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4 stars When a band like Riverside decides to unveil to the light a new album, its only natural that it develops into a media involved event, to the pleasure of all prog lovers as God commands. In this case we are talking about Rapid Eye Movement, the album that's born after the band of Mariusz Duda and Co. have been enough consolidated their career.Being this band one of the most important rock proposes from Europe,nowadays and it's the third phase of "Reality Dream" Trilogy as they have named their whole albums released consisting in Out of Myself(2004),Second Life Syndrome(2005)and Rapid Eye Movement(September 2007) The album itself contains pieces of a paragon able level to their previous albums,without ever falling into absurd repetitions or impersonations of themselves. Riverside is a band that like Porcupine Tree, is creating the history of rock in our times. It begins with: *Beyond The Eyelids*, showing a heavy power enviable for other present metal bands. Duda's Voice is a fundamental part of the song and the entire album,as first track its a great start for the album. * Rainbow Box* has a scent of the 80's rock pop in its realization, could be qualified as "easy listening" nevertheless has a great impact.It reminds me vaguely some The Police songs. *02 Panic Room*,the first single, is a very complex track. Reunites various electronic elements with some Middle East influences and amazing riffs rarely listened in their previous material;which means a great deal of maturity and musical evolution. *Schizophrenic Prayer*, is without hesitation my favorite track of the entire album, my selection consists in the emotional interpretation of Duda, showing once more why he's one of the best rock singers presently. The atmosphere of the track is so deep it reminds me to some aspects of Dead Can Dance's music scratching in some folk characteristics which, not even close get to ruin the concept; one of the best parts of the album and my absolute favorite. *Parasomnia*, reminds me a lot to the track Out of Myself, but with its own personality. Some previous listeners say already it is the best track of the album.I will listen to it more profoundly. *Through The Other Side* is a semiacustic ballad, it reminds a very enjoyable sort of blues prog version, it makes you take a breath and recharge for the next track: *Embryonic*, also one of my favorites in this album. From the title it's easy to understand the feeling of total strangeness to the world, as if you were in an embryonic state of mind, to be exact. Very touching and one of my favorite Riverside ballads, comparable to The Curtain Falls,extract from the album Out of Myself or Us,from the EP Voices In My Head. *Cybernetic Pillow*.It's the classic sounds like-Riverside track, full of energetic drum sections alternated with bass riffs and a powerful guitar, a mind-blowing interpretation in general. *Ultimate Trip*,concludes this effort with a mix of classic prog rock with keyboards "a lá Yes" and powerfully structured with a rhythmic guitar of great effect. The intro reminds me a little of the song Once by Blackfield,casualty or coincidence...?Plus the outro is the same than the start on the song The Same River.Closing this awesome musical trip All and all, Riverside is a band that transmits plenty emotions and shows every time even bigger technical quality and better interpretations. Poland must be proud of having such a band like them. Rapid Eye Movement will most securely be a great success for the polish band, this being of minor relevance, since they won't never be a mainstream band; being good for one side for they keep a privilege status in the elitist world of modern prog, but for the other side it would be positive if they were recognized in an internationally basis.

My rating for Rapid Eye Movement is 9/10

Report this review (#135185)
Posted Tuesday, August 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars If a band fails to progress musically, musicians should at least change their sound. If they fail to change their manner, they should at least write few catchy melodies or improve their level of musicianship. If they refuse to do it too, they may lose some fans. Unfortunately, RIVERSIDE is that kind of band for me now. It’s not like they disappointed me bitterly, I still like their almost brilliant SLS, but I won’t recommend any other album of them to get immediately.

REM is a huge step back for RIVERSIDE. It sounds like their debut, which had some nice songs, but was hardly as much progressive/innovative/interesting as SLS. This time they’ve returned to more vast and less tight sound, and some songs sound simply like fillers, lyrically chewing over and over the same old themes (split personality/paranoia/insomnia/you continue) and musically running through the same old clichés (oriental riffs, background keyboards, predictable simple structures etc). “Beyond the Eyelids” has actually reminded of good old RIVERSIDE first (wonderful intro), but later it mutilated into psychedelic stuff a-la mid-period PORCUPINE TREE. Damn, I don’t want PT, I want RIVERSIDE!!! And further it goes that way. Closing 13-min long “epic” is another psyche trip; nothing related to “Second Life Syndrome”/”Dance with Shadow” kind of thing, more like “The Same River” from debut but played in reverse. I wonder what the level of bonustracks on special edition is, but I have no further wish to dig deeper into RIVERSIDE (to be fairly honest). Not recommended if you didn’t quite like SLS, but not terribly bad after all.

Report this review (#140347)
Posted Monday, September 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Autumn has come and the best thing I needed was such a depressing album, musically and lyrically. With the exception of extended (comparing to the single version) "02 Panic Room' and to some point 'Ultimate Trip' the melodic richness of 'Out of Myself' and touch of genius in composition from 'Second Life Syndrome' are absent. Coincinentally, absence is the main theme of the album - the one the hero broke up with at the beginning of 'Out Of Myself' is definitely gone, and the more the hero realizes it, the deeper the pain to the point that the 'Ultimate Trip' title suggests - probably ends in drugs. Therefore the tracks sound similar - well, it is not a drawback, the album is coherent and consistent, yet gloomy and sad. Not a best starter for autumn. The logical conclusion of 'Reality Dream Trilogy', the other choice being reconciliation of heroes, with angelic voices. Dreadful perspective. Judging in the light of whole trilogy, it is very good album, good end of the story. I am not sure whether it will stand for itself, especially comparing to Out Of Myself and Second Life Syndrome. The trilogy is over, what is going to happen to Riverside - I don't know. This album however, as they realized their intentions IMHO, deserves 4 stars.
Report this review (#140530)
Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars No more in the lion's den.

I don't know if it's me, or Riverside did some anger management therapy? Their new album presents more mellow moments and songs, aiming closer and closer to the late Pink Floyd period and even flirting with Depeche Mode for short moments. I was surprised at first listen, the high aggressivety of Second Life Syndrome is long gone. Surely the edgy guitars, catchy bass lines and occasionnal grunting can still be heard, but in general the album can disappoint brutality seekers. But that's not all, very can still hear Riverside's calling cards: hypnotic musical segments, David Gilmour guitar style and wispering vocals.

Riverside did shock me with that tame approach and short songs, but on the other side we see where they wanted to go: Riverside is one of the 5 hottest bands around but the metal side can repel many fans. And now, more people can potentially like the band and be new fans without all that rage, making it more accessible...well, this is how I see it.

Riverside was doing well in the 'very heavy' category. Let's see how they're doing in the 'simply heavy' bin.

Listen before buying.

Read 3 1/2 stars.

Report this review (#140999)
Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Riverside has done it again releasing yet another masterpiece with their third and final part of their Reality Dream Trilogy. Their tag as an up and coming band should now be thrown aside. They really are one of the finest bands to have graced the progressive metal genre. Rapid Eye Movement is an even more depressing and darker album than its predecessors. This is a much more atmospheric release, there's a lot of subtlety here. The stand out tracks on this album are the three epic pieces 'Beyond the Eyelids', 'Parasomnia' and the astounding 'The Ultimate Trip', this is quintessential Riverside. But the rest of the album is also great. The ballad 'Embryonic' is another standout, a beautiful track with an awesome solo at the end. While I wouldn't say it exceeds their previous 2 efforts, it definitely is worthy of sitting beside those amazing albums.
Report this review (#141423)
Posted Tuesday, October 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars It IS a masterpiece of prog rock/prog metal. Riverside has found their own style. It isn't just Polish band playing like Anathema, Porcupine Tree, Opeth and Dream Theater, because they have already reached the same level and now they are one of the biggest progressive bands. "Rapid Eye Movement" is a third part of the trilogy, so it's rather similar to other Riverside albums. But this one is the best. It has a little more space in the sound, the producers did a great job. It's more original. Of course, fans of Porcupine Tree or Opeth would like it, but, like i said, it's Riverside and they play their own music. What about their style? It's very emotional. Sometimes melancholic and silent, sometimes angry and agressive... And simply beautiful. Try listening to "Behind The Eyelids" - there are crunchy riffs, virtuoso solos, melancholic parts and - what's most important - beautiful melodies. I don't want to write about it, I love listening to it. That is why this is the end of the review. I can't describe such a great album with words and I don't want to, it's just music. Listen to it, don't write...
Report this review (#142012)
Posted Thursday, October 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars There is nothing wrong in adoring Porcupine Tree! Steven Wilson is imho one of the finest musicians in Progworld. There is nothing wrong in getting REAL excited of the music Riverside has made in the past few years. For me one of the revelations of the new millennium. But......what a shame.....Riverside obviously adores Steven Wilson THIS much that they are copying his style, voice, well...just about everything. They've left their own identity behind and crawled in the skin of mister Wilson. "Rapid Eye Movement" is NOT the music I want to hear from Riverside. Well made, no discussion about that, but not Riverside. Any starting band sounding like this, will get great reviews AND the advice to work on their own sound and personality. But this new effort of a (once) great band is a huge dissappointment to me.
Report this review (#142236)
Posted Friday, October 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not as good as Second Life Syndrome, missing the more tension building moments. Having said that, the first 3 songs are all very good (the first track is magnificent!) and the "Ultimate Trip" is great. So, can it live up to the first two albums? Not completely, especially the middle part of the CD is somewhat dull in my opinion, whereas the former two albums had no flaws. Maybe Mariusz should not have put such a great stamp on this album and let the others do a bit more "their thing". All said, still 4 stars, and well recommended, if it was only for the first and last track (which are 5+ stars worth...)
Report this review (#142579)
Posted Sunday, October 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars What you are listening to are musicians performing psychedelic music mainly under the influence of mind altering band called Porcupine Tree. Nevertheless, the band has got ITS OWN distinct sound and feeling and any comparisons to Porcupine Tree only serve to make clear that the band plays in the same league BUT NOT IN THE SAME WAY. Riverside DOES NOT poorly mimic Wilson's achievements, sound and whatever else. As I said before: it is their own distinct sound and distinct touch to the music that gave them popularity and widespread acclaim. Would anyone listen to a poor fake and rate it so high...?

All this said now to the point: "Reality Dream" mission completed and to be quite honest: successfully completed! Such an amazing and brilliant album should get a lengthy and very detailed description of its sound contents but how to describe in words the almost highest precision of the production of the music on REM, melodies, emotions, ...? Nevertheless a few statements must be made here: first of all I can hear at some moments a female voice on this album (one of the most vivid examples is "Parasomnia". Or are they only voices in my head??). Secondly, the production is far better than on OOM and SLS (not that I'm saying that OOM and SLS were poorly produced, NO!), the percussion is more "visible", the guitar (what a distinctive sound! really great job by Piotr Grudzinski!) riffs are powerful and powerfully performed and finally, Duda's voice is very good as usual.

