones.

Anno Domini High Definition is important because it is indeed heavy, but there is no particular virtuosity from the musicians, there are no thrashy riffs, everything seems like it's coming straight from the heart.Even though there's no particular virtuosity, the band really is able to use and keep at the same level, without one overshadowing the others, all the instruments, that all have their shiny moments. The production is great, the sounds here sound very modern, almost futuristic because of the unbelievable use of synths, which many times produce some crazy sounds that are truly breathtaking and fascinating, and I could say I have never heard anything like it before, not even from a keyboardist such as Jordan Rudess. And finally, even though not as much as "The Human Equation" by Ayreon, the album is very eclectic: metal, jazz, some spanish taste (only in "Egoist Hedonist" for something like thirty seconds), ambient, electronic, and maybe even some synth pop.

This five song LP doesn't have a bad moment, as a consequence the album is quite solid. The opener "Hyperdrive" an unbelievable intro for this album, that creates such an amazing energy, with it's many time changes and hooks, in only five minutes. "Driven To Destruction" goes more progressive, and even though it has a really catchy guitar riff that explodes after two minutes of semi-building. Another great song for Riverside, with once again many hooks, slower and more tense ones as well. "Egoist Hedonist" is where the building and the tension is the highest, but it's also where these moments are he most haunting; this eight minute track is in fact the mot beautiful one here, constructed like a sort of minisuite. At mid song, it gets quite loud, it get's quiet again (for me this is the highest peak of the album) to explode into a fantastic climactic ending. "Left Alone" is a ten minute song that is the biggest and most succesful builder here; almost half of it is meditative, calm, and haunting like few songs. The end is of course also climactic. "Hybrid Times" is the closure and the longest song here (eleven minutes), a beautifully but differently structured piece,that starts with mind blowing prog metal and that has an unexpected ambient ending to a terrific masterpiece.

This said, I realize how I'm maybe the only one that recognizes this as an important record, but I'm sure it will be considered that way in the years to come. "Anno Domini High Definition" is the quintessential modern prog album, the true essence of progressive metal miraculously carved in these five tracks.

Report this review (#237743)
Posted Sunday, September 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars After three excellent albums, Riverside finally hit their stride with ADHD and exceed the safe and sound approach they had applied before. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely loved the preceding albums but still, I wasn't entirely satisfied. The music was too similar to their peers (Anathema, Pink Floyd, Marillion) and they seemed unwilling or unable to stray far from the tried and true sound and style established on the debut album.

Not so on ADHD. As the title already suggests this album surges with energy and finds Riverside taking a more dynamic and metalized direction. The result is superb, it's been quite a while (since Opeth's Ghost Reveries in fact) that I have heard an album so full of focused inspiration and enthusiasm. Each song is a breathtaking adventure through prog, metal, melody and emotion. All of them perfect in their own right, with as standout track Egoist Hedonist, which launched itself from out of nowhere right into my top 10. So instead of dissecting this album song by song, let's focus on the musicians for a change.

Mikael Åkerfeldt excluded (as he is in a league of his own), Mariusz Duda must be the best rock singer of this decade. At least I haven't heard anyone recently with his exceptional gift for melody or with a voice that can be both so subtle and warm or loud and harsh. On ADHD he shines in all of these aspects and even adapts a few new tricks like the casual and slightly hoarse timbre on Hyperactive and Driven To Destruction. Whenever he's not too busy singing he puts in some exceptional bass guitar lines like the opening strumming on Driven to Distruction and the fat rolling groove that drives the closing track.

Piotr Grudzinski stands out on electric guitars. Some people will probably miss the prevailing clean melodic lines from earlier albums but they shouldn't. The reason is that first of all, the clean melodic solos have not entirely gone, but most of all, he has diversified his playing a lot. Adding lots of metal flavours, a bit of funk and also some vary fragile plucking as in the first short solo of Left Out. Almost Reine Fiske from Landberk here.

Piotr Kozieradzki is not the type of fellow you want to meet in a dead end street after dark so evidently we will only praise him! Not only is his drumming as adequate as always, but, due to the excellent production here, it is put much more to the foreground and shines as it never has on a previous Riverside album.

But the man of the album would be Michal Lapaj. Those of you who have stumbled upon one of my reviews of the classic prog era might have noticed that I'm not too big a fan of the way keyboards are usually utilized in prog. Well on this album they absolutely astound me. Both on the prominent Hammond Organ and on the keyboards he continuously adds excellent leads, solos or backgrounds. World class. There's even some theremin at the end!

With this album Riverside have outshone many of their examples. This album will be hard to beat in the 2009 year lists.

PS. I don't know what all the 4-hype is about though. It's their 4th album yes, but it has 5 songs, its length is 44.42 (not 44.44 according to my CD-player) and it has a definite 5 stars, not 4!

Report this review (#237784)
Posted Sunday, September 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars 4.5 stars rounded up.

Riverside began as a highly enjoyable progressive rock band that blended elements from Porcupine Tree, Marillion and Tool. The band was dominated by guitar, bass, and Duda's great vocal skills, occasionally flirting with heavy metal. The first three albums formed a trilogy, where I could tell that they were running out of ideas by the third. After that album, I didn't think they could continue making excellent Riverside music.

I was wrong. Riverside reinvented itself. This may divide the fans, but I think they did the right thing and came up with their best album yet. Anno Domino High Definition (ADHD) is heavier, hectic, dynamic, and with some of the best application of keyboards in heavy metal that I've heard. Oh yes, Riverside is now a progressive metal band. However, Riverside did not let go of its 70s influences. In fact, it seems more influenced now with the multitude of analogue synthesizers and vintage hammond organs.

I will focus on the keyboards when talking about the songs.

Hyperactive starts with a piano theme that slowly fades away while guitars start creeping in. Moog Synthesizers play along the heavy metal riffs. Afterwards, there is a call-and-response section between vocals and heavy instrumentation, with fiery hammond organ runs and some subtle synthesizer.A bridge features more hammond and mini-moog synthesizers and the climax of the song is an analogue synthesizer solo backed by metal riffs.

Driven to Destruction starts with a bass line, dirty and thick synthesizers until it transitions into a latin-influenced section with an exotic piano line. All of the rest of the song is supported by very nice keyboard touches and that piano line returns halfway.

Egoist Hedonist frequently uses synth pads like in the early Riverside albums but much more. There is a hectic hammond organ run before the first verse that is very effective. Emerson-like synthesizers introduce and finish the frequently-discussed brass section. This is a very funky part with horns and jumpy bass lines alternating with heavier parts with a very effective synthesizer melody and nu-metal screaming low in the mix. Again, vintage keyboards really help the mood in the very mellow part of the song. The last three minutes of the song are dominated by various keyboard timbres and a middle-eastern mood.

Left Out is my personal favorite song in the album: a masterpiece. The first minutes seem influenced by Opeth's soft side and is almost keyboard-free, until a vibes-like timbre plays along a mellow electric guitar riff. The music briefly gets heavy twice with electric guitars, hammond organ runs and synthesizers playing along them. I think when the song becomes truly special is when a rhythmic low-pitched synthesizer riff plays by itself and the vocals and other instruments starts joining it. Here is when the band truly shines and the songwriting is awe-inspiring. The piano in particular gets me every time. The music slowly builds into a progressive metal passage, without abandoning that rhythmic synthesizer.

The beginning of Hybrid Times is dominated by elegantly complex and fast-paced piano with great vocals singing along. The piano theme is then played by heavy guitars and synthesizers. One timbre sounds similar to the legendary Rick Wakeman. After a few minutes of Dream-Theater influenced metal, various keyboards create a beautiful landscape of music which ends up building up into the heaviest passage of music, with dissonant high-pitched synthesizers, blastbeats, and heavy guitar riffs. The calm after the storm features a keyboard-only electronic passage full of vintage keyboards and sampling getting very dissonant at the end.

After the detailed description of how well Riverside implements keyboards into their new sound, you might see why I was so pleased with this album. I think it is not truly heavy, so it may be quite accessible to the baby boomer generation who regularly plays the Symphonic Rock legends from the 70s.

Report this review (#237910)
Posted Monday, September 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars From the first track it is already clear that the keyboards play a more important role than on previous albums. The subdued piano work in "Hyperactive" is soon followed by heavy guitar riffs and ditto synth outbursts together with that typical voice even reminds me of System of a Down. Mariusz sings at the end "It's just another day in my life, his days must be pretty hectic. When you are waiting for the dreamy guitar patterns, you will love 'Driven to Destruction ', although it becomes a lot heavier afterwards and even glimpses of Dream Theater comes in sight. Another of those typical dark songs, typical for Riverside, not at the least due to occasional screams and grunts of Mariusz.

But the most surprising song is 'egoist Hedonist', with a mix of different styles, the known Riverside rhythms combined with seventies Hammond sounds and dance rhythms of the eighties, around the 3 minute line you suddenly hear a funky rhythm with horns, and it is still quite successful, too. Towards the end of the number it becomes clear again how important the drums and bass are in the overall sound of the group. ‘Left Out ' sounds more laid back and the early Floyd influences come back. Beautiful guitar, sung emotionally, a captivating atmosphere, rhythm changes, a lot of Hammond: a progressive masterpiece. 'Hybrid Times' sounds often chaotic perfectly in line with the theme of the CD, you feel like you are in the middle of a busy city. But once again, the musicians demonstrate their technical talent, this is progressive metal at its best.

Definetly, the best release from Riverside . To describe in few words- fresh, energetic, heavy and most progressive album so far

Report this review (#237961)
Posted Monday, September 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
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 Queensrÿche, 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!

