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4 stars If you are looking for a new Nine Stones Close album, you may need to wait for that. However, you have come to the right place to hear a familiar voice. I sampled this album a week ago, and got drawn in to the high production value and the highly addictive atmospheric rock. I was wondering where I heard the vocals before, until one of the tracks came on with a very familiar phrasing. That is where I pieced it together, along with some research, that this was another project for Marc Atkinson. He has a stellar voice that fits the more mellow tempo of this project perfectly. I bought both albums at the same time, and I think The Tide is up a slight notch over the predecessor Out Of An Ancient World, but both are excellent and I listen to them at the same time in a long playlist. Tracks like Blasphemy and Uprising are absolutely stunning standouts for me, but there are no filler tracks here. The album flows like a piece of heaven, so get on your cloud and relax. The vibe is very similar to the Hogarth era Marillion albums for those new to the band. This is a well crafted, well executed, and well written release of modern progressive rock. 4.5 stars and highly recommended.
Report this review (#1918261)
Posted Sunday, April 29, 2018 | Review Permalink
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Not to be confused with a certain heavy Polish act with a very similar name, UK melodic song- based Neo-proggers Riversea return with their second album `The Tide' in 2018, and an endlessly tasteful and sophisticated follow-up it is. Instead of drawn out show-boating soloing, core and founding members Brendan Eyre (keyboards) and singer Marc Atkinson offer elegant song-writing carried by strong vocals and dramatic little bursts of instrumental colour in and around the tunes, reminding of Canadian band Mystery or something like a punchier version of the Steve Hogarth- fronted version of Marillion (especially their more tightly written albums like `Season's End', `Afraid of Sunlight' and `Radiation', less so the mumbling rambling ones!).

`The Tide' ponders everything from modern terror acts, social observations, spiritual belief and looking back on ones life, so lyrically it is reflective and perhaps gently melancholic, yet frequently retaining traces of hope and optimism. Many of the performers from the first album are back for this second effort - David Clements and Alex Cromarty are here on bass and drums, and there's contributions from guitarists Peter Aves, Paul Cusick, Galahad's Lee Abraham, Cosmograf's Robin Armstrong, Tinyfish's Simon Godfrey and Cloud Atlas' Martin Ledger, alongside flautist Tony Patterson and backing vocals courtesy of Mostly Autumn's Olivia Sparnenn and others.

Opener `The Tide' is just the sort of piece every Neo fans like to hear pop up on albums of this kind. Ice-cool synths, crisp guitars and a melodic yet not commercial edge with an emotional chorus of Marc's silken and charismatic voice, and its recurring piano melodies are sublime. `Shine' adds a touch of modern Arena-like toughness and slinking electronic danger, and while another standout `Blasphemy' refuses to divert into big bold soloing, it still lifts in a tightly dramatic build around news soundbites. The solemn `Your Last Day' reflects on mortality with several urgent guitar solos, `Drowning In Vertigo' contains hypnotic luxuriant harmonies, and the lush Marillion-like chorus of the refugee-themed `Strange Land' offers the deeply compassionate lyric `Take us in, feed us love, give us hope...'

There's a strident energy to `The Design' with its glistening keys and burning guitar soloing, a darkly weary jazzy shuffle to the sombre `Fall Out Warning', and the beautiful `Goodbye My Friend' is a touching yet gently wistful ballad that still finds moments for livelier and uplifting bursts. `To Those That Are Left Behind' is a short pensive interlude, and the lyrically defiant `Uprising' works in a pleading vocal, chiming guitar wisps and shimmering electric piano tiptoes full of mystery before the disc concludes on a final send-off reprise of the opening title-track.

While there's perhaps just a couple too many songs here, the majority of the pieces drift along in a fairly similar mid-tempo manner and some will wish the instrumental passages were longer, `The Tide' is still an extremely classy and polished work of supreme taste and great dignity performed with impeccable skill, and it makes for an endlessly enjoyable and undemanding light prog listen full of an admirable humanity that more albums in this genre should have.

Four stars.

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Posted Tuesday, December 25, 2018 | Review Permalink

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