Tracks (in short of course because they must be heard not described [which is obvious]):

1. Beyond the Eyelids - (fantastic Michal Lapaj on keybords and extraordinary weeping guitar riffs!!!) Beyond the words... : 10/10

2. Rainbow Box (Duda's great singing): 9/10

3. 02 Panic Room (a new taste to Riverside, hypnotising, enchanting, great tribal drumming by Mittloff, silence, piano and acoustic guitar): 10/10

4. Schizophrenic Prayer (schizophrenic sound effects produced by a schizophrenic human being!): 10/10

5. Parasomnia (heavy metal riffs, a very powerful song): 10/10

6. Through The Other Side (slower and mellow track): 9/10

7. Embryonic (mellow): 8/10

8. Cybernetic Pillow (energetic drumming, guitar riffs): 9/10

9. Ultimate Trip (massive, ultimate beauty): 10/10

All in all, REM combines the overpowering beauty of OOM, the crashing power of SLS and some new prog elements!!! No new lands of progressive music discovered here but a well-known excellent Riverside + some new, "exotic" prog sounds. Highly recommended, a must have for a Riverside and prog music fan! Really Exceptional Music, 4,5 stars!!

P.S. There is also a 2CD version of this album. The disc nr 2 has:

1. Behind The Eyelids (thumbs up!)

2. Lucid Dream IV (quite decent)

3. 02 Panic room (a very good remix)

4. Back To The River (back to the Pink Floyd for a moment... - great!)

5. Rapid Eye Movement (Really Exceptional Masterpiece [the band was to humble to call it that way...])

Total time of Disc 2 is 33:26

Report this review (#142682)
Posted Monday, October 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The third installment in Riverside's trilogy sees the band looking for even less metal sounds than in the first two - excellent - albums. Why this band is listed as prog metal is beyond me, anyway. I have just listened to this album five times in a row, and it's been quite some time since a new album got this treament. It appeals to me no end. Highly melodic, with indeed more than a hint of Porcupine Tree (whom I adore). I can see why some critics would be disappointed and see this as a step back, but all I can say is I like the result. The final detail, ending with a similar radio being tuned as where the first album started, works well too. Best song for me is the album closer (Ultimate trip). A must hear if you liked the other Riverside albums. A must hear if you like Porcupine Tree.
Report this review (#143713)
Posted Thursday, October 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars The debut album entitled Out Of Myself by the very popular new Polish progrock band Riverside sounded to me already captivating and exciting but the successor Second Life Syndrome turned me into a Riverside freak, how compelling and loaded with tension and great dynamics! So I was very curious to their new effort and decided to buy this Limited Edition 2-CD, it contains on CD-1 the 9 new albums songs and on CD-2 5 new songs, including 3 EP tracks (02 Panic Room as a remix).

CD-1: At least half of the new material is in the vein of Second Life Syndrome, especially in the exciting opener Beyond The Eyelids (progmetal guitar and drums, interesting keyboard variety like lush Hammond organ and sensitive electric guitar runs in the end), the dynamic Parasomnia (emotional vocals and captivating work on guitar and keyboards) and the long, very alternating and compelling final song Ultimate Trip (varied keyboards, wonderful guitars and a sumptuous final part with swirling Hammond organ). But I also hear songs in which the emphasis is more on creating atmospheres and less on exciting guitars, keyboards and breaks like the hypnotizing Schizophrenic Prayer (fragile work on guitar and piano, intense vocals and a guest percussionist, very moving), Through The Other Side (twanging guitar and almost whispering vocals) and the dreamy Embryonic (beautiful vocals and acoustic guitar with a sensitive guitar solo in the end). And some songs showcase a more accesible and less dark side of Riverside like the dynamic Rainbow Box (fiery guitar eruptions, cynical vocals, bombastic Hammond organ with raw guitar and sweeping drums) and Cybernetic Pillow (tight beat with propulsive guitar riffs, soaring keyboards, melancholical vocals and a final part with bombastic keyboards and fiery guitar). Riverside has slightly changed its musical direction but their sound remains very distinctive and captivating although I prefer their previous effort as more exciting and more compelling

CD-2: I only review the first en final track, for the other three: see my EP review. The opener Behind The Eyelids starts with soaring keyboards, then a slow rhythm with subtle work on guitar and electric piano, the sound becomes more lush with powerful Hammond organ and the final part delivers pleasant syntehsizer flights. The instrumental Rapid Eye Movement ( at about 13 minutes) is a great final composition: after a keyboard driven intro follows a strong build-up with a pulsating sequencer sound , fiery electric guitar runs, halfway culminating in a hypnotizing beat with an almost psychedelic atmosphere featuring SF sounds, sensitive guitar and piano runs, what an exciting musical experience in which Riverside is scouting new musical boundaries.

If you don't own the EP 02 Panic Room, it's worth to buy this Limited Edition 2-CD. In case you own that EP only two new songs remain on CD-2 but for me these are excellent and a reason to buy this 2-CD set!

Report this review (#143734)
Posted Thursday, October 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars 3.5 actually. I was in poland in the very week the album was released and I promised myself I would buy it. the shop had around 5 shelves dedicated to this Riverside album. And they had a pretty good reason for it! Rapid Eye Movement continues right from where Second Life Syndrom ended. Duda keeps on with his great melancholic, soft, yet angry vocals. Grudzinski with strong guitar parts, Lapaj with essential keyboard rolls, and Kozieradzk with good, and energetic drum works. The first four tracks are currently my favorites, especially Beyond the Eyelids and Rainbow Box. I tend to get out of focus (and a little bit bored) in part II of the album, but I hope to connect to "fearland" too. Anway, R.E.M is a very nice album, and though it might not be considered as good as Second Life Syndrom, I believe it deserves it's appreciation. And therefore I give it 4 stars. Long live riverside and prog rock!

Report this review (#144275)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I discovered this good Polish band some three years ago and I was fascinated by "The Same River" which was the opening number of their debut album. Although this song has never been superseded so far, "Riverside" continued to produce good quality music.

This album is not really a prog-metal one IMO. More on the spacey side. The link with "Porcupine Tree" is obvious to me and even if "Riverside" fans might be surprised, I think it is a nice experience to listen to. This comparison might have something to do with the harder "PT" sound which is noticeable in some of their later work.

"Rapid Eye Movement" is also more acoustic-oriented than previous "Riverside" works. Both "Through The Other Side" (rather atmospheric, ambient but uniform) and "Embryonic" are perfect examples. They do not belong to my faves from the band but it contributes to give a more diversified angle to this album. We are indeed far from the true metal music from their previous album "Second Life Syndrome ".

There will also be some strong numbers to balance a too soft mood, don't worry. "Parasomnia" is a dark, scary and highly energetic piece of music while "Cybernetic Pillow" is a classic "Riverside" song : great and hypnotic riff and great guitar play from Piotr (I really like his approach). It has an Eastern flavour which is rather pleasant.

I would have hoped a more "prog" structure for the long "Ultimate Trip". Instead it is a good prog-metal song with a more dominant keyboards sound. It is at times rather heavy but always upbeat. Piotr on the guitar does again a fantastic job (but this is familar by now). The typical whispering from Mariuz are there to comfort you. And if not ultimate, it is a nice trip indeed.

All in all, this is another good "Riverside" album. A good mix of metal (but not too much) and space-rock. Three stars.

Report this review (#144635)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Riverside - Rapid Eye Movement

Of course, being a big fan of Riverside and Porcupine Tree, I was very exited about Riverside's latest album, Rapid Eye Movement. Did Riverside meet my high expectations? Not exactly. Is "Rapid Eye Movement" a very good and solid album? It surely is!

Then why won't I rate this album quite as high as its two predecessors? I rated "Out Of Myself" 5 stars, mainly because of the surprise factor. All out of nothing we saw this Polish Progressive Rock band emerging the Prog Rock scene. I also rated "Second Life Syndrome" 5 stars, because I simply found it a better album than Riverside's debut. It was more heavy-edged and therefore also a very welcome surprise. And what about "Rapid Eye Movement"? I think it has many wonderful tracks on it, but the surprise-factor is gone and it's also more polished than 'Second Life Syndrome". Therefore I will rate it 4 solid stars.

Now a bit more about the album itself. "Rapid Eye Movement" is the closing chapter of the "Reality Dream Trilogy" and I find it a worthy one. All tracks are "medium to good" and once again there's not a single bad track on this album. If you buy this album make sure you buy the 2 CD version. It comes in a digipak with once again the wonderful cover art by Travis Smith (seempieces).

The album disc once again consists out of 9 tracks. Those 9 tracks are subdivided in two parts, PART ONE: Fearless (the first 5 tracks) and PART TWO Fearland (the last 4 tracks).

DISC ONE - PART ONE: Fearless. The first two tracks, "Beyond Eyelids" and "Rainbow Box" are OK, but surely no highlights of the album. Track 3 it the very powerful track "02 Panic Room", which was already available earlier this year in the form of an EP. This track is very very good things even get better by the following track "Schizophrenic Prayer". WOW, I truly LOVE this song! Mariusz Duda's vocals are so powerful; especially the sighing part in this track is simply amazing! Track 5 "Parasomnia" is also a very good track, but can't quite meet up with the standards set by the two preceding tracks. Wonderful mid section by the subtle keys of Michal Lapaj.

DISC ONE - PART TWO: Fearland. Track 6, "Trough the Other Side" is a very subtle short track followed by "Embryonic". "Embryonic" is also quite short, but it has a very strong melody and wonderful guitar play by Piotr Grudzinski. It is another small highlight of this album. Track 8 "Cybernetic Pillow" is quite OK, but we find the true masterpiece of this album in track # 9 "Ultimate Trip". This track is exactly that!

DISC TWO: This bonus disc is almost an exact copy of the "02 Panic Room EP". Almost, because the EP did not have Track one "Behind the Eyelids" on it. First I though it was an exact copy of the 1st track of the 1st disc, but you have to read carefully! It says Behind NOT beyond. I actually prefer this track! Track 2, 3 and 4 also can be found on the "02 Panic Room EP". Once more I'd like to mention that track 4 "Back to the River" is a very fine track with the small Pink Floyd tribute (Shine On You Crazy Diamond) in it. Track 5 "Rapid Eye Movement" is a new track and I find it somewhat strange that the title track of the album is placed on the bonus disc. "Rapid Eye Movement" is a 12+ minute instrumental track in the vein of the late Pink Floyd and of Porcupine Tree's - The Sky Moves Sideways album. Great!

Report this review (#148538)
Posted Friday, November 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Polish Prog Metal four piece, Riverside were totally unknown to me until the release Rapid Eye Movement, their third studio album. I'm certainly glad to have discovered them though as it's turning out to be one of my favourite 2007 releases in an already great year in the Progressive Rock genre. Like Porcupine Tree I think that Riverside could appeal to music fans outside the Prog field as they have a fairly modern take on their Prog Metal and there's certainly plenty of moments where it would appear that they have been influenced by them.

The album gets off to an impressive start with Beyond the Eyelids and we get a good three and a half minute (nearly) instrumental workout before the vocals come in. Rich Keyboard sounds compete with heavy riffing, a bit Dream Theater-ish in places, although this comparison is not prevalent throughout the album. The interplay between the band is excellent which is complimented by the very good vocals of Mariusz Duda who also doubles up on Bass.