Report this review (#238478)
Posted Thursday, September 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am not a fan of progressive metal, I am not the fan of new music at all. So why I love this album ? It has a spirit of 70s prog but in the same time it sounds very fresh and orginal. First song, Hyperactive almost made me switching off this cd, but I saw in this song some potential. Each next track sounds better and better. In Driven To Destruction each musician show his ability and take a lead in some moments, you see here no individuality, but real band. Egoist Hedonist is a masterpiece, from repetitive part to storm of sound, catchy melody and finally insane heavy guitarwork. Left Out is from beging calm ballad, that evolves into a beautiful guitar solo, and instrumental part with great organs. Hybrid Times is most complex song. From piano intro by heavy guitar to ambient end Riverside serve us pretty end of genial album. I know only a few new bands, Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater or Pain of Salvation so I can't say that it is best modern prog album, but I haven't find better yet!
Report this review (#239188)
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars An early candidate for album of the year.

RIVERSIDE disappointed me a little with their previous release, Rapid Eye Movement, which lacked any real good songs and any definition of character. The album was neither black or white, space-rock or metal, nor a good blend of those two. Unlike the two first great albums, Out of Myself and Second Life Syndrome, RIVERSIDE's third was just another rock album in a year full of better releases.

Change has arrived, finally. Or maybe not actually change, but realization, the comfirmation of a promising band ultimately reaching maturity and adopting a true, unique identity. RIVERSIDE is now a progressive metal band, with plenty of space rock elements and atmosphere, but a metal band at last. Gone are the indecisions of the past, the Polish group has decided to make a statement about their musical objective and they have accomplished that in glorious, full 1080p high-definition, to use video terms and the album's title.

As said previously, RIVERSIDE's fourth and best is a progressive metal album. The riff matters a lot on this disc, the riff carries a lot of weight, as does melody and atmosphere, two crucial elements that the band has mastered at last, creating the PINK FLOYD-TOOL-PORCUPINE TREE hybrid that brings back memories of already-legendary groups but resonates, firmly, with its own sound. The songs, with no exception, utter one and only one name which ends up in the mind of the listener: RIVERSIDE. The Polish quartet has been born, full, complete, authentic.

When new bands come around, critics always use comparison to give an idea of what the music sounds like to other potential listeners. RIVERSIDE has finally got to the point where it will stop being compared, and it will turn into the point of reference.

A masterpiece. One of the best albums of 2009, if not already the absolute best. Get it with no hesitation.

Report this review (#239306)
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was fan of hard rock and heavy metal in times, when I still didn't now too much about prog- rock.After 20+ years my point of view is a bit different, but I still love many of great heavy- metal atrists, from Black Sabbath to Metallica.

Another story is modern heavy music. Even if there are some really interesting names ( as Therion, or Opeth, for example), many of new bands are just imitators of different quality. I am not speaking about technical quality of music - there are plenty of very technically skilled musicians all around, but about spirit. The real spirit of neavy metal is gone.

So it's a pleasant event, when I can find something, what is new and has this true spirit of heavy rock. May be you 'll be surprised, but on of this rare pleasant events happened right now, with new Riverside album!

I am quite familar with Polish rock, still from my childhood I grew up with Polish radio translations. There was plenty of good music! But after SBB/ Czeslaw Niemen era slowly I came to the understanding, that Poland is one of the best countries for quality pop-jazz songs, nor rock. Another thing, during last some years Poland is one of the biggest European market for live shows of world well-known prog-groups!

But their original product? Till now it quite often was some groups of different level, but often just of local interest scale. So, I started with new Riverside album with some scepticism. And it was disappeared immediately!

Absolutely world-class prog-metal ( I can say, it something in between of heavy prog and prog-metal), perfect melodies, complex,but very individual compositions. But most important - warm, even nostalgic, sound with this wonderful atmosphere many of us still remember from best rock records from 70-th! Vocal is strong enough, but with this warmness again.

Yes, formally it's a keyboard driven prog-metal, but with strong accent to melodism, even some acoustic sound, not too heavy ( it's a plus there), but soul-catching. Very roughly you can classify this music as something what came from Dream Theater field, but you can hear much more soul there!

So, perfect surprise for me, that album! After checking their site, I realised, that Riverside are starting their World Tour ( supporting this album) just next week ( at the end of september,2009), and three very first concerts are scheduled not too far from my place! In fact Bialystok,Elk and Olsztyn all are about 200 -3oo km right from my hometown of Vilnius. So I'm seriously planning just to cross Polish border next weekend and see them live!

Report this review (#239739)
Posted Thursday, September 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars After Rapid Eye Movement I was really intrested how the new album will sound. i can say that i was even worried about that. Riverside in Anno Domini High Definition that they can create other music then on trilogy, own, orginal and energetic ! In this album we have spirit of old rock combined with complex arrangments, many instrument form theremin to trumpets and really good and pleasant vocals form Mariusz Duda. Finally comparing their music to other bands will be more difficult. They left their Porcupine Tree inspirations, there is only one ballad on cd, and its diffrent, more energetic and rock. People tag this as Progressive Metal, but in my opinion its fresh and heavy progressive rock, and at this moment definetly album of the year !
Report this review (#241258)
Posted Friday, September 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars From the time of announcement of their new release, which would start something new compared to their debut trilogy, Riverside were expected in front of an experimentum crucis. Would they confirm their previous tendencies and sound, which resulted to be relatively stale in their last output? Would they keep the same influences? Would they bend to market requests, as some other leading band appeared to have done?

ADHD is here to demonstrate that Riverside fully deserve the title of one of present day leading band of progressive metal. This album showcase a remarkable creative torsion by the band, a leap forward that while confirming all the good from the past aims at reinstatiating it in new directions - at demonstrating that the band's emotional, even sentimental, deep and reflective character is not rooted in a single pattern or circumstance, but can be carried along in whatever situation.

Extraordinarily tight and full of substance, ADHD deals with present days paranoia, schizofrenia, obsessions, loneliness, dishumanizing trends. The very beginning set the stage with a clean piano pattern alternating major and minor G chords. Hence a flow of reflections, both lyrical and musical, overcomes the listener. Obsessive passages, melodies repeated purposely to the limit of boredom, sudden changes in rythm and harmony. All elements already featured by Riverside, but now with a thougher metal edge which very well suits the narrative purpose. Indeed there is a sustained use of simple guitar patterns which may seem trivial or trited, but here they find the right place to the point of seemng irreplaceable. This is what I can consider a sort of reinvention of progmetal arrangements. Toward the end, the album becomes nicely mellower but always subtle and cohesive.

All musicians are at their peak form, and no one takes full scene putting the others in the background. There is an ample use of organs together with electrifying synth sounds. And above all, many ideas evenly spread all over the 5 pieces. And there is no filler: the album is relatively short, which I may consider as a sign of the band's consciousness of the strength of their proposal.

Riverside shows us how to make progressive metal lyrical and emotional even dealing with daily routines and problems. Highly recommended, expecially to those claiming the end of progmetal's content and form. One of 2009's best outputs without question.

Report this review (#241760)
Posted Sunday, September 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Riverside was a band that I approached with some caution. I’ve often been unimpressed with progressive metal in the modern era. Not just unimpressed, but often so much as incredibly annoyed with them. Fortunately, it appears that progressive metal and rock have dodged the bullet when it comes to Poland’s Riverside. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that these guys are bringing something new and cool to the table while being able to maintain a familiarity and compositional approach that does what good progressive rock has done since the 1970s—that is, they write good, interesting music, but manage to make it interesting, memorable and fun to listen to at the same time.

Of course, the name Anno Domini High Definition definitely wasn’t helpful when it came to me being worried about this album. I looked at it immediately and thought “well, that’s kind of a stupid name,” which was followed by “oh, it stands for ADHD, how trite.” Not trite at all, actually. The band has managed to produce what I think is a much of a mature, engaging and excellent progressive metal record with its roots in bands as diverse as Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Dream Theater and Marillion. Sure, these bands overlap in certain areas, but they are also varied enough that when you think about the combined, you definitely have to spend a couple of minutes pieceing together how that would sound.

Report this review (#242653)
Posted Saturday, October 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Everyone is happy about this album. I was happy too, quite enthusiastic, so I was quite pleased. I've tried most of top 2009 albums by far (first was perhaps Maudlin, hehe), but then I started to be cautious about "Anno Domini HD". It albums grew and fell down regularly, but this one remained on second place for a long time. And I guess why.

It's not exactly prog metal. It's rock and metal somehow blended together. 70s sounding keyboards illustrates it and gives me rock feeling. But there's metal part, guitars mostly. Simply - weird, but interesting. And interesting is everything here. Honestly, I was expecting something which would be mystery for me why everyone loves it. But now I understand, what's it. Maybe it's because this is my first Riverside album, but I hope others will be as good as this. There's maybe one bad thing, Arabic influence is welcomed, as it's not so usual in prog music, but sometimes they pushes limits too far (end of otherwise great ending song Hybrid Times), or maybe another thing. Even they're trying to be as opposite as possible, their music is sometimes repetitive. But just a little bit, nothing so much important.

4(+), I just like how this album is for everyone (not everyone is going to appreciate Yes music, some may be awed by Jon's voice, some may feel lost in long compositions. Not every progger will like death metal, will be able to stand the voice and brutality of it.), good for beginners and also providing real treat for old-schoolers.

