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Riverside - Rapid Eye Movement CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.79 | 878 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars That schizophrenic side is catching up to them...

It would appear that the jury's still out on the Polish breakout band, Riverside's third album, Rapid Eye Movement. While most fans of the band say that the album is on par with the rest of the band's work the other side of the coin (the critics and other audiences) have gotten around to saying that the band is showing decline in the quality of their work. Well, both sides are right, really. When it comes down to the line with this album it's showing more of what Riverside is good at while showing a bit of a grey area where they seem to lose themselves a bit. Present still are the hard rocking riffs, the haunting vocals and the dark keyboards, but something seems to be absent. Previous albums could hold the listener over from start to finish, while this one seems to be more of an album that grabs you with certain tracks and loses you on others. Maybe it's the lack of instrumentals, something fans of the band have come to expect and love, and maybe it's the lack of aggression displayed on an effort like Second Life Syndrome, but something about this album just doesn't sit right after repeated listens.

In general, this is a much moodier album than we're used to from the band. This works well to the effect that the band was going for, especially on an album that is to complete a very mood-filled trilogy. The songs are generally darker and more midpaced, and as opposed to a blistering opener like Volte-face that opened the previous album we have Beyond The Eyelids, one of the album's standouts that starts with a slow and echoed voice, moving into a trudgingly paced tune. Most of the songs are like this, although there are some rockers still to be found such as the more or less industrial pace of 02 Panic Room or the bass heavy Rainbow Box.

Some of the songs are unfortunately forgettable. Where the other albums where wholly solid throughout, often strung together by those wonderful instrumentals, this album shows the band switching to shorter song format, with mixed results. For the most parts the songs work well together and no song is particularly weak, but after a while of not listening to the album you may not be able to bring any of it to mind of immediate recollection. Most of the ''second side'' (the album is broken up into two parts) is hard to remember because of its pace and atmosphere. Luckily, one of Riverside's lengthiest compositions to date sits waiting at the end of the album. Ultimate Trip shows Riverside at the top of their progressive game and back in the area of Second Life Syndrome with this dark and heavy, speedy-where-it-needs-to-be epic that should leave any prog-head satisfied.

So in the end this one is not as impressive as the others in the catalog to date. It is no doubt a good album, that much we can expect from this band, but fans of the band are better off starting with their other material and working their way here, as opposed to the other way around. If you fancy yourself a fan of the band this will certainly satisfy, and if you like dark and heavy music then this will likely find its way into your collection. 3.5 stars for a good album, but not recommended over their earlier works.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |


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