It would be unfair to describe Riverside as a purely Prog Metal band as much of the material has a Psychedelic sound too leading to more Porcupine Tree comparisons, Schizophrenic Prayer being a prime example. Don't let the Porcupine Tree comparisons make you think that Riverside are a copy band though, they have many of their own characteristics which give them their own sound.

Incidently, the album is split into two parts, Part one being titled Fearless and part two, Fearland. Fearless is certainly more immediate and stronger but not taking anything away from the four songs that make up Fearland; it's still very good. We get some nice acoustic moments in Through the Other Side and Embryonic before getting back to full throttle for Cybernetic Pillow and thirteen minute closer Ultimate Trip, which is well titled due to the trippy mid section which slowly builds to close the album.

On the strength of this release there's no doubt that I'll be buying their previous albums. It's also worth shelling out a few more bucks for the limited edition which contains a bonus disc featuring material from the O2 Panic Room ep plus another two tracks.

Report this review (#148595)
Posted Friday, November 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Riverside are a progressive rock band from Poland who have come to attention in recent years for successfully developing an exciting sound from influences such as Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree. Their latest album "Rapid Eye Movement" is the last in an ambitious concept trilogy called "Reality Dream".

Unfortunately, whether it's because the concept has run out of steam or for some other reason, this last musical episode is not as successful as the previous two: 2003's "Out of Myself" and 2005's "Second Life Syndrome", both of which are excellent. I would rate this as "very good" only.

Musically, it is not as inventive, either in terms of composition or arrangements, as its predecessors and feels slightly jaded. For instance, whereas "Second Life Syndrome" managed both melody and beauty in its heaviest passages, on "Rapid Eye Movement" the band seem to have opted for heaviness for its own sake and the passages lack sparkle.

An analogy might be to think about watching a good film in black & white and in colour. You'll still enjoy watching it in black & white, but seeing it in colour will bring an extra dimension. Another might be the difference between listening to good music in mono or in stereo. "Rapid Eye Movement" is that good film, that good music.

Report this review (#149941)
Posted Saturday, November 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. This is the third and final installment of the "Reality Dream Trilogy". It's kind of cool that "Out Of Myself" opens with someone changing channels on a radio and "Rapid Eye Movement" ends with someone changing channels on a radio. It's what has transpired in between that has made me a big RIVERSIDE fan:THE MUSIC ! This album was such a surprise to me after reading some negative things about it my expectations weren't too high. Right now I rate this even with "Out Of Myself" followd by "Second Life Syndrome". Yes this is possibly their best work yet ! There is more variety on this album than their past two. More atmosphere as well. It still has that RIVERSIDE sound that is like a mixture of PORCUPINE TREE, TOOL, ANATHEMA and PINK FLOYD. Interesting too that all three albums have 9 tracks each on them. In the liner notes the band thanks QUIDAM, PAATOS, AFTER...(who I hope will be on this site soon), and Mike Portnoy & DREAM THEATER. Keyboardist Michal Lapaj thanks Jordon Rudess.

"Beyond The Eyelids" quickly becomes very powerful as Duda's amazing vocals come and go. The background synths are a nice touch. This one flat out rocks as we get 3 minutes worth of ass kicking before the synths take over followed by vocals. A heavy undercurrent continues.The vocals actually recall Steven Wilson's in style and tone, and they sound great before 5 minutes. This is euphoric ! Some nice organ, and the guitar to end it is a highlight. "Rainbow Box" has some crunch throughout. The vocals absolutely shine. The organ really adds to the full sound as drums pound away. "02 Panic Room" is all about the heavy riffs. The synths play an important part as well. I know I keep mentioning the vocals but Duda has not sounded any better than he does on this record. Check out the guitar 3 1/2 minutes in, it's so uplifting. 4 minutes in the song changes completely as a short passage of reserved vocals,guitar and piano ends it. "Schizophrenic Prayer" has an Eastern feel to it with percussion, vocals and vocal melodies. This song seems purposely restrained, like it's on the verge of exploding any minute, but it doesn't.

"Parasomnia" opens with only vocals before some fat bass lines and synths kick in. Heavy riffs follow as Duda's vocals get angry, more of that later as well. 4 1/2 minutes in is the best part of the song. Simply beautiful. The guitar and vocals are so impressive. It calms down as piano and whispered vocals take over. The song rebuilds with a stunning guitar solo. The drumming and song title remind me of TOOL. "Through The Other Side" features acoustic guitar and reserved vocals before cymbals and light drums enter. This is my least favourite song here, but I still like it. "Embryonic" is also a slow moving track with fragile vocals and acoustic guitar. It's so heavenly 2 1/2 minutes in as vocals and then guitar soar. "Cybernetic Pillow" has a nice heavy intro. The organ comes and goes. Check out the guitar solo that goes on and on as the bass throbs. Such a great sound to this track. "Ultimate Trip" pretty much says it all doesn't it ? This is a ride ! I like the rumbling drums to open as the guitar comes in. Vocals follow close behind. There are so many highlights to this song. I like the scorching guitar 3 1/2 minutes in. How about the uplifting sound after 6 minutes that is followed by a heavy melody. The song just seems to get better as it plays out. The guitar and vocals again are amazing. The song starts to build to a powerful sound 12 minutes in. Some good organ too. As I mentioed in the intro the song ends with someone checking out what's on the radio.

The three bonus tracks I have already reviewed on their Ep. but I would especially mention "Back To The River" as being exceptional. RIVERSIDE have created three incredible albums already in thier short careers. This one like the others is a must have.

Report this review (#150245)
Posted Sunday, November 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I have only loosely heard the first two albums from Riverside and therefore I have nothing to put Rapid Eye Movement up against. What I can say is that this is a great album, and my interest was caught the first time I listened to it. They are very inspired by Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree and to a lesser degree Marillion and Tool. I hear hints of these bands everywhere in Riversides music. It don´t find them to be ripp- offs though as they set their own special mark on the music. You can clearly hear that it is Riverside you are listening to.

The sound quality and the musicians are top notch, only good things can be said here.

Beyond The Eyelids starts the album of with a Dream Theater inspired instrumental opening which after a couple of minutes segues into the main song. It´s a great song even though I find the metal riff´s a bit generic.

Rainbow Box is a great rocker, with some simple but brilliant keyboard sounds. The vocals from Mariusz Duda are really strong and the lyrics are clever. "Medication time, My favorite Part" what a great start to a great song.

02 Panic Room is the single from the album, and rightly so. This is a strong song with memorable melody lines. The main riff reminds me of Depeche Mode from Ultra if anyone can make the link. A very modern sounding song. The song shifts mood and the closing section reminds me of Marillion, especially the guitar which could have been a Rothery riff. This section is unfortunately cut from the single version of the song, and I just hate it when bands chop their perfect songs up to match the single 3 minute mark. Fortunately this version of the song has it all. What a beauty.

Schizophrenic Prayer is one of the most beautiful songs on the album, I just can´t get enough of this one. Again Duda sings majesticly. The rythm in the drums is worth noting as well.

Parasomnia took me a while to get into, as it is not easily accesible. It´s a great song though and especially the quiet passage in the song is really godly.

Through The Other Side is a mellow Pink Floyd inspired song, and one of the more weak moments on the album. Not bad just not the most exciting song.

Embryonic is another mellow song. Here we hear the Porcupine Tree influence very much. It´s a very nice song.

Cybernetic Pillow is a rock/ metal song and a pretty good one.

Ultimate Trip which is a song of epic proportions ( it last for 13+ minutes). It starts out very well, but I feel it´s loosing it´s breath midway. I think it is a bit too long for the material displayed in the song. Maybe it will grow on me in time. It´s good but nothing more right now.

I was about to give this one 5 stars, but when I came to think of it, some things made me give it 4 instead. First of all, I don´t know if this will stand the test of time. Will I listen to this in 20 years ? And then there is the question of the heavy metal riffs in some of the songs which I find kind of generic. It´s really funny because generally I review metal bands with prog rock tendencies and this time it´s the other way round as I find Riverside to be a prog rock band with metal leanings. It doesn´t suit them that well in my opinion. If they could loose those metal riffs, I think their music would transend to a higher plain.

Report this review (#153211)
Posted Friday, November 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
3 stars The catchy, exciting energy of the opener withstanding (which features some huge bass playing by Duda), Rapid Eye Movement comes across sounding like a mish-mash of their past two albums with too few new ideas and too few memorable songs to keep the momentum going. Songs like Rainbow Box, Panic Room, and Ultimate Trip offer nothing new, and frankly sound beneath the band who usually weaves soft/heavy together in and in-between songs. Furthermore, the lyrical content and thematics of the songs have yet to progress beyond the sort of abject paranoia found in Out of Myself, making Duda's vocals sound almost recycled from other albums.

This isn't to say there's still plenty to like on Rapid Eye Movement. The band's sound is intact, with a more even mix of of atmosphere and metal (which sounds harsher than ever, actually), and the songs Schizophrenic Prayer and Embryonic giving us some new vocalizing and especially soft textures respectfully. The instrumental closer brings a classic Riverside end to the band's first trilogy of albums (with a nice Floyd homage)-- and I for one am hopefully that the next will see more experimentation and renewed energy in their next effort.

A must-have for fans of the band (obviously) which will still entertain, but casual listeners should stick with their first two releases.

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

Report this review (#156843)
Posted Thursday, December 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Let it flow in an ambient nuance .

Listening to this CD is full of joy and happiness although the music is basically dark. How come? Well, it's not the nuance that makes make happy but the fact that the music flows excellently from one passage in a song to another passage and from one song to another song. All in all, the collection of songs in this album makes the it a cohesive music whereby the transitions from one passage to another is done smoothly so that the listeners feel like being brought in a joyful musical journey. The music of Riverside has been consistent from its debut album until this one.

The opener "Beyond The Eyelids" kicks the album with great passages in relatively medium tempo style with ambient nuance. You might think the style is like a combination between Pink Floyd and Pain of Salvation. The shouts of lead vocalist sound like the shouts of Daniel Gildenlow (Pain of Salvation). This opening track opens a window for listeners in a kind of music which I believe it's a combination of symphonic as well as slow tempo progressive metal. Looking at the guitar riffs it's quite clear that this song has a very strong metal roots. It's an excellent opening track.

"Rainbow Box" starts wonderfully with tight basslines augmented by keyboard effects followed with guitar riffs and drums which bring the music flows nicely with good vocal line. "Panic Room" starts wit drum followed by tight bass guitar lines followed with Floydian guitar solo on slow tempo music. The keyboard at the background reconfirms the symphonic nuance the band wants to demonstrate. The main rhythm section is built from tight bass lines and drum beats. "Schizophrenic Prayer" is a though provoking title name and it contains music in mellow style at opening with simple guitar fills, long sustain keyboard work at the background. The music flows in ambient nuance excellently with a dragging vocal line augmented with music in psychedelic style.

"Parasomnia" starts with powerful vocal line without music followed by keyboard and then bass guitar lines and female chanting enrich the music and make it more symphonic in nature. The guitar riffs are quite raw and generate metal nuance. One thing that I like about this track is the mixed use of guitar sounds. At first, there are heavy riffs with raw sounds but as the music moves, it has evolved into howling guitar style.

