And here is the fifth studio album from Poland's Retrospective and it is called Introvert. It took another four years after Latent Avidity (see review) saw the light of day. Four years is nothing new for this band, actually they always release every four years another studio album. If I read the reviews of earlier albums, Retrospective never gave the fans a bad album at all. For me Introvert is the introduction of the band.
Retrospective has a really steady line-up. In all of their history only guitar player Alan Szczepaniak left the band. He now is replaced by Darek Kaźmierczak. The rest of the band are Jakub Roszak (lead vocals), Beata Łagoda (keyboard, backing vocals), Maciej Klimek (guitar), Łukasz Marszałek (bass) and Robert Kusik (drums). On the previous album we only had Maciej klimek playing the guitar. Presumably the band wanted to have a second guitar player again.
Log Out is the opener of the album. Because of the atmospheric style, you are directly into the music, well done. The song is a bit hypnotising for me because of the steady rhythm section as well as the flying keyboard sounds. Also the guitar has it's moments. The vocals of Jakub and Beata are fantastic, what a duo on vocals. It reminds me a bit of Touchstone, but these vocalists have more tension and that sounds fantastic. Toward the end of the song it is all darker, heavier and more aggressive. The style of the band is not easy to guess and is a melting pot of various musicalities like neo prog, a bit of alternative rock, sometimes progrock and nowadays progmetal.
After Log Out it is time for New Perspective that starts in a way as Riverside used to play, up-tempo with smooth guitar riffs. For me this song is absolutely great. Why? Well, because there is a wide variety of styles and speed. This song has everything you want from music. Again a lot of duo singing, solos and actually too much to mention. The repeat button is needed to discover everything the song has to give you.
In Invincible Man you hear sometimes a bit of Ayreon, and then especially of the duo vocals. A lot is happening in the song, again. Good song.
Intoxicated Generation is the longest song on the album. It all starts quiet and builds up slowly. It is exiting to listen to. The guitar in this song is grooving and gets you by the throat. Sometimes it is danceable, still when it is grooving. If that isn't strange... It has a hypnotising and rousing rhythm with guitar playing in the Pink Floyd style. Also Antimatter comes to mind. The end of the song becomes more heavy and demanding. It feels if you are cycling with a headwind against wind force 10, powerful but appreciated and when reached the goal it was all worth it!
Away has a bit of The Art Of Noise from the 80s. This stays in your head for a long time. The song is dormant and the voice of Jakub and Beata are dominant here. It has to be said that they both can sing what they want. It is amazing that they seem to be able to do this so easily. Another point is the keyboards, they sound so 2022, fresh. Lastly I have to say that the guitar parts are lingering and intense.
Then it is the turn for the latest track of the album, Self-Control. Rhythmically the song immediately collapses, just how neo prog needs to be played. The song seems to be an addition of all previous songs, nice prog music with space for everybody. Sometimes heavy, then rhythmical, then a ripping guitar and towards the end more vicious. Never a dull moment.
Conclusion: prog at its best with an album that rocks solid. Very varied songs, not a single outsider but all authentic. The strengths of this album I think are the incredibly good harmony vocals between Beata and Jakub, both strong singers. They complement each other very well. All instruments are very balanced. The music sounds fresh and it seems the band is having a great time, you can hear that. Despite the fact that you regularly recognize another band in the music, Retrospective does have its own sound. I am grateful to get to know this band through reviewing this album.
***** Michel Stolk (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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