Report this review (#246450)
Posted Tuesday, October 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Heavily influenced by Dream Theater and Pink Floyd and armed with a mastermind name Mariusz Duda - Riverside released a new album. After three albums - which can be called "Reality Dream Trilogy". They come out with a new album with totally different approach. The album sound is very different - modern is the right word I think(the name of the album also suggest the new thinking of the band). Here they've given up some of their quite and complex passages and went to investigate more Riff-based progressive music - and the result is great(as expected). Riverside proved once again who are the kings of Poland's Progressive scene. Very good album - In my opinion, Riveside took the place of dream theater in the Metal field.
Report this review (#247041)
Posted Thursday, October 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
3 stars Riverside's most recent release and fourth full-length studio album is Anno Domini High Definition. The album shows the heavy side of the band more than on previous releases, which means that there is less focus on creating atmosphere. This is probably my main issue with the album. It isn't bad though, not at all. The album shows excellent musicianship and does really feature some great music.

The album opens with the haunting piano playing of "Hyperactive". This will soon change in menacing metal that's very rich of synths. The song is very powerful, like most songs on the album, though it isn't a masterpiece. The same goes for "Driven To Destruction"; a good song, but nothing more. The following songs are longer ,more progressive, and also more interesting. "Egoist Hedonist" features some cheesy melodies but in the end is a very nice song. "Left Out" is probably the most atmospheric song on the album and in my opinion the best. It shows some excellent musicianship and I can't really say much bad about it. The closing track, "Hybrid Times" starts with a piano intro, like "Hyperactive". Soon the song will burst out into the heaviest track on the album, that isn't much less good than "Left Out".

There aren't really bad songs on here, though none are really overwhelming. All songs are incredibly powerful though, and while that might sound positive I don't think it is. The album sounds a bit unbalanced because of this, which I think really is a shame. The bonus DVD, which is recorded at the Paradiso in the Netherlands is a nice feature. The performance is excellent, and much more atmospheric than the album itself. This is because it features songs from the previous albums. This live performance also shows the excellent musicianship of the band.

Three stars seems like a very good rating for this album. It isn't bad by any means, but just lacks the atmosphere that is so defining for Riverside's sound. I'd recommend this to anyone liking some powerful prog metal with psychedelic influences and not minding a bit of cheese here and there.

Report this review (#247991)
Posted Tuesday, November 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Mature. That's what I think about this album. When Riverside first began with "Out of Myself" one couldn't help but to be enchanted by that album. Yet it was derivative from Floyd and PoS, among other influences. But now I feel that Riverside has truly progressed. Yes they're more metal than before, but that doesn't mean that they fell into "Dream Theater music syndrome" that many bands suffer. No, they incorpored all the influences they had into a wonderful blend of prog metal. It manages to be still different from the "prog giants"( Symphony X and Dream Theater) of the genre. Here, the keyboards take a much more lead role than ever before, we have gentle piano playing, deep purple like organ riffs, and nice synths that help to build atmosphere. My favorite song would have to be "Egoist Hedonist", which starts with a very "neo-prog" vein, with excellent vocal work, then it switches with a cool heavy riff, and some great jamming( not too much wankery like other bands would do). I also like very much the calm atmosphere from "Left Out", I sense some Floyd influence, but it is much less than before, and it's a wonderful song for sure. Even though I like very much the change Riverside had, I can't say for sure if this it's their best album. Second Life Syndrome still has that place in my mind. Anyway, this is a highly enjoyable album.
Report this review (#251891)
Posted Friday, November 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars Metal is everything... yes, but no!

Some months ago I have tried to listened to the album Anno Domini High Definition by Riverside. It doesn't worked for me then. I wrote a review about this album and it was very ironical and cynical. In fact, then I was very nervous and a couple of days I have asked a man of admin group to delete my review and rating about this album, because it's not objective. Meanwhile, two or three Riverside lovers sent me messages with not very kind words. After that, I decided not to write a review about Anno Domini High Definition immediately, because of lacking enough time. But I didn't forget I have to write it lately. And now, half an year later I'm again in front of this album and I'm quite determined to realize this dream!? ;) I found out there isn't matter how many times I'll listen to this album. I shan't like it even I listen to it 100 times.

What an interesting thing is the fate!? Once I have been in a bar with a friend of mine and we were arguing about music. I'm big fan of progressive music and don't like blues music. He's big fan of blues music and doesn't like progressive music. I told him progressive music contains great musicians and philosophers, great ideas, precision and so on. He told me all these things belong to blues music. He told me something else - there aren't feeling in progressive music; it's only a race or competition of technique between the bands. Of course, he's not so familiar with progressive music and I just laughed at him. When I listen to Anno Domini High Definition by Riverside I recall my mind with these words of him. He's little right about all these things, but obviously only about progressive metal and especially Riverside.

What we have here in this album? It has solid musicianship and nothing else. We have race, competition, we don't have feelings. This music was made full of sterility all around the album. There aren't almost any ideas and the songwriting is poor. Accurate example of meaningless. There isn't anything memorable. Most of the sound is programmed. I have to pay attention to the vocals. They are disgusting and looks like vocals made by fifteen years old absent-minded lad. Tthere are some attempts to resemble Prodigy, Amorphis even Deep Purple and so on, but even this doesn't help to the album. Everything sounds artificially. So I'm looking forward to the next Riverside album. For now not more than one little star! Mission completed!!!

Report this review (#252132)
Posted Sunday, November 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm completely unfamiliar with Riverside and any of their earlier releases. I saw this album appear in the top of the top 2009 albums and trusting the judgment of the progarchives reviewers(which in general seems to be in the lines of my taste) I got a hold of the album.

At the first listen I was awe struck. Not knowing what to expect out of it I instantly fell for the production, sound and execution. Every inch of this felt right on the money for me. I have a rule for new music; I need to feel the urge to air drum to determine if a record is great. Let me just say that Anno Domini High Definition was off the charts in this respect. I'd be out of breath by the third track, still flailing away like a madman.

I think Riverside's music can quite blandly be called progressive metal. Yet, it might be misleading as that genre tends to turn towards big gestures and preachy lyrics. In Riverside's case the music leans much heavier on the progressive aspect of the music. It feels like a true cross of Rush, Marillion and Jethro Tull with Dream Theater or similar metal acts and with this I mean they aren't as heavy metal influenced as other bands of the genre. Do not fret though, if you are a fan of that genre you'll still find plenty to like here as well!

I played the album for roughly a month after getting it, still flailing through it wildly, but I slowly found that its impact waned over time. I can't say I found anything to complain about, the album is great all through to the end. But at the end of summer I had stopped listening to it completely. It wasn't until I remembered I hadn't reviewed it that I came back to it. I think this speaks pretty poorly for the album as a "best of the year" candidate when albums like "Part the Second", "Crack the Skye" and "Act III: Life and Death" kept fresh all through more frequent listens.

Anno Domini High Definition shows a new face of progressive rock to me and I would recommend it to anyone interested in a more colorful and interesting take on progressive metal. A great album that loses some value by lacking re-playability for me.


Report this review (#252404)
Posted Monday, November 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Anno Domini High Definition is the fourth studio effort by Polish act Riverside, a band that seems to steadily become more and more popular.

And their eclectic mix of sounds and styles is still innovative 8 years into their career, blending classical-inspired and ambient dreamy segments with sophisticated hard rock and progressive metal, including the inclusion of a few subtle elements from the more extreme parts of the latter at times.

The tracks are diversified, at times to the extreme, suddenly evolving affairs that are unpredictable and challenging despite not utilizing any extreme effects of any sort. Fans of dissonant sounds and disharmonic passages can safely look elsewhere for their entertainment - sparse sequences with insistant dominating elements or richly flavoured and textured themes is the name of the game here. And the latest addition to Riverside's arsenal of sounds - or at least the latest to be given a dominating role - is the organ. Adding a vintage tinge to their otherwise rather modern sounding excursions.

Personally I don't find this latest effort to be a truly great effort though. Final track Hybrid Times is a stunning affair though, and the only creation that didn't really grab my attention was Left Out. The rest of the album, the opening three numbers to be precise, are solid, strong affairs though. And I suspect that all of them eventually may grow on me as well as other listeners - there's so much going on there that it takes more than a handful of listens to digest it all.

But with the limitations the latter does give as far as reaching a conclusion goes, I note this down as a solid effort, and one with a potential to be regarded as more than that as time goes by.

Report this review (#255286)
Posted Wednesday, December 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a stunning album. Though I miss the spacier feel in "Out of Myself" and "Second life Syndrome", as a metal lover, I do enjoy this progression to a heavier sound.

Great metal riffs in the first four tracks. The solo guitar work in "Driven to destruction" and "Egoist Hedonist" is just brilliant.

I love the concept - the protagonist attempts to make a desparate escape from the ADHD-like insanity of our modern, technology-saturated life.

That opening riff in "Hybrid Times", incredible!! Still hits me even after four years and countless spins.

Why can't I bump this one up to 5? There is room for contrast in this album, it is basically crunch after crunch with the exception of the opening of 'Left Out'.

A round of applause for an album of almost perfect compositional execution.

4.2 stars

Report this review (#255337)
Posted Wednesday, December 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Musically, I can't explain why this one doesn't appeal to me. It has melody, catchy bits, has plenty of variance within. Yet somehow, after many listens, I just can't find myself caring about a single song on this album.

There are just little things about it that irk me a bit. Things like the fact that, the very last time they say, "It's just another day in my life" in the opening track, I always think to myself, "I really hope this is the last time, because I'm sick of that line." The song then ends, so it's literally about five seconds longer than it should be ... surely nothing to complain about.

And in Egoist Hedonist, when they are singing "Just Let me Live Without Your Pain", I always get the feeling that I've heard that line before, heard the way it's sung before, heard the vocal effect they used before, and while perhaps I didn't hear those three things together, I didn't think they were interesting the first time.