"Through The Other Side" starts excellently with acoustic guitar work followed with nice vocal line. The song moves with mellow style. The acoustic guitar fills seem like repeated but it creates good nuance of this unplugged song. "Embryonic" continues acoustic guitar work as main rhythm section accompanying good vocal line.

"Cybernetic Pillow" kicks with guitar riffs and followed by a full blast music and vocal that gives a chance for guitar to play its solo. The solo that accompanies the singing style is also a nice part. The concluding track "Ultimate Trip", which seems like an epic, concludes the album with a music of beautiful flow from start to end. The keyboard solo in about the middle of the track is truly great and enjoyable.

Overall, I HIGHLY recommend this album to those who have not been familiar with Riverside because I believe you will love this album because it easy to digest. The strength point of this album is its ability to create an ambient nuance and great flow from one part to another part of the music. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#156905)
Posted Friday, December 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Riverside - Rapid Eye Movement 3.75 stars

This is a really good album and a great way to end the trilogy. Riverside has a bit of a change in the overall mood of their music, which is the transition from anger, more to a relaxing state. I'm a sucker for a change in sound.except I usually hate it when bands do it because they do it poorly. Riverside on the other hand did a pretty nice job in their respective change. A major flaw is that there is much more vocal work. Don't get me wrong, I think Mariusz is a pretty good singer but Riverside's music was brought out quite a bit through instrumentation sans vocals. This album as compared to the first two has the most flow and direction. The songs definitely pick up where the last one left off which was pretty cool. The reason why this album didn't reach excellent status is because they got a little lost in the middle and things were becoming a little monotonous.

'Beyond the Eyelids' is your typical core Riverside track, it's really the only song on the album that could be representative of the first two. It is followed by two decent shorter tracks. Of the next four tracks the only one I really liked was 'Parasomnia' and 'Embryonic.' 'Schizophrenic Prayer' and 'Through the Other Side' aren't bad.but not worthy of merit. 'Cybernetic Pillow' works as a smooth transition into the last song, 'Ultimate Trip' which is among one of Riverside's best tracks. It sums up the trilogy quite nicely.

Diehard Riverside fans could be disappointed by this album (and it seems to be that way). At first I hated this and it grew on me, it still can grow further though. It was definitely a step down from the first two, but it would be an incredible feat keep such a high standard. I will still support them heavily in their next release. A very good album.

Report this review (#156958)
Posted Friday, December 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This one is the best of Reality Dream trilogy. Their finally founded their own sound. They sound like Riverside now. So this is huge progress for me. Sound, songs, lyrics, arrangements - everything is much better, it is close to me, to my mood. Now is more psychodelic, more trans, more rock'n roll. But the most important thing is that they don't sound like neoprogressive rock band. This record opposite to their debut is totally unneoprogressive rock -this is new and this is progress for me. They try to do something different although this is third part of a great trilogy. Bug respect guys. Keep on rocking!.

And one more -definitely you have to listen to this album with double CD version. Fearless and Fearland you can find on DISC 1 and DISC 2. One of the best albums of 2007

Report this review (#157956)
Posted Monday, January 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I read some comments on this new album and I agree with those who say this is a step back. Probably it is worthwhile for a listen, but I must say this has nothing to do with previous releases. And most of all: where is prog music or atmospheres? Completely absent! Some songs can be better than others but in general, I am quite disappointed...
Report this review (#158638)
Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was the anxiously awaited successor of the brilliant Second Life Syndrome and I was both curious and anxious because it was hard to top the great SLS. As I said in that review: Riverside is like a Jekyll and Hyde band with their atmospheric ballads (Voices in my head) and their metal-like outbursts like on many other songs. I said there that the second Riverside (Hyde ?) is my favourite by far. Their ballads are fine but don't impress me really. There are also a few on this album like Schizophrenic Prayer and Embryonic but it's the same story as on the EP and their former two albums: nice but I can't go overboard by them.

There are also the heavy songs, sometimes even with grunts and there are the epics which occasionally have these elements. I keep asking myself: what do I like better, the metal moments and songs or the epics ? Well, that's a tough call. I enjoy both extremely much. This album for instance starts with Beyond the Eyelids, if there was ever an example of what I mean, it's this one. It's almost as if it's written for me, that's how much I like it. Riverside to perfection, period. After this three much less impressive songs until it's epic time: Parasomnia, well ok half an epic. But a really terrific composition, almost as good as the opener and of the high standard of SLS.

Part two (Fearland) starts with three shorter songs, again not mindblowing really (with exeption of Cybernetic Pillow) and I have to sit them out for my next highlight: Ultimate Trip. I get the feeling with this one Riverside wanted to do another supersong like Second Life Syndrome. I can say they came pretty close with it. I never understand why people get negative when it sounds like things they did before as if they are not innovating and original enough. I have no problem with it, okay it all may sound like half a copy of SLS, but why bother ? SLS was almost a masterpiece ! I think it's a great achievement if they do a similar job with their next. In fact it was actually what I hoped for. I'm truly grateful to Riverside for this product. By the way, there was also the bonus disc with the great Title track, another super song of masterpiece quality !

The only critical notes I have are the shorter songs, but that's not even a justified criticism, it's ok for the variation. Besides, Riverside have also Jekyll-fans and they have to please them also, so I understand and accept. The other pity is the fantastically starting Back to the River and after that disappointingly ending in a Pink Floyd cover. WHY ??????????? Because it could have been a smashing song if they continued it in the original way. It could have been a masterpiece track, a real classic and now it's (almost) nothing. A real shame !!

These critical notes deminish the album and therefore the rating. But the 4 highlights are so absolutely fabulous to me that I still give it 4*.

Report this review (#158882)
Posted Friday, January 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Incredible outing from the Polish outfit that proggers on this site are familiar with. I find the content to be varied, full of spirit and nuance, and to absolutely advance from their previous 2 outings. I'm not sure what the reviewers here are dismayed about. I personally love Beyond the Eyelids and Parasomnia the most. Come on guys, this is an awesome album!
Report this review (#160021)
Posted Sunday, January 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Riverside's third offering simply did not meet expectations. While I am not grading this album solely based upon expectations, there is a certain amount of influence which a band's previous albums plays in the judging of a subsequent record. Rapid Eye Movement closes out Riverside's trilogy, which began with their first two full albums Out of Myself and Second Life Syndrome. Both of these previous works were stunning and brought this prog metal band from Poland an international appeal and some commercial success.

Popular bands are constantly challenged to continue to write music which is similar, but different from their past portfolio. It is frequently difficult to continue to appeal to their established fanbase, while striving to push the bar higher in developing and cultivating a musical niche. Riverside found such a niche with their first album and brilliantly followed that up with Second Life Syndrome, certainly one of the best prog metal albums ever recorded. And now comes Rapid Eye Movement...

This third album continues to portray the Riverside sound, but is much more subdued and never really captures those magical moments which appear frequently on their first two albums. As I listen to the music, I can't help but wonder if the band got a little too concerned about the lyrical concept which has spanned all of their output and neglected what I consider to be more important-the music itself.

The highlights for me are "02 Panic Room" and "Cybernetic Pillow." In "Schizophrenic Prayer", the band does delve into some more tribal chant-like music which they did so well in Second Life Syndrome with the "After" and "Before" songs. However, it seems to fall flat this time around. The album closes with the lengthy "Ultimate Trip." While this is a fairly decent song, I keep waiting for it to get someplace special and it never arrives.

Overall, this is a decent album, but it is a pretty severe drop-off from their first two albums. I will continue to follow these guys and look forward to future releases. Three stars is all I am willing to give this one though.

Report this review (#160706)
Posted Sunday, February 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
4 stars Just another reality dream ...

'Rapid Eye Movement' is the last effort of their trilogy - successful like the two others as for a summary. There are no surprises here in fact - they repeat their style on a high standard again. I can't state a fundamental approvement or progression except some more interesting keyboard additions here and there but I know this is really hard to realize if you are concerning the forerunner 'Second Life Syndrome'. Anyhow - if someone doesn't know the band and gets this one first it is a very good introduction.

Once again they show their strong points with emotional vocals by Mariusz Duda and Piotr Grudzinski's catchy guitar riffs. The keyboards are getting a more important role compared to the forerunners. The RIVERSIDE sound is not that typical for prog metal - they are also often entering the neo prog and art rock territory. The opener Beyond The Eyelids for me is one of the best songs because very grooving with excellent keyboard additions. That's how I like the band. 02 Panic Room strikes because of a stomping rhythm and with Through The Other Side respectively Embryonicwe have compelling melancholic ballads with acoustic guitar again. The last song is not the Ultimate Trip but another album highlight what I can say with some improvised moments.

The deluxe version is consisting of five additional songs whereas for Behind The Eyelids I'm impressed once more by the keyboard accents and the song shines also with nice percussion accompaniment. Reminiscences to Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd are enriching Back to the river. The title song Rapid Eye Movement finally is turned out with ambient and psychedelic moments - just another new facet of the band.

Superficially there might remain the impression that RIVERSIDE had the fear to leave the reliable path maybe to prevent a disappointment for their fans. But this will be relativized if you're also considering the second CD with some new experiments. I was wondering for a long time if four stars are too much with two recent gems in the back. But finally I don't see any problem and there is no need for me to degrade this album at all.

Report this review (#168321)
Posted Monday, April 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Been There Done that.

This is one of those progressive albums in which most riffs, melodies, atmospheres sound similar to the previous albums or other bands (Porcupine Tree, Tool, Opeth). The album is the 3rd part of a trilogy of albums; together, they form a dark concept if you pay attention to the lyrics. The rhythm section does it job quite well, the lead guitar sounds great most of the time, the keyboards are restrained and tasteful and the singer has an excellent voice though is overused. The album is very competently done in parts, but I think they should try something else and start being refreshing. Too much of a good thing spoils it.

The opener Beyond the Eyelids might not sound very creative, but if you see it as a summary of everything that is Riverside, you may see it as one of their most accomplished compositions to date. The atmosphere is great, the instrumentation is cerebral and dynamic, and one particular riff strikes me as brilliant. Rainbow Box scared me though, with an open and somewhat loose arrangement that I dislike. Luckily the next three songs are very solid:

Panic Room is a more unique track with an industrial feel which has an acoustic melancholic coda which is very beautifully arranged. Schizophrenic Prayer has anguished vocal harmonies similar to the opening track in their previous album. Parasomnia goes back to the tight musicianship of the opening track, though this song sometimes sounds too similar to the title track of their previous album. Still an enjoyable track.

After Parasomnia, I tend to doze off, skip tracks, or just stop listening. I can't exactly point out what is wrong, but I find it a bit too 'been there done that', uneventful, and somewhat boring. They just sound like Porcupine Tree left overs. The most disappointing song must be the closing epic. I was expecting something epic and memorable as it closes the trilogy, but it's just more 'been there done that' but maybe even duller. Very disappointing ending indeed.

Overall, a competent album, but unless you are a fan, you should look elsewhere.

Report this review (#168961)
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Definitely WRONG.

