In 2006 Marc Atkinson (vocals, guitars) and Brendan Eyre (keyboards) already started to write songs together under the moniker of Riversea. However, it took them much longer than initially was planned to release an album. Why rush into something if time's on your side? Slowly the material took shape and finally the time was right to ask some musical friends to contribute to the compositions. In 2012 the fruit of all this labour resulted in the release of their debut Out Of An Ancient World.
Well, I think they may be proud of this album, because it's superb and it proves that all those years were well spent. The almost 65 minutes of music contain a high musical level. The entire album can be regarded to be an emotional roller coaster thanks to the strong emotional singing of Marc Atkinson. In a way you might compare his vocal qualities to those of Ray Wilson (ex-Genesis) and Lukasz Gall (Millenium, Moonrise). Above all the music on the album is dominated by the keyboards of Brendan Eyre. He has the ability to play fine emotional parts on the piano and marvellous string synthesizer parts that sometimes sound very bombastic. But he also succeeded in providing the music a certain ambient feel by playing parts on which you can dream away.
When the guest guitarists start to play you get the impression that David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) was asked to do some excellent solos, but that's not the case. The people responsible for these pleasant guitar parts are Bryan Josh, Liam Davison (both Mostly Autumn), Paul Cusick, Adrian Jones (Nine Stones Close) and Adam Dawson (Stolen Earth). A large part of the album is very mellow having hardly any rhythmic patterns. However, when rhythms are involved they're very well performed by Dave Clements (bass) and Alex Cromarty (drums). Although Atkinson is a strong singer, he's not the only vocalist on this album. The duo invited Olivia Sparnenn (Mostly Autumn), Louise Dawson and Janine Benn, three great female singers, in order to add some outstanding vocals to several tracks. Tony Patterson (ReGenesis) is a singer as well, but on this album he only plays the flute just like he does in the Genesis tribute bands playing the parts of Peter Gabriel. And please, pay attention to the fantastic artwork by Ed Unitsky!
For people who still don't know what kind of music you can expect on Out Of An Ancient World I will mention some references. That will make it easier to decide whether you'll listen to the album or even buy it. I think the music comes close to the music created by Anathema, Moonrise, Rain, Pink Floyd, Paul Cusick and Mickey Simmonds. If you like that kind of music you'll probably have a good time while listening to Riversea's debut. This CD got stuck in my CD player for a very long time. For that reason I can only give the highest rating of five stars to this magnificent album that certainly belongs to the musical highlights of 2012!
***** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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