Polish Progressive metal band Retrospective have always been a steady and consistent factor in the Polish progressive scene. With a solid line-up and three very high quality recordings under the belt, I was eager to listen to their latest effort; Latent Avidity. Although the band was formed in 2005 and were always consistent in their line-up, their 2019 releases sees the departure of guitarist Alan Szczepaniak. Leaving Retrospective with just Maciej Klimek as sole guitarist. The remaining musicians are vocalist Jakub Roszak, keyboard player and vocalist Beata Lagoda, bass player Lukasz Marszalek and drummer Robert Kusik. Just for the record, I referred to Latent Avidity as their fourth album, because I am not counting Stolen Thoughts - 10th Anniversary Remastered as a new album, although the vocals were re-recorded for that album.
With this new album, the minor Riverside references have gently faded away and due to the distinguished vocals of Jakub Roszak, the band definitely have created their own, recognizable style. Bands like Pink Floyd and Marillion still have left their influences; listen to Still There, here especially the guitar has a refined David Gilmour sound during the solo. The following Loneliness sees Beate Lagoda taking the lead vocals; a nice accessible song is the result and makes sure there is enough musical variety on the album. One of the highlights on the album is The Seed Has Been Sown, with Jakub's excellent vocals and a special vocal part in the middle, The guitar riffs are tougher and contrast nicely with the smooth single notes. Overall the track is almost danceable, but I guess that's due to the drum sound, which on the album sounds programmed or at least uses copy pasted patterns. The drum sound on the album does bother me a bit sometimes. But lets not nit-pick and proceed. Stop For A While is a beautiful ballad style composition with fine guitar soloing and subtle piano. Both In The Middle Of The Forest as well as Programmed Fear are solid and modern sounding compositions, highlighting the great guitar parts, dedicated vocals and subtle keyboards. The final track on the album, What Will Be Next? is my personal favourite, I think the afore mentioned Pink Floyd reference is obvious on this track, but also some more neo progressive elements have entered. The strong vocals and guitar really do it for me.
Latent Avidity surely opens new gates for Retrospective, musically they combine a sound of their own with strong Floydian aspects. I guess this is due to Maciej Klimek being the only guitarist in the band. Where on the previous release the bass sound dominated sometimes, Latent Avidity sees the drums being dominant and in my opinion lacks on variation. Nevertheless, I still love the album.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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