Riverside proved everybody that they are a very creative group of musicians with the first two records. Unfortunately, Rapid Eye Movement denies that. The album features the same depressive psychedelic metal with no new additions and not overtaking Second Life Syndrome. The songs are lame, simple but well recorded, which is in fact the only strong point of the disc.

Pathology is becoming obsessive for the Polish band, and quite frankly, since this album is less valuable than the other two, I find it unhealthy listening to it due to the extremely depressive atmosphere that can discredit the band because after releasing three albums in a row with the same structure, substance, style and genre you don't know whether the artist is sincere or is just in catatonic state of existence. But, yet again, if the music reflects the composer's thoughts and feelings I cannot help wondering how come he hasn't committed suicide until now?

One of the most annoying aspects of Rapid Eye Movement is it's total lack of diversity between songs. In other words, it's so boring. The drums are horrible, the guitar doesn't impress me at all, although songs like 02 Panic Room or Schizophrenic Prayer seem to put up to my expectations. The best track, however, is Beyond The Eyelids. Due to it's intensity and the ability to surprise the listener, not to mention the vocals that have always been OK, I can only regret the fact that instead of the entire album they had released a 4 song EP including this track.

If the band considers of continuing this way I hope they break up soon.

Report this review (#169897)
Posted Monday, May 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars One thing we should all know by now is to never set your expectations too high. Humans as we all are (or so I'm led to believe), we can't help but get really excited about certain events, in this case album releases, without contemplating the potential letdowns that may occur, because we feel like it simply couldn't be a possibility. Take a look at Tool's 10,000 Days. Fans waited five years for the follow up to the brilliant Lateralus, and due to the quality of the release and the time gap between releases, they all figured something new and mind-blowing would result on the band's next release. But no, the band simply made another album that was just as good as its predecessor, with a few changes in sound. The fans, instead of focusing on the many strong points, focused on the one negative, which really could only be that it wasn't the greatest metal album of all time.

I looks like something similar has occurred with Riverside's follow up to the highly praised Second Life Syndrome, Rapid Eye Movement. The band seems to have traveled on level ground between the two albums, and so no huge progression has been made. Some say it's a step back, but I say that is not true. This is album is just as good as good as Second Life Syndrome; it's just not as surprising. I could concede to the argument that this one doesn't have as powerful of high points as the other, but I also think this album doesn't hit the same lows, either. No flops like "Artificial Smile" (the album's only problem) are to be found here. This is a very consistent release, and one that Riverside should be commended for.

The one thing the band decided to do with their sound this time around was to drop some of the edge and expand their atmospheric element. From the swooping and swelling introduction that opens the album in "Beyond the Eyelids," the highly reverberated guitars and keyboards and background soundscapes throughout, to the closing that is "Ultimate Trip," the group takes you on what really is an ultimate trip through the dreaming state. The music feels very dreamy, much to the band's credit.

The album's songs can be divided into three categories. The first is the extended tracks: "Beyond the Eyelids," "Parasomnia," and "Ultimate Trip." The songs have great flow and balance. They throw some odd times in here and there, but the atmospheres are the most important factors. I absolutely love the previously mentioned intro and wish that it could have stuck around for a few more minutes. It's really my only complaint. The next category is the short rockers: "Rainbow Box," "02 Panic Room" and "Cybernetic Pillow." While, again, the atmospheres dominate, these ones do lock into some nice grooves and can get you to rock about a bit, especially the former and the latter, which also has a subtle & neat ethnic vibe in the main guitar riff. The last category is the short and soft numbers: "Schizophrenic Prayer," "Through the Other Side," and "Embryonic," and this is actually my favorite of the categories. These tracks are all really moving. I've always loved Mariusz's softer sung vocals - they're the kind of vocals he was really meant to sing - and since these songs thrive on those, pure bliss results.

As always, Piotr's solos and what not are captivating throughout the disc. He makes every solo something awesome with his feel and tone. What would this band be without him?

In short, this may not be the record you wanted to hear from Riverside, but if you see it for what it is and not what you originally had in mind for it to be, you will see that this too is a great album.

Just a note about the bonus material: I would recommend you get, at least, the version with bonus tracks. You'll get "Lucid Dream IV," a typical but good Riverside instrumental in the vein of the "Reality Dream" instrumentals, "Back to the River," a very good atmospheric and Floydian instrumental and a remix of "02 Panic Room." These were all on the EP that came out before the full-length, though. So if you have that, stick with the normal version. If you can't get enough Riverside, get the version with the bonus disc. It has the three tracks listed above plus "Behind the Eyelids" (you can guess which song that is a remix of, and I would also note that the original version is better, though this version is a fresh approach for the group) and the 12-minute instrumental "Rapid Eye Movement," which I feel is a bit long despite how it develops some really cool riffs.

Report this review (#170252)
Posted Thursday, May 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I've read several reviews of this album since it came out and most were not enthusiastic about it. The opinions expressed showed a mild, if not more than that, disappointment. As someone who loves Riverside's two first albums, which together with Rapid Eye Movement form the Reality Dream Trilogy, I was both interested and somewhat reluctant to listen to this album. But curiosity prevailed and I'm very glad it did as this is a very good album.

The version of the album I have has two cd's; the first is the album itself with its two parts: Fearless and Fearland; the second is the bonus cd with 5 more tracks on it and I shall get to it at the end of this review.

The first song, "Beyond The Eyelids", would actually fit fine in any of the two previous album the way I hear it. The rich sounding opening with its wonderful enveloping keyboards and the powerful guitar and bass are a perfect setup for this album. Soon they make way for a short dynamic and more aggressive passage that pushes the song forward, coming back to the original opening theme and the vocals floating in the background singing "We are none of us.". The change to a wonderful bass lead part that is then enhanced with wonderful sounding keyboards and the ever powerful guitar crunchy riffs with a following lead guitar intertwining with the keyboards and some effects in the background. It is only then, almost 4 minutes into the song, that Mariusz's wonderful vocals are fully revealed. His voice can be soothing and very relaxing, even when the surrounding is not. His ability to make his voice filled with rage is well done in previous albums and it's the same case here. Such power is poured on the listener in this song; there is a synergy between all instruments and vocals, bringing this song a few notches upwards. This song continues very well the style portrayed in the previous albums.

The following song, "Rainbow Box", is an energetic short "box". It is quite the dynamic song, without the long riffs and spacey nature of Riverside, but is not far at all from what the band did before.

With "02 Panic Room" comes an interesting twist with the use of electronics and what reminded me (and excuse me for the comparison which may sound weird) of a metal-ized Depeche Mode. there is a great use of those electronic effects to create a dark and mysterious atmosphere, but it is done wisely, not overused or overdone. Add to that the use of string section sounding keyboards and you get a full and rich sound (which again reminds me of Depeche Mode in their album Songs Of Faith & Devotion). It ends with all instruments stopping and only the keyboards and vocals going on.

Schizophrenic Prayer shows again how wonderful Mariusz's vocals are and how well he uses them. While there is not much going on in terms of complexity and change in motifs, there is great richness and intensity here.

Parasomnia marks a return to the style of the opening song. A very Rivreside-ish style; the familiar brittle and long riffs, wrapping full sound with harsh vocals that do a very good job at taking me far away in my mind. This is exactly what a musical experience should be like. To disconnect you from your current position, your surroundings and grab you to its own reality. This is something that Riverside's music has done very well for me in their previous albums and it continues to do so in this release. It required several listens for me to be gripped and when it did it was great. This song presents very well how good Riverside are at creating a sound-world, filled with intricate passages, captivating and dramatic melodies and excellent musicianship.

Through The Other Side is another example of the shorter songs on this album, which stick to a simpler melody, yet have a particular dim mood and make more use of the, say, softer side of the band and their use of effects. This is kept on in Embryonic which seems as a continuation of the previous track in relation to the atmosphere it creates and its softness (use of acoustic guitar for instance). In this "camp" Riverside does very well too. A Pink-Floyd-ish influence seems to prevail with regards to the acoustic guitar and the soft singing, though it diminishes somewhat when the lead guitar joins in (still with acoustic backing) and the vocals get more powerful.

Cybernetic Pillow returns to the electric side and is in the same "camp" as "Rainbow Box" in its more straightforward approach and minor use of effects, though it does show a fair level of complexity and like all other songs, has this bewitching and affluent sound. Just listen to the keyboards, though not in the "front" of the mix and realize how well they contribute to the feel and frame of mind of the song. The lead guitar is given quite free space to wander around and does so efficiently without "abuse of power", meaning no futile attempts at "showing off", but rather good use of its sound and power.

"Ultimate Trip", the longest song here and the closer of the album, is also my favourite here. It has all the trademarks of the band, complexity, richness of sound, heaviness. and then some. A catchy melody is the basis here and it is wonderfully built around with their instruments, effects and the passages of this song; building tension as the song goes, they construct the song carefully, develop it as it goes, creating interest along with the enjoyment of listening. Wonderful guitar and keyboards lead parts all over are very well backed up by efficient bass, drum and guitar playing. The shift from higher to lower level of dynamics also works very well, harnessing the power of interchanging intensities. This is a fabulous epic song and it does a great job at being the closing song of the album as it creates in me a need for more and anticipation for their next release.

If you're not interested in getting the two cd version, then you can stop here and go to the bottom of this review.

Disc two present five more tracks, one of them being a "revised" edition of "Beyond The Eyelids" and the second a remix of "02 Panic Room" from the album. Let me start by saying that if you can get this version of this release, then go for it. It serves as a great "companion" to the album and greatly enhances the listening pleasure from it. It also is great to listen to it on its own and can serve as a teaser for yourself if you want to get yourself in a Riverside mood.

"Behind The Eyelids" opens this cd; the title plays with the name of the opening song from the album ("Beyond The Eyelids") and the song itself is a lighter version of that track, without the intensity of the backing guitars and drums but with the glory and power of the keyboards, effects and percussion (and vocals). A very good rendition to that song; It's great to hear this version of it.

Lucid Dream IV, continuing with the Reality Dream songs from previous albums, is heavy and compelling. It has an uplifting tune and has a great bass line supporting it and very cool effects towards the end of it. This is a great instrumental piece that would have been great on the album itself; another reason to get this bonus cd version.

The remix to "02 Panic Room" is, like Behind The Eyelids", stripped from its heaviness and most guitar elements that were in the original version on the album. it sounds more "poppy" perhaps (even more Depeche Mode in this version) but I think that here it acquires a different kind of magic with its more spacey and light style.

"Back To The River", another amusing play of words, is a nice space-rock instrumental track with the band making a homage to Pink Floyd in the form of playing a short excerpt from "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". The rest of the track is also very Floyd-ish in style and fits well with the song they've chosen to interpret here. There isn't much in terms of a catchy or proper tune, but more in terms of developing an atmosphere, a frame of mind. The culmination with the short bit taken from "Shine On." is very well done. Perhaps "Back To The River" signifies this return to the roots of the band's sound, their influences.

Rapid Eye Movement, the title of the album, is the closing track on this bonus cd. Developing slowly, it builds up tension as it proceeds, relying on the keyboards and interesting effects; it gains power as the guitar gets a more lead role and the drums join in. It turns into a spacey adventure, repetitive in style as the melody is played over and over, sounding "wide" and somewhat odd, but never out of control; as if it were a soundtrack to a hallucination or a daydream. The ending with all instruments "in place" playing has a fabulous effect, cathartic almost. A great tune.