It has its moments, but none of them really grab me enough to remember later. That, I suppose, and all the little things that just sound off to me, is why I rarely feel the desire to pop this album into the CD player.

I do find Left Out to be a rather decent track, starting with nice guitar work, and it uses mood quite nicely. If I liked Mariusz' vocals more, I might listen to this track on it's own (ignoring the rest of the album). Unfortunately, Hybrid Times does not sound as good as Left Out, but is more along the same line of quality as the first three tracks.

Overall, I don't find enough appeal with this album to recommend it to anyone, unless they already fans of the band - in which case, they probably already own this album.

Report this review (#256945)
Posted Saturday, December 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars One 100-carat diamond surrounded by smaller brilliant cuts... The highlights and novelty of this production are the excellent dynamic rythms used, and the burning rock organs that send me in heaven.

I will start from LEFT OUT: this is marking ADHD indelibly. It gives me goose-flesh as more and more I listen to it. It is so cinematographic in how the story, or the feeling, of one excluded, are related to music that hardly I can find similar examples. I can almost see in front of me, as the song start, one guy walking at dusk in small city streets (a long distance siren is heard), on its own feelings and thoughts, eyes on his toes. At 3:03 Marius sings "could have been so wonderful..." and a light keyboard melody starts...bringing the listener to the "dream" section of the song, soon after punctuated by nice guitar. At around 6:00, the dream gets to an end, and the music gets a relevant mood too. At 7:50 Riverside pays homage to loved Pink Floyd, with a bass pounding that goes back to "One of these days" and even "Shine on you..."part 2. An absolute piece of music, unforgettable!

Briefly, as I'm getting lazy, the other ones show a heavier side, with excellent ventures in rithmic dynamics, good if you want to hear your player rock!!! To be really noticed the horn-like (synth or real?) section in "Egonist Hedonist"

Rating: 1. Hyperactive (7/10) 2. Driven To Destruction (8/10) 3. Egoist Hedonist (8,5/10) 4. Left Out (10/10) 5. Hybrid Times (8,5/10) Average = 4.2 - excellent album, for sure. So many moments to enjoy on this. Kudos RIVERSIDE!

Report this review (#257144)
Posted Monday, December 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars Anno Domini High Definition (ADHD) is all killer, no filler, a full blown masterpiece.

I publicly announce my official conversion to Riverside. Although I am new to this band I am absolutely convinced they are setting the bar high with their last 3 albums. This, their latest, is absolutely stunning music from end to end. The musical virtuosity is excellent, I love that pounding Hammond sound and the guitars are intricate and soar over the music. The vocals are easy to listen to, similar to Steven Wilson's style, and every track rises and soars with lengthy instrumental sections that feature incredible guitar and burning keyboards.

Egoist Hedonist utilises trumpets by guest stars and it is an effective moment on the track. The ambience of the quieter sections are balanced by all out psych prog freakouts and this is a heavy album with melancholy singing mixed with aggressive growling at times. The guitars are Jon Petrucci like, but there is a signature trademark sound that Riverside captures.

Every track seems to blend seamlessly into one 44 minute track but definitely a real highlight is 'Left Out' and the closer 'Hybrid Times' absolutely kills featuring Theremin would you believe!

'Hyperactive' is a short (5:45) opening number to get things started beginning soft piano that builds to a fortissimo of keyboards and bass. The killer riff chugs along frenetically and the off kilter drums are outstanding.

'Egoist Hedonist' would be one of the best prog metal tracks I have heard. It delivers with symphonic glacial landscape atmospherics with the warm vocals chiming in. The ambience of serenity is broken with the fractured angular guitars; an all out metal onslaught off the scale.

The absolute icing on the cake is the limited edition DVD that feature the band Live at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, a popular venue for prog metal such as Pain of Salvation on their 'Ending Themes' DVD. The Riverside concert is resplendent with colourful lighting and a tiny display screen but the music is the main star. 'Volte Face' hammers along with shimmering organ and relentless guitar riffing. The band play many tracks from their last 2 albums. 'Volte Face', 'Conceiving You,' 'I turned you Down' and 'Reality Dream III' are from "Second Life Syndrome" and are played to perfection. The Tracks from "Rapid Eye Movement" are 'Beyond the Eyelids', '02 Panic Room' and 'Ultimate Trip'. Though this is not their best album from what I have read, the tracks are equally good on the live stage.

The crowd absolutely adore them and the band effortlessly perform one track after another with little explanation or introduction whipping them into a frenzy. The DVD runs for 40 minutes only, but it's well worth getting hold of. So this package features some of the best of the band thus far and is a pleasant experience. If you are new to the band you can expect accomplished musicianship with intricate drum patterns, screaming guitar breaks, keyboard flourishes and complex time signature changes.

There is a thread of Dream Theater, a layer of Porcupine Tree, a spattering of Deep Purple, and a teaspoon of Pain of Salvation, but Riverside are carving a niche in prog metal that is their own and deserved of cult status. If they were not mega stars in the prog world after their Reality Dream Trilogy, ADHD seals the deal and launches them to the stratosphere. Poland bands bow down and worship the new masters. They are undisputed brilliant musicians and this CD package is indispensable.

A 5 star triumph!

Report this review (#265255)
Posted Wednesday, February 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars A good prog metal album... Nothing more...

This is the first time that I've heard this interesting band. Riverside happened to be (to my ears) an interesting effort of different tendencies, having a mixture between Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater together. They have a groovy side, more atmospheric and relaxed mixed with more straight nu metal parts and other prog metal phrases with intricate solos, time signature changes and unisons. The result is very good, not impressive maybe, but still good enough to enjoy.

This is their most recent piece and maybe I should check a little back in their catalog, because I've found a very good band with a lot of dynamics going on, all the musicians in the top of form and sharing a good experience of intensity and heaviness, lifted in the right places with more ambience piano soft oriented phrases.

The album is really short, just above 40 minutes of music, which is good, because you have to have a really good concept to make a solid album longer than that. And I feel maybe Riverside is not at that level of quality or maybe not in this album. My point is that I felt that only 40 minutes of music was perfect for their purpose. The melodies are very enjoyable and "singable", maybe the voice of their vocalist is not the best for this type of music, but the music is good enough to save it. I mean, he has the ability to sing in different states of emotion, but in the heavy parts it's evident that he can't reach the level of aggression the music needs (it's a very subjective observation, I know, so, don't give this too much credit, please, I'm very picky with vocals). As for the rest of musicians, no complains, a great sound, good interpretation, maybe they should receive more respect and attention, but with those so many prog metal bands out there, is a little difficult to reach that goal. I will check out their rest of material, because it promises to be good.

For me, their first three "short" songs are more interesting, but I think the complete piece is solid and cohesive enough to make it.

I do recommend this album and this band to any alternative prog fans, like Porcupine Tree or Tool fans, as well as more Prog metal oriented fans, like recent Dream Theater or O.S.I. fans. 3 stars, with possibilities of growing, but just for now it's a solid 3 album. Good, but not essential.

Report this review (#280739)
Posted Thursday, May 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars No tricks, no frills, no overblown pomposity, and a take-no-prisoners attitude: Anno Domini High Definition punches you right in the mouth and doesn't let up.

I've always thought that Riverside left a bit on the table in previous albums, but they have cleaned up the unnecessary ambiance, tightened up the structure so that each member is locked into each second of music, and just generally rocked out for the entirety of the album.

First of all, these guys produce a bigger sound with four members than many five or six person groups can muster. In addition, each of them sound better than on previous albums (except possibly Piotr G on guitar, who perhaps only equals his previous high standards). On drums, Piotr K appears to have expanded his kit, and it really comes through on some of the fills. Lapaj is fantastic on keys, leaning on that dirty, heavy rock organ to killer effect, but also being right on the spot with atmospheric synth strings, piano, and various solos when its his turn. And Duda is awesome in his double duty on vocals and bass.

The entire album is quite solid. Perhaps they are trying a bit too hard to change their sound in the intro, but after that first song, they are all locked in and ready to rock, from the danceable Egoist Hedonist to spacey yet intense Left Out.

Tons of great grooves, never overly repetitive, and lots of straight-up, balls-out rocking: By now it should be clear that I love what Riverside is doing on this album, but I'm going to pull up just short of masterpiece status and err on the side of caution. I would not be surprised if I decide to upgrade after another year or two.

Regardless, I've had me a killer case of ADHD since this album came out, and I hope to stay that way!

Report this review (#282888)
Posted Friday, May 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars A step in a refreshing direction.

Welcome all to the new masters of the progressive genre. Metal, rock, space, and all others are now melded into this wonderful piece. Previous albums of Riverside start wonderful and then showcase great growth. Now, after this release, I believe that everyone can start to stop saying that every band that is progressive is in some way a copy of "some other band" and "Dream Theater". I can start to say that those who are going to make a comparison can firmly say that Riverside is now on the list of the upper echelons of progressive music. Coming from Poland, starting out small, and making amazing music every step of the way from being unnoticed to a now growing behemoth, I think it's only fair they deserve this title.

Excellent, refreshing, crisp, new, entertaining, stimulating - progressive. Riverside, wonderful job. You have raised the bar successfully. These 5 stars are for you.

Report this review (#283243)
Posted Sunday, May 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars We live in hyperactive times.

I have been away from reviewing albums for a LONG time, but ill come back for this one. I just listened to this (had it for a few months) intensely today, and i am blown away by it once again. This is modern epic metal at its very best. Its SO theatrical its like a Dream Theater epic without the cheese thrown on top.. i can say this because recently DT isn't anything like it used to be. Riverside is on the upper echelon. The NEW STANDARD people. If i had to relate the album to something, one of the first things that come to mind is a story unfolding, one of the constant movement of today with the keyboard making sounds like those of a modern computer or something you might hear in the 'Born Identity' movies, with the pace being like that of the latest one 'The Born Ultimatum'. If anyone has seen that movie you'll know what i mean, it hits the ground running and does not let up.

