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Riverside - Anno Domini High Definition CD (album) cover

ANNO DOMINI HIGH DEFINITION

Riverside

 

Progressive Metal

4.21 | 1202 ratings

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

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

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

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

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

Prog Leviathan | 4/5 |

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