To sum all of this up: Not only was I not disappointed with this album, as I feared due to several reviews I've read, but I think it proudly stands in line with the other two previous albums. Rapid Eye Movement is a wonderful listening experience and a very rewarding one. I recommend it to everyone who liked the previous albums and to all who want a thrilling heavy and/or prog-metal album with all of the ingredients mentioned above.

Report this review (#184499)
Posted Thursday, October 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
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.

Report this review (#186838)
Posted Saturday, October 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Though generally felt to be a letdown, Rapid Eye Movement is a real good album and as a non-fan of Riverside, I suspect other non-fans might enjoy it the most of the first three. It has a larger stylistic range than Second Life Syndrome and seems less interested in grabbing us with brute force. Mariusz Duda's pleasant voice and unobtrusive bass provide the perfect amount of humanity to a record that steps gracefully through clean atmospherics, walls of Toolish power, and acoustic passages. A careful balance is struck between the indulgences of progmetal and the moods of electric space, and Duda's sincere crooning can sometimes even take us back to the sounds of British New Wave. It is possible the band has lost a few teeth, 8-minute 'Beyond the Eyelids' good but quite dressed-up with Michal Lapaj's synths. But Piotr Grudzinsky's rocky chunks keep things heavy and this opener has a huge sound with immediate appeal. Less appealing is poppy and tragically hip 'Rainbow Box' and the semi-industrial '02 Panic Room'. But better energy and a return to form for 'Schizophrenic Prayer' with an Eastern drone that gradually builds into a desert sandstorm, and sister track 'Parisomnia' is more of the same but still quite good. A summer's light grows into part 2 with Grudzinksy's delicate acoustic guitar leading, and sandy 'Embryonic' is even softer with breezes of David Gilmour. Soild if familiar 'Cybernetic Pillow' leads to epic closer 'Ultimate Trip' at nearly fourteen minutes where they throw everything into the mix.

A thoroughly modern and well-equipped rock band, Riverside can only be faulted for their gravity toward their own tendencies, and in the jungle we call Prog, that can be a killer.

Report this review (#210770)
Posted Wednesday, April 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Our Polish rockers are back to finish off what they started 4 years ago, namely the Reality Dream trilogy. When a band starts their career with something this ambitious and they actually succeed in doing so, you know they are something. Firstly, I'd like to say just how much I love the artwork, the best so far in my opinion. This just adds my excitement to listen to it, this is going to be another masterpiece, I'm sure of it.

Well, after some serious long listening session, it is not quite (and this coming from a diehard Riverside fanboy). So, what's wrong with it? Nothing really, just too much expectation from a band that released two flawless albums!

The opener, Beyond the Eyelids, serves up some classic Riverside sound. Moody powerful bass and catchy, aggressive riffs come to mind. Easily one of the highlights of this release and one that would seamlessly fit in either one of the earlier albums.

The next two tracks (Rainbow Box & 02 Panic Room) just don't seem that particularly brilliant. Not that they are bad or anything, just not up to par when compared to the awesome opener.

After that, things look better. Schizophrenic Prayer, Parasomnia and my favourite track from REM, Through the Other Side provide some respite from pounding on the ears by the heavier tracks and show the other mellower, more emotional side of Riverside though not sacrificing their edginess.

They seemed to take things too far with Embryonic however, which sounded not as inspired (and frankly a little too slow and boring) and what I consider as the weakest track of the album. Cybernetic Pillow gave a much needed freshness and prepared the listener to another amazing piece - Ultimate Trip. I'm glad they chose this to end the album and the trilogy. Personally, it summarizes the amazing journey that I went through from Out of Myself up to this point and I find myself reminiscing all the listening pleasures I had all this time (especially right at the end when the static comes).

In conclusion, Rapid Eye Movement is a solid 4 star album whose shine is unfortunately is somewhat dimmed by the comparison with their earlier albums. On its own, it's definitely a cracker with many brilliant moments with a few not so impressive ones, and I must stress it is only a few. Thank you Riverside for your music, my life has not been quite the same since!

Report this review (#232215)
Posted Tuesday, August 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars 6/10

"Rapid Eye Movement" is full of nice moods and has a few beautiful moments too.

Riverside arrives with their third album to what is considered the weakest album by the band. For me, the weakest one would be the highly acclaimed debut "Out Of Myself", since it's kind of immature. This album on the other hand is much more mature, and with a lot of more interesting ideas and greater melodies. The style is pretty much the same as Riverside's previous album, "Second Life Syndrome", the masterpiece of the band's first period, and also of "Out Of Myself": in fact, these three albums are a sort of a conceptual trilogy dedicated to man's mind, and "Rapid Eye Movement" is the last of the three. We still find some heavy parts as well as Pink Floydish/ PTreeish moods, spacey, atmospheric soundscapes are even in this album present. Some psychedelic influences are also present, especially in the final thirteen minute song, "Ultimate Trip".

The album starts off with "Beyond The Eyelids", a wonderful piece, possibly the best song off the album. The melody is fantastic, catchy, and there are a few brilliant passages, with great musicianship and technical virtuosity, pure progressive metal.

"Rainbow Box" has a catchy chorus, with an interesting verse, with some great vocals and arrangements.

"02 Panic Room" is possibly the most famous Riverside song (they also made a video). It's a spacey and tense song, beautiful in so many ways, with some PF moods and a great catchy melody.

"Schizophrenic Prayer" is my favorite calm song by Riverside, stunning melody, catchy chorus, and with a very mysterious mood. The arrangements also are quite interesting and noticeable.

"Parasomnia" is one of the weakest Riverside songs, not so interesting, boring, and a little repetitive. Forgettable.

"Through the Other Side" is a beautiful acoustic song, with a gentle touch that makes it so ravishing. It's played with an acoustic guitar, rare thing in a Riverside song.

"Embryonic" is very similat to the previous track, but less appealing in some moments and generally weaker.

"Cybernetic Pillow" is a fantastic song, a lot heavier than the two previous tracks, and with a great, memorable chorus.

"Ultimate Trip" is the final, epic 13 minute song, with some interesting points, especially in the grand finale, but most of it bores a bit. Too bad, since it is considered the key song of the album.

The structure of the album is much different than the previous albums: here we have more short, but catchy songs, making the album generally less progressive, which is probably the reason why this album was a little underrated.

As a conclusion, a pretty good album, full of nice moods and with a few beautiful moments too. not really essential, but definitely a must listen if you like this band.

Report this review (#242029)
Posted Tuesday, September 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well what to say about this album? Obviously it's not their best record, it's actually a step backwards related to both their previous albums. But I want to emphasize "only a step backwards", because it is still a very good album not a masterpiece as "Second Life Syndrome" or "Out of Myself". But in this album you can find great songs as the opener: Beyond the Eyelids vote 10/10 (one of their best pieces); Panic Room 02 9.5/10; Schizophrenic Prayer 9.5/10; Parasomnia 9.8/10; Embryonic 9.5/10; Cybernetic Pillow 9.7/10; the great closer Ultimate Trip 9.8/10 of both the album and the trilogy. Then there are 2 songs that turns this album to a "normal Riverside Album": Through The Other Side 5/10 and Rainbow Box 8.5/10. But I still suggest you to give it a listen, it's still worth your money! Final Vote 4.2
Report this review (#250293)
Posted Friday, November 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Rapid Eye Movement may not be as great as Second Life Syndrome mostly because of the band's musical direction. Still it's a very enjoyable album and I actually think that its the album I've listened to the most in Riverside's discography.

There are actually only two big complaints that I can think of. The first one has to do with the fact that Riverside didn't change much in their formula when composing this album. The second issue has to do with the slight Space Rock-tendencies that the album features. It's definitely not the most original direction to undertake and it feels mostly like a somewhat cheap puck at the progressive rock audiences.

Overall this album is a really enjoyable trip that I have undergone quite a few times since this album's release. The supporting tour, that also featured Anekdoten, was really memorable and it was a great treat to see Riverside performing some of these tracks in a live setting!

***** star songs: Beyond The Eyelids (7:56) 02 Panic Room (5:29) Cybernetic Pillow (4:46)

**** star songs: Rainbow Box (3:37) Schizophrenic Prayer (4:21) Parasomnia (8:10) Embryonic (4:10)

*** star songs: Through The Other Side (4:06) Ultimate Trip (13:13)

Report this review (#259566)
Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Riverside's third continues their purified blend of Marillion meets Anathema rock. There are some new elements in the sound, but the step forward is too small. The sound is the same, the style is similar and the approach has become rather formulaic now.

There are still a number of great tracks though. Beyond The Eyelids is a decent prog metal epic but doesn't really inspire me. But better songs follow. Again Riverside surprises me with their skill at short catchy song writing. Rainbow Box is a fine and fresh rock song that should rule the charts really. 02 Panic Room is even better and further explores the integration with the electronic wave rock of Depeche Mode, one of Piotr Grudzinski's a favourite bands.

The early highlights are followed by decent but run of the mill Riverside material that never reaches the heights of the previous album. It takes till a next batch of shorter songs till my attention is brought back to the album. Through The Other Side specifically but also Embryonic and Cybernetic Pillow are good short songs.

I happen to own the 2CD issue an that is definitely the version you should get. Lucid Dream IV adds another short instrumental to the Riverside Dream-suite, Back To The River is a nice jam around Shine On riffs from Pink Floyd and the final track, which is strangely enough the title track, is one of the best things I had heard from Riverside till then. Much of their other material had hinted at space-rock and here they finally give it a go. And how! Of course, the references to Tangerine Dream, Pink Floyd and Porcupine Trippy are plenty but it is done simply marvellously.

With REM, Riverside will not challenge the originality contest, but they prove to be very adequate at trying out new directions once in a while. It's no surprise really that exactly those moments are the most inspired of the album. Still, it feels too much like the band strived too much to obtain a certain sound instead of following their hearts and inspiration. Riverside was in need for a makeover. And it arrived in a big way with their next album!

3 stars for the regular version, 4 small stars for the 2cd.

Report this review (#264734)
Posted Sunday, February 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another amazing album from the crazy Poles.

Yea, I bought 2 Riverside albums on the same day, and this was the other one (I badly need to get the rest, cause this is one interesting band.

This album is a bit different to Second Life Syndrome, in that it is a lot more experimental and expands many genres, where Second Life Syndrome was the perfect "prog" album for them, Rapid Eye Movement was lot more experimental, and has a very raw sound, showing how much of perfect unity they are.

I still favour Second Life Syndrome a little bit more, but to be honest, in many ways, they are very equal, but very different at the same time, which is the true meaning of prog after all, well at least I believe.

This album is sadly the last in the trilogy of albums about

1. Beyond The Eyelids - Wow, what an intro. No seriously, this has to be one of the greatest intros to a song I have ever heard. Very dark & heavy. Very nice chorus. This is probably one of Riversides heaviest moments.