On the music front its Riverside re-inventing itself. And unlike 90% of the time with most bands, this reinvention actually WORKS. It still has those emotional guitar solo's we loved from Second Life Sydrome, but with the intensity cranked up a notch, the drums are EVEN more technical and just plain inventive then they were in past albums, definitely more on the forefront this drummer is going to make a name for himself one way or another. The keyboard is so sick! It ads so much atmosphere to the album interjecting buzzes and beeps and walls of sound that really feel as though your ADHD and constantly being thrust forward in this high tech world. And the vocals are, as always, greatly warm lower register singing with the 15% chance of growling as well for a nice contrast of emotion and pure animalistic power.

Honestly this album is so good it actually takes time to let it soak in because there is so much layered in these 44:44 minutes that it will cause your head to spin a good number of times before you can break it down and understand where its going. Also the lyrics MUST be read as well, a real treat, well thought out commentary and introspective assesment of the world, this generation. Not to say this album isn't catchy and easily accessible, just that what will be found at first is the licks, tempo, and rock. But whats hidden underneath that is layers upon layers of soundscapes washing over like the streaks of lights of the cover art, blurring the resolution in our Nex-Gen Hi-Rez Wonderland.

As much as i LOVE Second Life Syndrome. Regarded it as the best Riverside album, and one of my all time favorite albums. Along came ADHD. And this is actually even better.

5 Stars. Masterpiece.

Report this review (#289614)
Posted Wednesday, July 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is their best material yet, no doubt. A solid release that has that trademark Riverside sound but with a more cohesive audio dimensia to it. Probably their hardest hitting ear candy but somewhat less of the growling lyrics at the mic, which is most agreeable to me. Superb mash-up of organ, synths, piano and acoustic and electric guitar mixed with great skill.And the drumming is anything but ordinary. Perhaps a little more upbeat than previous releases and not so much dark undertow. Riverside steps into the limelight and knocks em dead on this one. A solid 4.5 stars for those with similar musical tastes.I would even consider a 5 star rating but this music needs to be "digested" a little longer first. For any one that wants to sample what Riverside is all about I would reccomend this as the place to start.
Report this review (#291775)
Posted Saturday, July 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars 5-Step Escalation

Believe it or not, but Riverside performed a miracle here. They redefined classic progressive metal, a genre stale to the point of being almost inedible. Forget Drag Theater and take a look at the ingredients Riverside mixed here: 1.) spatter of oriental music 2.) pinch of vintage space rock 3.) handful of feel 4.) spoonful of talent.

While the album begins with a very good yet rather one-dimensional track ("Hyperactive"), the band gets more and more creative with every subsequent minute just to become hyper-creative around the middle of the record and stay that way till almost the very end. I have some minor objections concerning some lengthy (and a little bit generic) instrumentals but as a flawed masterpiece, Anno Domini High Definition makes you forget about them almost immediately. Really, I'm the last person to enjoy classic progressive metal but Riverside mixed all the best elements of vintage prog metal and infused the blend with thunderous Hammonds in the vein of Deep Purple, space rock synths reminiscent of Ozric Tentacles and art-rock elegance brought in by emotional vocals and wonderful "Gilmour-on-amphetamine" lead guitar passages.

This is indeed a great record, very different from previous Riverside albums - more powerful, dynamic and modern yet still set in their unparalleled emotional style. Created with great passion and imagination, Anno Domini High Definition can be counted among the best prog metal efforts ever made. Excellent work!

TRACKS BY RATINGS: 10/10[masterpiece!!!]: Driven to Destruction; Egoist Hedonist || 9/10[fantastic!]: Left Out; Hybrid Times || 7/10[very good]: Hyperactive || OVERALL = 90/100

-- Originally written for Metal Music Archives [] --

Report this review (#297019)
Posted Wednesday, September 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Not even in the same league as "Second Life Syndrome"! This album is far too heavy-bordering-on-metal and lacking the melodic appeal and accessibility of the previous near-masterpiece. It's as if Duda's other project, Lunatic Soul, is extracting the subtler, "prettier" side out of Riverside, leaving only the flash, show, and freneticism of this rather unexceptional, ordinary heavy rock. Everything is being played at a volume of eleven, at hyper-speed, with reckless abandon--as if the world were ending and they were racing toward it in a mind-numbing stupor. Not even "good" to my ears--for collectors only: two stars. Better luck next time (I hope the boys come up with an alternate plan in case the world doesn't end as quickly as they think it is.)
Report this review (#377688)
Posted Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars These guys are a jewel.Really I do not regret having them heard! this album, "Anno domini high definition, " is one of the best I've heard in recent times.The 5 songs have long duration (5-11 minutes ), but they are so compelling, that go by so fast, so it is almost impossible to perceiver. Their style reminds me a bit of Dream Theater in the period from Kevin Moore.The keyboards are quite complex, the "organs" actually provides a consistent basis for music. The other instruments are no less excelentes.The music, particularly the last one, "Hybrid Times, " sometimes has an electronic beat, which really adds positive points for them.

These guys can improve more and more because they are already many good!Excellent album, worthy of five stars!

Report this review (#383531)
Posted Thursday, January 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, the latest effort from Riverside, and this CD falls short of four stars (just). Perhaps they have run out of ideas, but the first two tracks are so-so, with fast metal riffing and not much in the way of interesting guitar/keyboards. If you are in the mood for something a bit heavier, then perhaps Opeth is preferable, thus I wouldn't be expecting riverside to fulfill my needs for the heavier end of the prog-metal spectrum. Thats why the first three tracks fall short of the standards set on the two previous CD's. Having said that, the two longer tracks, 4 and 5 save this CD from a LOW three and ALMOST make it up to a FOUR. The fourth track "Left out" features a nice bit of bombastic guitar and features some nice guitar licks as well. The fifth "Hybrid Times" takes them more into territory that was marched across in SLS and REM and has a nice instrumental bit (That reminds me of IQ's Erosion) the instrumental meander is good then eventually the track sort of peters out into an ambient trance out-tro that you expect to come back and get back to some riffing before a bombastic finale, some might like that but i found it a bit disapponting end to the best track, anyway - 3.8 stars (rounded down to a three because it's not as good as REM)
Report this review (#420673)
Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Loud.

This album stomps, shreds, drives, pummels, jackdrills and plows your interiors at given times, but it can also gently rocks you in Left Out..(into big strong arms though).Riverside is one of the youngest modern bands to be the father of many others, they already reached the state of almost-cult band in less than 5 years. Every year, many bands are trying this recipe to talk to the world, best amongst them Osada Vida and Votum.

Their blend of Titanium (abrasive) and Lithium (mood stabilizer) is a force to be reckoned with in the rock buisness, a powerful ace in the hole that blows away the sceptic in a few listens. Riverside is giving again the borderline anger/ despair approach, making them genuinely scary.The keyboard has never been more in front, with rythmic high-tek textures, deafening/ frightning segments (Hybrid Times) and a powerful Hammond sound. In fact, this album is the most powerful of all 4; not by the heavyness of the guitars, but by the cranked up mood it radiates. Better than Rapid Eye Movement, louder than any other but still as pumped.

There is a distinct sense of urgency in this record, making it the perfect unwinding record after a hard week.

Report this review (#425606)
Posted Thursday, March 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album reached number 1 in Riverside's homeland of Poland.

With ADHD, Riverside develops their prog rock sound toward a more prog metal style. And with it, they offer one of the best prog rock albums to come out in a long time.

Perhaps the best song of the year is "Egoist Hedonist." It is multi-textured, starting out with staccato guitars, then a power chorus, adding in some horns, Hammond organ and keyboards reminiscent of Rick Wakeman (Yes), and then a Pink Floyd-ish instrumental section ? all in a song that comes in at just under 9 minutes.

If you like Porcupine Tree, Radiohead, OSI, Nine Inch Nails, Opeth's Watershed, all done with "the delicate thoughtfulness of Pink Floyd" (to quote one review), then check this out.

Report this review (#442778)
Posted Wednesday, May 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars an absolute masterpiece!

having put off buying this album even though i loved "Out of Myself", "Second Life Syndrome", and "Rapid Eye Movement" simply because i had other stuff to listen to (and was still figuring out the best sources to buy from in my new home location!).

the wait (or delay) was worth it, its a fantastic effort from Mariusz and the boys. unusually for a Riverside album, it has only 5 songs with the shortest - the opener, Hyperactive, clocking in at just under 6 minutes. each following song is longer than the previous, peaking at the almost 12-min closer Hybrid Times

in the same sequence, each song is better than the previous one. or is it? 'coz when the repeat kicks in, you start "feeling" each piece again!

Report this review (#455249)
Posted Tuesday, May 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Excellent Evolution of an Already Great Band

With ANNO DOMINI HIGH DEFINITION (ADHD), Riverside made decisions to regroup after the relative letdown of RAPID EYE MOVEMENT. REM was solid enough, but seemed to many to be a bit of a retread of the previous two albums rather than the climax of a trilogy that it was intended to be. Under a new producer, recording in a new studio, the band upped the prominence of the keyboards and electronics while simultaneously getting heavier. (Yes this seems backwards, but it is accurate.) They also injected a little more frantic energy, consistent with the ADHD title and album theme. The result is excellent, and I think that the album is probably their best work.

