Fans of Polish progressive rock quartet Riverside have been waiting two years for a conclusion to the band’s Reality Dream trilogy, and now they have it.
The first two chapters, Out of Myself and Second Life Syndrome, were concepts about depression and lack of identity. As a final installment, Rapid Eye Movement, released Oct. 9, falls short of expectations and its predecessors but is phenomenal on its own.
Coming together in 2001 just to jam, Mariusz Duda, Piotr Grudzinski, Piotr Kozieradzki and Michal Lapaj soon realized they had a shared appreciation for the same music. Their first two LPs revealed great use of dynamics, entrancing syncopations and some of the best melodies the genre has ever seen.
There was something truly special about them that Rapid Eye Movement lacks, but combined, the band has created one of the best epics in progressive rock’s history.
A very nice touch used to give the trilogy cohesion is beginning Out Of Myself and ending Rapid Eye Movement with the sound of a radio being tuned to different stations. This results in the album feeling like a connected final episode.
The trademark virtuosity and vocal chanting is present in “Beyond the Eyelids,” confirming that Riverside is back with a vengeance.
There are moments of metal riffing and seconds-long angry growls, incredibly complex time signature changes and ventures into soft beauty.
Riverside has always had a great duality in its music. The instrumental parts are tricky and jaw-dropping, but the songwriting and knack for creating truly great melodies is just as impressive.
All of that aside, Rapid Eye Movement does have some faults. One noticeable flaw is also part of Riverside’s recognizable sound, so it may be intentional. Throughout their career, the band members used the same tones for their
instruments, like the guitar. Also, the solos have the same style.
Since this CD is part of a bigger whole, all three albums need to sound somewhat alike. However, by Rapid Eye Movement, the undeniable sound gets a bit redundant.
In addition, the melodies aren’t as involving as they should be. The album lacks the energy and heart that a
conclusion should have and is almost definitively the weakest entry.
Although its influences are a little too obvious, Riverside has created a trademark sound. The first parts of its ambitious Reality Dream trilogy are two of the greatest albums the genre has seen lately.
Though Rapid Eye Movement is a great accomplishment, the Riverside members lazily and disappointingly seem to just want to end it.