2. Rainbow Box -I love the use of weird percussion, it resembles the broken bottle sound in Bjork's Venus As A Boy. This song also has a very weird Creed vibe to it.

3. 02 Panic Room - Another Bjork sounding moment (Army Of Me). Very industrial, kind of like Rammstein. This also has a very gritty Porcupine Tree vibe to it. The chorus is amazing. I love how the song stops abruptly before it goes into the second part of the song. The second part is amazing with some nice with some cool experimental instrumentation.

4. Schizophrenic Prayer - Very eerie and laidback I love the vocals in this song.

5. Parasomnia - I love how the vocals come in unaccompanied. The riff in this song is kick ass. Obvious Porcupine Tree influence. Very schizophrenic. The organ use in this song is amazing.

6. Through The Other Side - A nice eerie folky song with very breathy vocals which add to the eerie atmosphere. Amazing use of sound effects.

7. Embryonic - Another amazing acoustic song. The ambient use of synths add to the sombre mood. Very soundtrack like and would be perfect in a movie, in fact, if I was ever to make one, I would definitely use this song (I'm not, I'm not that mental). Amazing guitar solo.

8. Cybernetic Pillow - Back to the metal side of the album. Very melodic song behind all the gritty stuff. Some great instrumental work.

9. Ultimate Trip -Very kick ass. This song truly shows what an amazing band these guys are. Very dramatic. This song is so spacey. It does take you on an "ultimate trip." I love the spoken word part near the end, very effective.

CONCLSUION: I recommend any album of these guys, they truly are an example of what a modern band can make.

Report this review (#281191)
Posted Monday, May 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars When this album was released I really disliked it. Small wonder I did, the classic prog rock and metal was not my cup of tea at that time! A few years later, after digging into Riverside' music, getting their albums, falling in love with SECOND LIFE SYNDROME and ANNO DOMINI HIGH DEFINITION I had to check if the worst (so I was told) Riverside' album still doesn't appeal to me. I've changed my mind almost completely. I really appreciated that record after a few listens, and counted it among great prog metal efforts. Obviously, it's not as good as SLS but it's not a bad one too. And what's more, I didn't find it unoriginal compared to the previous releases, as many reviewers have claimed. Sounds too sweet? Don't worry, there will be blood.

RAPID EYE MOVEMENT starts with "Beyond the Eyelids" which is a decent but at times boring song, followed by modern blues/prog rock (?!) "Rainbow Box" which is not even decent and shouldn't be there at all. Don't take a dislike after these two though, since the remaining part make up quite good musical creation. Any details? Well, first of all flaws. It is much less consistent than two previous works from Riverside. The band tries to create a hybrid of two first albums, while making it more psychedelic and dreamy and adding some space rock accents. That's why the album sounds a little bit like a musical puzzle, especially at the very beginning. The most innovating pieces - "Army of Me"(by Björk) of prog metal, that is "Panic Room" and great "Schizophrenic Prayer" which could be a soundtrack to an ecstatic dance around the fire - don't harmonize with prog metal songs like "Parasomnia" or "Ultimate Trip". The ballads are actually one of the strongest sides of this release - captivating "Embryonic" and soothing "Through the Other Side" make the album more appealing. In the end, we've got a little bit chaotic collection of songs with plenty of good ideas, but with a few longeurs too.

To be honest, even if I know that this record is far from perfection, I still like it a lot. Riverside's innate charm is what matters here. That's where emotional prog metal meets psychedelic and space rock elements combined with a few crossover experiments and oneiric lyrics. The last part of the trilogy is a creation with great merits and serious flaws, but with such songs as "Schizophrenic Prayer", "Parasomnia", "Embryonic" and "Cybernetic Pillow", RAPID EYE MOVEMENT succesfully defends Riverside' good name.

It's a good album - 3,5 rounded up to 4.

Report this review (#297319)
Posted Friday, September 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This CD is NOT quite as good as "Second Life Syndrome". Why? Well, it has a couple of so-so tracks, so thats the five stars gone! However, "Parasomnia" is excellent and the final track "Ultimate Trip" drags this CD into 4 stars on it's own. This CD does not feature the uber- atmospheric guitars from SLS but it has enough good guitar-licks to make the CD an enjoyable listen. Sprinkling of Piano and Hammond, strewn amongst the metal riffs sort of pick out a direction that maybe should have been more thoroughly played out. Track 1, "Beyond the Eyelids" is a good starter, nice and powerful riffing and pleasing bass line. Good solid prog-metal, but the opening four tracks are all blown away by tracks 5 and 9. These two tracks are worth buying the CD I think.
Report this review (#420612)
Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Shine On Riverside You Diamond!

The darlings of Poland, Riverside, are a band that I have grown to love over the years and they have produced some masterpiece work such as the recent "Anno Domine High Definition". This album "Rapid Eye Movement" is certainly not without some outstanding moments but it is also not as heavy as they eventually became. The symphonic sounds dominate, and very heart felt performed vocals. The vocals are similar to Steven Wilson's style. Mariusz Duda on lead vocals plays bass and acoustic guitar; Piotr Grudzinski is the guitarist; Michal Lapaj excels on keyboards and Piotr Kozieradzki is the drummer. The band capture a range of emotions and always produce quality music, though on this album not as consistent as others.

One instance is the powerful lead break in the acoustically driven 'Embryonic'. The song is brimming over with serenity including wind howling and intimate vocals, perhaps the band in their most gentle mood.

'Parasomnia' features a heavy infectious riff and a crunching instrumental break. '02 Panic Room' is the single that stems from this album and features in their live set often. The rhythmic pulses and swathes of synth are reminiscent of the 80s such as Human League or Depeche Mode.

'Beyond the Eyelids' features one of the great basslines of Duda. 'Through the other side' has very ambient textures, layers of synth and spacey nuances. There are some killer riffs such as the metal distortion of 'Cybernetic Pillow.' This track also has a sustained string sound on the keyboards and inventive lead work very much like Porcupine Tree.

The lengthy epic 'Ultimate trip' is a 13 minute standout track. The lead break is incredible, and the consistent metal riffing is a terrific augmentation. The structure takes on dark and light passages of musicianship par excellence. Duda's vocals are hypnotic over the spacey music sections. Grudsinski's guitar soars and sings beautifully.

The bonus disc is a worthy addition with a dreamscape of mellotron on 'Behind the Eyes' with its captivating space prog. The guitar work on the instrumental 'Lucid Dream IV' is masterful and in a sense reminded me of Alex Lifeson's style. The odd fractured time sig and Hammond organ sound are embellishments that lift the sound to a crescendo. The synth and metal guitar trade of wonderfully in a Dream Theater fashion. This is one of the definitive highlights of the album. 'Back to the River' has an ethereal outer space drone, then a 6 note phrase that locks in as a lead guitar chimes over, very similar to Pink Floyd's 'Shine On'. The lead break on this instrumental is exquisite sounding like Gilmour, or Steve Hackett. This even finishes with the 'Shine On' riff becoming a cover version of the classic, so the obvious influence is now evident.

No doubt this is a solid Riverside album but I was not as blown away by this as "ADHD" or "Second Life Syndrome", nevertheless it is great to hear these tracks live and to return to some of the songs as part of the Riverside catalogue.

Report this review (#604536)
Posted Saturday, January 7, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars There's points when listening to Riverside's Rapid Eye Movement where, if my attention wavers, I end up forgetting that I'm listening to a Riverside album and think I'm listening to late- period Porcupine Tree instead. Unfortunately, the big difference between this album and Porcupine Tree's excellent metal-influenced pieces - and, for that matter, Riverside's pretty decent debut - is that my attention *does* wander quite regularly during it. It's all very pleasantly done, but it seems to be going over territory which Steven Wilson and Riverside themselves have both covered more than adequately previously - and doing so without really doing anything compellingly interesting with it.
Report this review (#727482)
Posted Saturday, April 14, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars 10/10

Strange when you see the best as the worst and worst as the best?

When it comes to my reviews I am so biased as to be able to go against the tide. In my case, it is easier to give high ratings to albums with low scores lower than otherwise. With Riverside both situations occurred. While I in Second Life Syndrome I saw the least favorite of the five they've released so far (although you want to listen more times to really mature this idea), Rapid Eye Movemente was a wonderful surprise for me, a criminally underrated masterpiece that caught my attention, not immediately, but now does so with wonderful ability.

Although Rapid Eye Movement not take the band to new directions, still remains by far the better and stronger the Reality Dream Trilogy. There is a strong feeling cyclical here, evidenced by the end of the last song, the epic Ultimate Trip, where we hear the same sounds "radio being tuned" ears at the opening of The Same River, the first song from their debut Out of Myself. Besides this, there are other highlights here, such as opening Into the Eyelids (which is a start!), Rainbow Box, 02 Panic Room (love the metallic feel of the drums and his final piece, not matching the rest of the song) Parasomnia (my favorite here), and Embryonic Cybernetic Pillow. So as you see, practically the whole album is a highlight.

5 stars, well deserved! I hope more people will recognize the value of this work!

Report this review (#936819)
Posted Friday, March 29, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Out of Myself is like the practice or warmup for that which is to come in the next two years. One can hear the potential, the evolution of sound, but the quartet--in its sum and parts--need further growth. There are compositional and engineering tricks that they have not yet learned, but which will appear with 2005's Second Live Syndrome--one of the 21st Century's crowning achievements in progressive rock music.

Best song (and closest to what is to come): "The Curtain Falls" (14.5/15)

Also good: "The Same River" (22/25); and the acoustic guitar-based, "I Believe" (8.75/10) (can you hear LUNATIC SOUL here?), "Loose Heart" (8.75/10), the dreamy Steven Wilson-like, "OK" (8.75/10), and; "In Two Minds" (8.5/10).

86.59 on the Fishscales = B/four stars.

Report this review (#954118)
Posted Saturday, May 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars (9/10)

"Rapid Eye Movement" brings a conclusion to probably the best trilogy I've ever heard (assuming you don't count 'bedsit thoughts'/' hotel thoughts'/'home thoughts'). Once again Riverside's sound continues to expand, taking on some more modern metal influences and a bunch of new keyboard sounds. The guitarist in particular is more focussed on riffing and blending into atmospheres than soloing, though of course Riverside still retain the ability to play more subtle and quietly introspective songs. Overall it seems to me that there is more of an emphasis on rhythm too - this album is littered with catchy passages to tap your toe to.

Some people see this as a weak album, and whilst it doesn't quite match the brilliance of the first two Riverside albums (which rank amongst my absolute favourites) there is still a great deal of truly excellent material on display. People seem to be put off by Riverside attempting to cram even more ideas into their already massive melting pot of influences, but there is too much top quality material here not to enjoy it. With future albums, Riverside would seek a bit more focus, but for "Rapid Eye Movement" I think they were trying to round off the Reality Dream Trilogy with something that was simultaneously based on the sound of the last two albums as well as a new and interesting piece in its own right, and that requires new sounds and approaches to encroach on the territory of old ones.