What I've always loved about Riverside is that they have this slight 80's flavor that I've found a little hard to pin down. Some of it has to do with tone, with the reverbs and delays they use. They also have a vibe that just reminds me of some of Queensryche's dark rainy night scenes. On ADHD, the keys definitely continue this trend, but introduce some new sounds we've never heard on a Riverside record before. The band does a great job of treading the fine line between modern precision and live feel. While the production is very up front, I can imagine every bit of this record being performed live.

The sound continues in the Anathema meets Pink Floyd meets Tool mold with influence from Queensryche and Pain of Salvation. In my opinion, they continue to clearly separate from the Dream Theater crowd both in Mariusz Duda's goth rock vocal tone and the general lack of wankery. I do, however, hear alot of Kevin Moore influence on this record which in my opinion is a great thing. The album begins with a slightly anxious piano interlude, clearly preparing past fans that something new is coming. Even when the full band comes in at 1:30, the lead element is almost 70's prog synth.

As the album progresses, we get more of the typical Riverside sound from previous albums, but by that time, this listener has already shifted my expectations. The songwriting has also improved a bit, I think. The melodies are more compelling, the transitions from section to section are better planned. The album simply holds interest much better than even the wonderful Second Life Syndrome.

At the same time, this album lacks those few "holy moly" moments that makes me yell "Awww heyall yeah" at the speakers. Every masterpiece album has a few of those sections that just send shivers down the spine.

4.5/5 star album rounded down simply because of that lack. One of the best albums from the last 5 years in our straight prog metal category.

Report this review (#660764)
Posted Friday, March 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Anno Domini High Definition is, without a doubt, Riverside's best album so far. From the melancholia piano introduction in "Hyperactive" to the nearly ambient techno finale section in "Hybrid Times" ADHD is truly a dead on reinvention of Riverside's style and skills.

I have been a lackluster, passive fan of Riverside since Second Life Syndrome mostly due to their inability to keep my attention throughout the duration of an entire album. They were always a band I admired and enjoyed creatively but felt they had always failed to do something truly inspiring or groundbreaking. In short, the Reality trilogy sounded way too much like Porcupine Tree and while that isn't necessarily a bad thing (as I love all of Steven Wilson and company's work) I felt they often directly ripped off Signify's guitar work and elements too closely..

It took me a while before I even considered purchasing ADHD but am very glad I eventually did. This album takes all of the elements that existed in Riverside music before and concisely executes them in a quicker, heavier fashion. While past Riverside songs gave the listener a plethora of breathing room with long, psychedelic passages ADHD hits hard from the beginning and doesn't let up.

I highly disagree with a lot of reviews who label this as a Metal outing. It is definitely heavier in tone and faster in speed but I find it akin more to the likes of early King Crimson and late '70's era Rush rather than anything produced in the Heavy Metal genre. As I said before, the music is a lot more refined and concise. Every song is packed with a number of different time changes and surprising, quick transitions from hard to soft throughout. Duda seems to be taking a step back from leading most songs with bass and vocals which really opens up the spectrum to the other talented musicians on this one. Lapaj is absolutely nothing less than phenomenal on keyboards and Kozieradzki's drumming is among the best out there in any genre.

In closing, Anno Domini High Definition is a well rounded, enjoyable album that allows all of its members to shine on their instruments. It is the sum of 4 terrific musicians who play as a whole and who never, individually, seem to steal the limelight from one another. The solos are never too pretentious and the many parts that comprise each song never overstay their welcome. The highlight for me is the mid section in "Egoist Hedonist." It has a funky, almost danceable, quality that is only made better by the very scat-like vocals in the background.There really is no low point throughout this album's accessible and rewarding running time. For the first time in years I can easily admit to listening to a piece of music as a whole from start to finish over and over, back to back.

A work of art and a must have for any fan of music.

All songs: 10/10

Report this review (#735559)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It sounds like one song with five movements...

Oh man ... I really love this excellent offering from Poland's space progressive metal band. The music is really great combining progressive metal elements as well as space psychedelic style that sometimes bring me to the kind of Ozric Tentacles goes progressive metal. The music is truly captivating as you will get excellent contribution of good melody vocal which most of them is in clean vocal style with some screaming verses - but it makes unique style; guitar work both in riffs style as well as stunning guitar solo; piano and keyboard and of course powerful music flow that sounds all album as one song with many movements - five movements. The other good characteristic is that in every song there are many changes of moods and styles. The music sometimes is unpredictable and makes good experience in listening.

The opening track Hyperactive (5:45) starts nicely with piano touch that sounds something mellow and it then suddenly move to the spacey progressive metal style with nice combination of power and space psychedelic. Almost in the same style is the next track Driven To Destruction (7:06) which both have excellent dynamics and energy from start to end. What then becomes my favorite is the third track Egoist Hedonist (8:56) which has powerful melody and energetic style with bass-driven composition. This track demonstrates the band's innovative way presenting the brass section sounds, emulated from keyboards, that enrich the composition. There are many excellent bassguitar lines throughout this attractive track, I really enjoy it. The guitar solo is also stunning especially when it's combined with the spacey background that surrounds it. Oh by the way, I like the parts when the lyric verses say something like "Just let me live without your pain". Wow!! It's really great man! Left Out (10:59) starts beautifully with atmospheric bass guitar work combined with guitar fills that bring the vocal enters the music in mellow style. In terms of tempo this track can be considered as mellower than the previous three tracks but again the flow and overall composition are really excellent. I do enjoy this track from start to end. Yes at the end there is heavier style and it makes the music much more captivating especially with its Hammond- like organ sound. It's quite weird isn't it - having prog met with Hammond? But it's really nice. The final track Hybrid Times (11:53) is like a great climax that summarizes everything this bad has as its potentials. It's really great to have organ solo combined with guitar solo in a space psychedelic progressive metal using rhythm section that is very bass guitar driven throughout the whole song.

Overall, this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. I just one to add that the production - the sonic quality - is really great and you will get full satisfaction if you play it LOUD. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#758176)
Posted Friday, May 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars "I'm the alchemist of our times, I know exactly what you need..."

Anno Domini High Definition really took me by surprise. It was released around the time that my interest with progressive metal was slowly turning into disillusion and cynicism. I scoured the discographies of countless (apparently identical) artists, searching for a new masterpiece, but nothing quite made the grade. My music collection had become saturated, and as I started to explore different genres, it quickly became obvious that if I never again sampled the heralded 'next Images and Words', it would come too soon.

Combine that with the limp conclusion to Riverside's promising 'Reality Dream' trilogy, and the squirming opening lyric to this outing: "I hope my sell-by date didn't expire yesterday...". I wasn't exactly psyched.

But I was wrong. This album is class. Pure class. From start to finish. Although generally heavier than the band's earlier material, the style is hardly unique, but what sets it apart from its predecessors is the balance, structure and flow of each composition. I find it hard to fault, and a joy to listen to. In addition to the frantic instrumental passages which are a mainstay of progressive metal, Riverside excel at bringing atmosphere to their music, and Anno Domini High Definition is no exception. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly is the album's length! Clocking in at just under 45 minutes it remains both accessible and addictive, and proves that just because a CD can hold 70 minutes of music, doesn't necessarily mean it should.

The Verdict: Poland's greatest export since 'Memento Z Banalnym Tryptykiem'.

Report this review (#759813)
Posted Monday, May 28, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Anno Domini High Definition is the fourth full-length studio album by the Polish Progressive Metal band Riverside. It was released in 2009 and is their first full length-album that isn't part of the conceptual series 'Reality Dream.' The album consists of five tracks, arranged from shortest to longest, beginning with a five-minute track and ending on an almost twelve-minute one. It went gold in Poland and was surrounded by a considerable hype and expectation around the time of its release.

The album moves a little outside the band's established sound (even the style of artwork is a different from the band's established tradition) and the music is a little funkier, more bass driven and a little more Deep Purple influenced than any of their other releases. There is less of a focus on texture and more of a focus on musicianship. The songs are still slow building, proggy and diverse in a way, but this is a notably different way than on their earlier albums.

The fourth track 'Left Out' for example is a slow and brooding key driven song that brings to mind Led Zeppelin's 'No Quarter' as much as it does the softer sides of Camel, Pink Floyd, Opeth and the likes at the beginning at least, until of course it kicks into a metal section at the four minute mark, but then again even that is overlaid with Deep Purple sounding keys. By the nine-minute mark the songs sounds equal parts Tool and Dream Theater, while also having a sort of Pink Floyd's 'One Of These Days' or 'Sheep' feel to it. These sonic references are only loosely reminiscent though, not actual sound-alikes. All the music sounds like Riverside to one degree or another, which is part of the album's strength.

It is difficult to really pick a favourite song or album highlight when you consider that there are only five songs and they are all great and that they are paradoxically similar in their diversity. They all mix metal moments with prog sounds, are instrumentally impressive, cover a lot of different moods each and all feature the same vocal style. Some tracks add Saxophone or Theremin and some feature less vocals than the others, but everything is of the same high quality, with about the same level of immediacy and about the same level of experimentation.

Everyone's personal opinion is different though, and of course each and every one of them is as valid as the next. Some fans who liked the band since their early days feel that the record is too much of a departure from their established sound and some people who came to the band for the first time with this album also believe that it doesn't live up to the hype. Personally, I like the album an awful lot.

Overall, Anno Domini High Definition is a superb album of diverse and musically impressive material that keeps me interested from beginning to end and I would strongly recommend it if you usually like this sort of thing.

