The fourth album of Polish band Riverside is my second introduction to the band. After seeing them at the first Symforce festival at the 013 venue in Tilburg, I decided that their interpretation of symphonic prog was not my cup of tea. For me, they sounded far too loud and too heavy. Besides, the band members seemed quite nervous and played without any interaction with the audience. Riverside became my biggest disappointment of that wonderful prog day in September 2007.
However, after listening too Anno Domini High Definition several times, I had to change my mind about the band. Gradually I got used to the way they interpret progressive rock. On ADHD, the pace of modern life is the general theme. The first track Hyperactive starts with a gentle piano theme played by keyboardist Michal Lapaj. Then the heavy guitar riffs of Piotr Grudzinski take over. The dark voice and bass of Mariusz Duda and the powerful drumming by Pjotr Kozieradzki complete this energetic track. The second track Driven To Destruction strongly reminded me of Anathema, one of my favourite bands. This track features some wonderful Hammond-organ solos. Egoist Hedonist is divided into three parts. This is the most interesting and in my opinion, the best piece on ADHD. The rhythm builds up from slowly to very fast. Itís as if youíre sitting in a rollercoaster. This piece contains several solos in which all the band members can show their talents. I think this track will become one of the audienceís favourites during the next tour in autumn this year. Left Out is another excellent track. It starts with fine bass playing and perfect singing by Mariusz Duda soon followed by a majestic guitar solo in the vein of David Gilmour. After four minutes, the song breaks out with several Hammond and guitar solos and it ends with heavy instrumental rock the way Deep Purple did in the old days. Well done! The final track Hybrid Times is the longest and the heaviest piece. The keyword of the song is Ďobsessioní. With the Opeth-like screaming and some synthesizer solos, itís going even faster than a rollercoaster. This is certainly not a song for a quiet Sunday morning.††††††††††
I find Anno Domini High Definition very interesting and one of the best progressive albums of 2009. Iím looking forward to see them perform in autumn this year.
**** Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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