Of the heavier pieces, I would have to say that the opener, "Beyond The Eyelids", is the best. It smashes into the action, dramatic and metallic straight out of the gate. It feels like something of a bridge that continues the arc of development established by the previous albums, eventually evolving a more melodic and spacey mood near the end. The closing epic, "Ultimate Trip", is also excellent, careening around at full throttle with pretty much everything that you can find on "Rapid Eye Movement" present on this song. The guitar strikes hard in the first half, with the second half allowing us to wind dreamily to the end, punctuated by heavy background atmospheres and wordless chanted melodies. These repeat before the song ends with the sounds from right at the start of the first song on "Out Of Myself", tying everything up nicely.

The shorter songs seem to come in two varieties: lively bass heavy and catchy pieces or gentle and spacey pieces. Again this allows Mariusz Duda to show off his versatile emotional range as a lead singer, and yet again he seems to have grown in confidence and abilities on both his instruments (e.g. opening "Parasomnia" with just his vocals, or his many distinctive bass leads).

A good example of the livelier pieces would be "Rainbow Box", a song notable for its punchy main bass riff and smouldering guitar/organ combo. I especially like the parts of Mariusz Dudas vocals where he is almost snarling his lines. "02 Panic Room" is another, also containing some impeccable contributions from the rhythm section. Along with this comes the added bonus of Piotr Grudzinski's slicing guitar and the beautiful layered harmonies of Duda's voice, making this one of the strongest songs on the album, and a presumably easy choice for the lead single. I especially like the mournful coda at the end; it's truly beautiful.

The three spacier gentle pieces are "Schizophrenic Prayer", "Through The Other Side" (which moves us from the 'Fearless' side of the album to 'Fearland') and "Embryonic". They all feature delicate atmospheres, provided by Micheal Lapaj, with soft or warm vocals and gentle acoustic strumming with restrained accompaniment. "Schizophrenic Prayer" is the pick of these three, with subtly off kilter drums and some beautiful harmonies. It exemplifies the hypnotic calm that Riverside are often able to deliver.

Even though "Rapid Eye Movement" is not the absolute pinnacle in Riverside's discography, it's still fantastic, especially if you want to indulge in Riverside's heavier side. Like all Riverside's studio albums, I think this would be a worthy place to start to convert a newcomer. For existing Riverside fans, the plus side is that the synths/keyboards have been better integrated with the heavier metal parts, the vocals are diverse and glorious (just listen to how they soar on "Cybernetic Pillow"), and the musicianship and emotional integrity is at the usual high level you would expect. I can heartily recommend "Rapid Eye Movement" to pretty much everyone. Still, it's not quite the same level as the previous two masterpieces that utterly floored me, so 4 stars should do it.

Report this review (#1026396)
Posted Saturday, August 31, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Their third release and the 3rd part of the Reality Dream Trilogy see Riverside continue their brand of Progressive Metal with great effect. The opener "Before The Eyelids" again makes me think about how good a voice Mariusz has got. Lots of PROG music suffers from poor vocal performances, but definitely not here!

02 Panic Room, what a song! Schizophrenic Prayer, another good one!. This album is constructed and executed in similar style to its predecessors which makes Riverside one of the artists I enjoy most to listen to. These first three albums are equally good and there's not much to choose between them.

The bonus disc features Lucid Dream IV, which I believe, is part of the Reality Dream instrumentals found on the previous 2 albums. I would recommend Riverside to anyone wanting to enjoy good solid Progressive ROCK!

Report this review (#1092237)
Posted Thursday, December 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5/5

And then there were three. The release of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) wound up the Reality Dream Trilogy, the first three albums united by their ambitious and lushly intricate musicality, and their common lyric arc of self-exploration and change. As it turned out, REM also marked the end of the first phase in the band's ongoing quest to explore new musical directions and keep themselves sounding fresh, but this wouldn't become clear until album number 4.

I find this a difficult album to review. I like it, of course, I like all the Riverside albums, and I would rather play REM than many other albums in my collection, but I rarely feel the urge to play it in its entirety. It is an album that seems "stuck between", as it were, in a kind of limbo between potential and success, as if something intangible is missing. In other words, it is not immediately obvious why REM should not be a well-played album. I don't have an easy explanation for why it niggles at me.

At any rate, I suspect that if anyone is going to bother to disagree with any of my Riverside reviews, it will be with REM. I know a lot of people connect with it, but I seem unable to do so. I think my issues with the album boil down to this: the largely hit-and-miss nature of both the songs and the lyrics.

The lyrics of REM appear to be themed around psychological aspects of duality and opposition: sides of our personalities that often are in conflict. Sleeping, dreaming, and the liminal state between sleep and wakefulness are some key metaphors that drive this theme. And I have to confess that these ideas are cleverly handled: hooky imagery abounds, sly cultural references, and plenty of deft turns of phrase -- and yet, there is just something missing.

At his best, Mariusz Duda pens lyrics that often come across as intensely personal, even autobiographical -- as if he is permitting us glimpses into the intimate corners of his soul. In so doing, the words often have the uncanny ability to reflect back our own fears, dreams, and hopes, and it strikes me that given the psychological struggles he is attempting to convey on this album, making that connection would be of paramount importance. And yet despite all the skillful imagery and evocative metaphor, I find this sense of intimacy is largely (but not completely) missing from the lyrics of REM. Except for the poignant "Embryonic", with its heartbreakingly simple tale of dying love, the ideas being conveyed are disappointingly remote.

Musically, REM seems to straddle two worlds. It carries over the lush, dense atmosphere of the previous two albums, but it also -- when it gets going -- is much heavier in feel: the guitars are often hard and jagged, the sound more unremittingly metal -- hints of the musical direction the band will take on the next album. However, I find that REM does not carry the memory-weight of the other albums. With a few exceptions, the songs just don't stick: it is the only Riverside album where I cannot immediately recall the name or the sound of several of the tracks, and I've listened to this album uncounted times since I discovered the band.

The exceptions, though, are incandescent: After the heavy but unmemorable opening track ("Beyond the Eyelids") the album ramps into high gear with "Rainbow Box"/"02 Panic Room"/"Schizophrenic Prayer": three short but monstrous ass-kickers in a row. This is some seriously huge music: the first two tracks chug and throb along (indeed, "02 Panic Room" may be among Riverside's greatest, most beloved songs), and while "Schizophrenic Prayer" is not quite as relentless it is a fitting windup to this massive threesome.

Alas...after that surge of brilliance the album never manages to regain momentum. Like all the Riverside albums, there are long, intricate progressive tracks, but unlike pretty much all the other Riverside albums -- in fact, REM may be unique in this respect -- none of these seem to develop into anything memorable. And perhaps that can sum up the entire album...apart from a few of the short songs, the album just sits there, as if Inspiration, that most important tenth Muse, had gone on vacation.


But all is not lost....

And then there is the bonus disc. This would be the first album that offered a second disc of bonus material, and these tracks prove to be the album's saving grace. REM II is a collection of somewhat experimental, mostly instrumental tracks: after the remix and revision ("02 Panic Room" and "Beyond the Eyelids" respectively) the rest of the bonus material consists of the band romping its way joyfully through short tracks and long, showcasing influences and vocal play.

"Lucid Dream IV" is a massive metal stompfest along the lines of the three "Reality Dream" instrumentals, but taken to another facemelting level. "Back to the River" is more ambient, contemplative, and unapologetically Floydish -- so much so that when they break into a passage from 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond" the surprise is but momentary -- and naturally they pull it off with casual perfection. "Rapid Eye Movement", perhaps the real epic of the entire album, builds itself over layers of vocal noises: hisses and clicks and chitters and heavy breathing as Duda experiments with his voice as pure instrument.

At the end of the day...Riverside's Reality Dream Trilogy ends in a bit of a slump, with an album somewhere in between their best and their not-so-best (one hesitates to say "worst" -- it is not a word much used in the context of Riverside), sitting towards the bottom of the list mostly due to its sheer averageness. Of course, REM has its adherents -- all the albums do. You just can't hit it out of the park for everyone, every time.

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Posted Saturday, August 8, 2015 | Review Permalink
The Crow
4 stars Compared to other Riverside albums Rapid Eye Movement is just average. But it's miles away over the average of prog-rock releases from the last decade!

Riverside tried to become a bit more accessible in this one, sacrificing their most progressive side in some tracks while maintaining their trademark of strong bass lines, atmospheric keyboards, detailed drumming, great riffs and solos, alongside with tortured lyrics. It was a bit shocking for the fans of the band back in 2007 and considered as a step back, but ten years after the release of the album we can appreciate the tremendous quality of the songs without prejudice and look at this record as the unique and especial step further in the career of the band that undoubtedly is.

Beyond the Eyelids, nevertheless, follows the path of Second Life Syndrome with an intricate and strong beginning, very progressive and even darker as their previous compositions. The chorus is great and so is the final atmospheric solo. Rainbow Box has a brutal initial bass which opens a song which talks about metal illness and the effects of its treatment. Intense, good and why not, with some Porcupine Tree influences.

02 Panic Room has some electronic basis in the vein of the EP Voices in my Head. The great chorus and the incredible final part polish one of the hits of the alum, with lyrics based on the splendid videogame Silent Hill 4: The Room. This two tracks are more direct, not so progressive and they brought a not very welcomed new style for Riverside. But I find both songs just awesome!

But for the fans of Second Life Syndrome, Schizophrenic Prayer brings the mood of this album back, with its insidious vocal melodies at the beginning. The rhythmic base is original and unique, and the ending of the song is a bit more conventional, but very good nevertheless. And also fantastic is Parasomnia, which contains the darkest lyrics of the album and one of the most progressive instrumental developments. I specially love the section after "Drugged from sleep?" Pure Riverside magic!

Through the Other side is a fine acoustic song in the vein of Us from Voices in My Head (this EP totally introduced the style of Rapid Eye Movements) which is a welcomed changed of intensity in the album. Sadly, Embryonic is another acoustic track but not so good this time, giving the impression that the album lost a bit direction at this point, despite the good guitar solo towards the end of the song.

Cybernetic Pillow tries to get the album back on track, but it's not as good as the first five song. The Tool-based riffs are just fine, and after the chorus we can hear a typical Riverside melody. Just Ok. But luckily Ultimate Trip saves the album from disaster, because is one of the best song included here, and also the most uplifting one. It has an outstanding instrumental work, even with some classic hard rock influences and another incredible final section, which contains the best guitars of the album and a very good bass line.

I had the luck to enjoy Riverside playing this song with my beloved wife in Madrid, back in 2011, and it was just unforgettable! Since then, I like Ultimate Trip even more.

Conclusion: Rapid Eye Movement is not perfect. It suffers from a clear drop after the just fine Through the Other Side because of two lackluster songs, and this gives the false impression that this album is worse than actually is, because it contains six other tracks which can easily be considered true Riverside classics. And taking in consideration the quality of this band that's just awesome.

In addition, the slight musical change to make some songs a bit more accessible was not very well welcomed by fans of the first two albums back in 2007. But after ten years I consider this album even more especial for that reason, despite the initial shock that we had the first time we heard it. And sincerely, it also contains some of the best and darkest lyrics of the band's history.

Best Tracks: the whole Fearless section plus Ultimate Trip.

My Rating: ****

Report this review (#1771748)
Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2017 | Review Permalink

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