*** If you can get it for a similar price, try and get the version which comes with the Live In Amsterdam 2008 DVD.

This is a professionally filmed 40-minute show consisting of seven tracks from the band's earlier works. The tracklisting is: 1. Volte-Face 2. I Turned You Down 3. Reality Dream III 4. Beyond The Eyelids 5. Conceiving You 6. Ultimate Trip (shortened) 7. O2 Panic Room .

They band are tight, focused and play on a good stage production (lights, camera movement and screens) to small but very an appreciative audience. It's a very enjoyable extra, especially if you are a new fan. ***

Report this review (#772428)
Posted Saturday, June 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
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 [%*!#]ing 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:

Report this review (#828090)
Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Riverside "Anno Domini High Definition" 8.5/10

Riverside showed how well they can compose music right from the beginning in this album. Anno Domini High Definition starts off with an incredible beautiful piano intro, which led into a fairly heavy and definitely killer riff. The interest has started high, right away. I know I am going to enjoy this composition.

The vocals found in this LP are excellent. Mariusz Duda, vocalist and bassist, posses an awesome voice, which accents this music in an incredible way. It is the perfect fit to the style that is Riverside. Additionally, the vocal layer found in some sections was absolutely astounding; the sound that came forth from the layers was fantastic. Very effective, very enjoyable.

The groove I saw in this album was awesome. The driving bass in some areas was killer and held on to some headbanging grooves. The bass was a incredible addition to Anno Domini High Definition, and did a gorgeous job in saying what it needed to say. The song "Driven To Destruction" opened with one epic bass riff, and let the song open with a nice proverbial punch in the face. Additionally, the following song, "Egoist Hedonist" was able to capture the great sound of Duza's bass work harmonizing the fantastic keyboard/synth work of Michal Lapaj, towards the end of the song. This was followed by a bass underlayer, boosting the riff carried on Lapaj and guitarist Piotr Grudzinski, which had a beyond awesome feel.

While having piano and keyboards on the mind, I will take the time to note the incredible work of Lapaj throughout the album. His ability to to use the keys was astounding in Anno Domini High Definition, and he added another level of greatness to the already full sound. His work was able to lie under the main riff/layer, yet soar overtop and create some beautiful atmospheres. The keyboard stuck out, yet was able to hid in the melody. Additionally, I found myself reminded of the keyboard/organ work of Deep Purple's Jon Lord (RIP), and the awesome effect it brought to the music.

Still having the keyboard and synth on the mind, I am assuming al additional synth sounds are produced by keyboardist, Lapaj, and I would like to note the effectiveness of the very electronic sounds found in certain sections. It helps create the unique sound that is Riverside; I found I would keep trying to compare their sound to another artist, yet despite the Deep Purple remnants, I found I could not, for the most part. Some of the vocals did however make me think of Pain Of Salvation. With this unique music that is Riverside, there is an area in the song "Egoist Hedonist" that holds on to a horn sound, which was awesome and like a lot of the other areas, very effective.

This album carries an incredible intensity, especially towards the end, in the song "Hybrid Times", which held on to a beautifully dark atmosphere. This song, and this album, was able to capture some amazing instrumental intensities and show off what this band could do when given the chance. I was left in awe; the musical work is truly amazing. The gorgeously layered melodies were near perfection, and the tension was perfectly hanging about.

At this point I would like to make sure I do not forget to mention the incredible drummer, Piotr Kozieradzki. He had some amazing dynamics, and played with great finesse and ability. The kit sounded more than awesome on the recording, and he played the DW Collectors series set very well.

This album, Anno Domini High Definition, was brilliant. It was able to keep me incredibly interested throughout the entire performance, and I loved it. Despite the fact that the album could have ended maybe a little better, with such a high intensity performance, it feels it lacks something as an ending, but despite this, it is a great work of art. This is definitely music that deserves your time and attention. I look forward to more Riverside.

Report this review (#854023)
Posted Friday, November 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I had known of Riverside for some time now, but ADHD is my first shot at understanding the Polish progressive metal group. I must have had a really bad first few tastes at progressive metal for I really feel left out that I hadn't gotten this any sooner. The songs on ADHD are semi- long to fairly long (about the standards of a King Crimson or a Genesis), and combine 5 movement songs into one not-so-obviously unified whole. And it's only around 45 minutes which is quite an important statement in the music scene today.

But the key to the album is really in the music itself. This is progressive metal that shows off its chops only when it feels it has to. Even in the longer bouts, Riverside just seem to let the songs write themselves. There are no kneejerk transitions, very few unnecessary extensions/notes, and the album is done without any cheese factor. It's a triple win from right there.

But it keeps getting better. Mariusz Duda must have been spinning Porcupine Tree's BLANK PLANET album because I can detect similarities in both of their concepts being tongue-and- cheek observations on post-2000 techno-society. The song ''Egoist Hedonist'' is the only one that I can detect any PT musical influence, but Riverside leave it at just influence, especially with the banjo-sounding theme at the end. Keyboard player Michal Lapaj deserves a special mention for his arsenal of instruments getting many vintage sounds along with contemporary ones all benefitting the music and not distracting from it. Listen to ''Hybrid Times'' to really get the full effect of the Hammond organ sounds and how pivotal they are to the ''discorporate-to-the-music'' feel in the same way Ikey Owens has that ability on some Mars Volta tracks.

One of the most important aspects of any album I've been concerning myself with recently is the overall pace of the album; ADHD is paced beautifully. It begins with the aptly titled ''Hyperactive'' to grab the listener's attention, but then the album varies the mood throughout the album. And to culminate on one of the greatest epic tracks in recent memory, ''Hybrid Times'' (the highlight of the album), is money; the final notes let the listener know the album as a whole did build to something. Then there's ''Left Out'', one of the more mid-tempo points on the album, but to set the final piece the way it does is masterful. The song itself does what I had mentioned earlier in that it doesn't seem like a strictly composed piece, as it's more like a song that writes itself. And all throughout that number, the lead guitar punctuates the mood so accurately and effectively that it's easy to get lost in its atmosphere.

This album is ideal for any fan of progressive metal. If you haven't been sure about what the genre could do for you, ADHD is one of those albums that can blow your mind.

Report this review (#939341)
Posted Thursday, April 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars By this point, Riverside has found itself resting comfortably in the realm of Progressive Metal, shedding much of the atmospheric sound that was so pervasive in their first few albums. It is no surprise, as this is the direction they had been gradually moving to from the start, and has always been a part of their music. Nevertheless, such a dramatic change in sound and style could only be achieved by a band like this, and they truly nail it.

Perhaps another thing one notices is the relative brevity of the album, which is closer in length to classic prog albums than the previous hour-long Riverside records. This is a minor thing, but I usually find shorter albums to be more cohesive in general.

Unfortunately, unlike former albums, this one isn't as musically diverse, if only for the overall heavy sound that invades most of it. Luckily, there are only five songs, which makes this much easier to digest. This also means that it is a pretty consistent listen from beginning to end, though it doesn't seem to have the same quality tracks as previous songs like 'Second Life Syndrome' or 'Dance With Shadows.'

Song-wise, this is a bit harder to dissect, if only, again, for the album having few sections which aren't in your face heavy and intense. But it is also for this same reason the album is as good as it is. The highlights, however, would probably be the last three tracks, which clearly have the same dramatic song structure and intensity of earlier works. Suffice it to say this album is a fun listen from beginning to end.

While I still believe Riverside were at their best when balancing heavy with atmospheric, Anno Domini definitely has a lot to offer, and is certainly a solid progressive metal album.


Report this review (#1026197)
Posted Friday, August 30, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album sets the bar high for modern progressive music, and not just prog metal. This album is a veritable tour-d-force of masterfully crafted musical passages sporting both tremendous technical proficiency and emotional depth. In short, it's an accomplished modern musical work of art.

"Hyperactive" is one of the absolute best album openers I've ever heard. The reflective piano intro is slowly overtaken by a crescendoing guitar and soon drops out of the mix as the 5/8, 5/8, 4/8 rises out of nothing and whips you through a myriad of anxious, high energy alternations between riffs, lines of text, and incredible instrumental breaks. This is one of the most intriguing tracks I've ever heard, and one of the shortest songs I've never had any reservation declaring as a masterpiece.

"Driven to Destruction" is a more laid-back track with tons and tons of subtle nuances one can continue to discover with each new listen. The technical ability present in the ghost notes on the drums is enough to make me say Riverside is one of the least-obvious most- talented acts in all of modern progressive music, if that makes sense. The variety in Mariusz Duda's vocal lines also keeps things interesting and fresh here.

"Egoist Hedonist" is a track that I wasn't blown away by at first, but that certainly is changing each time I'm spinning this album. That track has so many diverse textures and moods that you can't help but be fascinated by how it actually works as a cohesive track. It demonstrates aspects of their playing that at once capitalizes on their previous strengths and shows the listener that they always have a new trick up their sleeves.

"Left Out" is the most emotional track on the album, featuring alternations between more languished vocal parts and heavy blues-inspired riffs and instrumental breaks. Again, variety is key on this track. Many moods come together to turn this track that exceeds the ten minute mark into one that is over way sooner than you would expect, in a good way.

"Hybrid Times" is without a doubt the most challenging song on this album, and possibly of their entire musical output. It begins with an alternating 10/8 and 11/8 pattern with rapid piano figurations and harmonized vocals. Multiple frantic changes occur throughout the duration of this song; one might say that they intended to present a summary of every high- anxiety progressive music trick ever crafted up to that point while making them sound entirely their own and add a few more tricks to that list and you might not be too far off the mark. It indeed rips you out of your comfort zone in many ways and does not stop for anything. I don't know how one could digest this track in one sitting, and after multiple repeats I'm still trying to figure it out. All I know is it's one of their most challenging, yet exciting tracks ever, and I'm totally convinced it's a masterpiece track.

This album marked a notable difference in the direction of Riverside's writing. It's an album that shatters barriers and says exactly what it wants concisely and unapologetically. I am thoroughly convinced that it is their best, most accomplished entry into their discography from my point of view, and qualifies as a vital entry into the annals of progressive music history. This album is flawless from start to finish, and I cannot praise them enough for balancing such a high level of subtle, yet undeniable technical mastery with emotional strength. Highly recommended for anyone wishing to hear something that shatters musical boundaries and pushes the envelope without losing focus. Also recommended for fans of highly proficient musicianship. 5 stars, no question.

Report this review (#1026881)
Posted Sunday, September 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars Anno Domini High Definition is a solid piece of dark prog metal that continues Riverside's winning streak. While it doesn't quite grab hold of the listener as strongly as their earlier work, which had a more emotive and personal resonance, Anno Domini HD is undeniably excellent. After many listens I found myself being consciously aware that it wasn't having a strong impact on me, but nonetheless loving the heavy crunching, complex rhythms, and layers of electronic textures.

Riverside's style takes the best elements of modern prog from the past 15 years and turns it into something distinct and entertaining despite sounding somewhat derivative. On Anno Domini HD, the group focuses on intensity and instrumental virtuosity. There are few open sections within, or between songs, which was a trademark of earlier work. Here we've got an almost constant up beat tempo and interplay between instruments, with bassist Duda and keyboardist Lapaj standing out to me as the strongest contributors. Lapaj especially is experimenting with new sounds that give the album that sort of "high tech" feel, which is a theme prevalent in the lyrics. As a whole, the band plays very tight, very intense, and very metal (in Riverside's distinct, bass-heavy and almost mellow way).

The songwriting is good, though suffers from the album's focus on intensity. Giving more space for us to enjoy the journey would have been nice, rather than focusing on instrumental virtuosity that is the standard for the genre; at least we can appreciate it being something different for Riverside. The lyrics are, conventionally, dark. Duda's dynamic voice is smooth throughout, another nice trademark that distinguishes Riverside from most metal bands, singing lyrics about the struggle for individuality in modern life and addiction to stress/electronics (with a bit of Plato's "The Cave" thrown in). They're poetic, cynical, and well sung.

All in all another great album from one of the best modern prog acts around, though not their best.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 4 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#1413297)
Posted Wednesday, May 13, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5/5

And then there were four....

Mariusz Duda, when interviewed, often likes to draw attention to a couple of things: that Riverside has a recognizably distinctive sound, and the band does not like to remain static in that sound. These facts are abundantly clear nowadays, but I warrant that even after three albums, the second point was not so obvious. The Trilogy introduced an unmistakable Riverside-ish musical Gestalt, one that essentially defined them and even though there were some differences from album to album (especially in regard to how heavy they became), there really was a unity of sound that likely has helped pigeonhole them in the "progressive" category from which it is proving difficult for the guys to extract themselves (in fact, anyone who has paid any attention at all to interviews and comments over the past couple of years will realize that being styled 'progressive metal' is somewhat of a Duda bugbear).

Anno Domini High Definition (ADHD), their fourth album (with its four-word title and double-entendre acronym) was the first album where this desire for stylistic change became undeniably manifest. And what a change it was. It must have seemed as if they were not just abandoning their lush progressive roots, but dropkicking them into the next solar system. The guys took their sumptuous atmospheric sound and slammed it head on into a heavy metal wall; they embraced it so enthusiastically one might even suspect they were eager for a change. The lush keyboards acquired a much harder edge. The guitars are dense and raunchy and full of relentless energy, the bass punchy and riff-heavy, taking the lead like it had never done before. Piotr Kozieradzki must have been in drum heaven on this one, with his extensive death metal background. No acoustic guitar, no ballads, no real soft pieces except the start of "Left Out'. For all that, Duda's first point stands: There is no doubt we are listening to Riverside -- their distinctive core stands untouched.

The album is a departure in more ways than music. It looks very different: designed by Travis Smith, but with a glaringly bright red cover instead of the more subdued, darker tones he is noted for. And it was not recorded at Serakos Studio by the by the Szredniccys, but elsewhere, by others. Taken all together the message is clear: Pay Heed, Things Have Changed.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that ADHD may well be the band's most polarizing album. There are those who didn't know what to make of the sudden swerve away from the great sweeping soundscapes of the Trilogy and towards sheer headbanging metalness, and for whom this album sees little play; on the other hand I know of folks who aren't necessarily fans, but when they do play a Riverside album, this is the one they reach for. And then there are the fans (I among them) that ended up embracing the album completely and unreservedly. It did take me a while to come around to it, but if the criteria of consistency, energy, performance, song writing skill, lyric chops etc. mean anything at all, this album surpasses all the rest of the discography in almost all categories. Whatever the case, it sure as hell worked. The result is a mighty, in-your-face, relentlessly kick-ass chordfest that set the band's bar high enough they have not yet managed to surpass it. In short: this album is astonishingly good.

If Inspiration had been largely somnolent for REM, she awoke with a vengeance for ADHD. "Hyperactive" begins the album with a simple introductory piano theme and then kicks into high gear; from there and through the rest of the tracks the album really never lets up. All the songs demonstrate the band's complete mastery over intricate and shifting song structures but in metal mode this time, and all of them are compellingly, blazingly powerful and consistent. There are, however, a couple of clear standouts.

"Driven to Destruction" begins with a massively iconic opening bass line, upon which the buzzing guitar riffs, dense keys and drums build relentlessly into a monster, chugging track. Duda punctuates his deceptively soft vocals with barks, growls and distortion, and Mitloff drums like he is having the time of his life. This song is as heavy as all getout.

But the real revelation, the mightiest track on the album, and perhaps the only one that can rival "Second Life Syndrome" as the greatest song the band has ever produced, is the extraordinary "Left Out". It just might be the perfect Riverside song, the acme of their collective achievement. Every single element works exactly as it should, and where it has the edge over "Second Life Syndrome" is in the lyrics, which may well be among the finest that Mariusz Duda has yet written for Riverside. This massive epic is a musical and emotional tour de force, a marvel of songwriting; it begins here and eleven minutes later ends up way over there, and you have no idea how that happened...but it is an exhilarating ride.

As it turns out, ADHD was the first album in a new trilogy, a set of albums whose lyric themes continue to address Duda's intense interest in being human and coping in a complex, ever-changing, often distressingly impersonal world, but from a more sociological, less psychological perspective. ADHD may also represent some of the most mature, smartest, and directly incisive lyric writing he has done for Riverside, with the possible exception of the Memories in My Head EP.

To my mind this is the Riverside album where everything coalesced, where all the elements finally come together: ambition, superb performances, intricate and astonishing song writing, beautifully evocative lyrics, all built on a rock-solid foundation of sheer exhilaration. At a shade over 44 minutes in length, it is their shortest studio album to date, but this length (very probably a deliberate result of Duda's continuing fascination with number games ' note the four word title) may well have worked in its favour. There is not a wasted note or riff or idea on this album. It is heavy and tight, monstrously hard and joyful; I'm sure I could quibble about details here and there, but you know, they really are not worth mentioning.

Report this review (#1450355)
Posted Saturday, August 8, 2015 | Review Permalink
The Crow
5 stars After the slightly disappointing Rapid Eye Movement, Riverside returned to top form with one of their best albums to date!

Based on a concept which talks about uncommunication and isolation in modern society given by technology, hedonism and egoism, Riverside managed to create five wonderful songs in the vein of Second Life Syndrome (not so dark like Rapid Eye Movement) but even heavier, making this album their hardest to date.

The album is more guitar oriented than their previous three and the keyboards are also rockier, with extensive use of Hammond, making this album sound a bit less symphonic and more straightforward heavy prog. The drumming is also fantastic and so are the incredible bass lines and mellow (and sometiemes really harsh) singing of Mariusz.

Best tracks: all of them! But Left Out is a marvelous melancholic classic.

Conclusion: Anno Domini High Definition is one of the highest peaks in Riverside's career in terms of quality, and it's also their heaviest record. All five tracks are just an outstanding sample of modern prog rock at its best, making this album one of the most prominent of the last decade.

A masterpiece of music in general and an absolute must for every prog lover!

My rating: *****

Report this review (#2052580)
Posted Sunday, November 4, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars Anno Domini High Definition is the confirmation of Riverside as one of the best exponents of progressive rock of the 2000s. With a heavier sound than the previous three albums, the concept, the interpretive quality and the execution, are developed reliably during their almost 42 minutes long.

Including some nods to Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree, Mariusz Duda and his bandmates intertwine 5 songs seamlessly or lows, combining euphoric moments with masterfully constructed laid-back atmospheres. There isn't one song that stands out in particular, simply because they are all at a superlative level, further enhanced by impeccable production work. The main protagonists are the always clean and deep guitar of Piotr Grudziński and the keyboards of Michal Lapai, much more present and active compared to any previous work by Riverside.

From the aggressive Hyperactive, we enjoy a constant and dynamic proposal that stays active with Driven to Destruction, and is further intensified by the powerful and changeable Egoist Hedonism (impeccable keyboards and vocals from Mariusz Duda in the middle of the song). To close the album, two long songs, the superb Left Out of almost 11 minutes (half a calm song and the rest an irrepressible whirlwind) and the super progressive Hybrid Times of 12 minutes (again the keyboards present, decidedly protagonists).

Anno Domini High Definition is one of Riverside's strongest work, and undoubtedly a fundamental work of progressive music of the present century.

Report this review (#2451504)
Posted Sunday, September 27, 2020 | Review Permalink

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