Riverside – Rapid Eye Movement Review

Riverside – Rapid Eye Movement

2007’s Rapid Eye Movement was the third full-length studio album by the Polish Progressive band Riverside, and served as the story conclusion to their concept-trilogy “Reality Dream.”

Musically, Riverside play a mixture of 1970s influenced Progressive Rock sounds, a little touch of Neo-prog and a lot of more modern Prog Metal sounds. If you’ve heard them before you can hear touches of things like Tool, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Pain of Salvation etc as well as the obvious Pink Floyd influence, but crucially all delivered in a fresh and original way. There’s a distinctive Riverside sound all of its own, that more evokes the spirit of those acts than sounds like a rip-off or a medley of covers.

In terms of quality, the band are absolutely top notch and a coming out with some of the most enjoyable music available right now. This album is a fantastic addition to anybody’s collection. It’s the kind of grower that you keep getting more and more out of on repeat listens and should more than satisfy anyone who’s curious about the band.

Admittedly, stylistically a few people may be disappointed by the album, but equally many fans will be pleased. You see, the band experimented with adding a bit more of a Metal influence on their previous album “Second Life Syndrome” and “Rapid Eye Movement” takes that idea even further, which may scare off some of the fans who absolutely hate all things Metal, but equally will please fans with a more Metal background.

As well as incorporating Metal, the band try their hand at a few shorter and more succinct songs, such as ‘O2 Panic Room,’ ‘Rainbow Box’ and ‘Cybernetic Pillow’ which on the one hand sound like they may have felt out of place on the band’s debut, but absolutely fit within the context of this record. You still have Marisusz’s superb melancholic vocal stylings, songs still feel intriguing and atmospheric and there’s still plenty of Hammond and Keys so it all feels firmly anchored in the Riverside tradition.

Regardless of style however, the production job, performances, lyrical content and overall levels of creativity and power are up to the same remarkable standard of the band’s excellent back catalogue and as long as you don’t hate Metal outright, or only want 12 minute Floyd-influenced tracks (although don’t worry they’re still here too, check out ‘Ultimate Trip’) and nothing else, then this should really grow on you. If you hear anything negative about the album, its probably more to do with people’s personal tolerance-levels of Metal or expectations of another “Out Of Myself” than to do with the quality of the record.

Overall; the album is probably the heaviest, and most succinct of any of Riverside’s output to date but still fits in perfectly with their overall sound. Its well made, well written and masterfully performed, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in the band or the style of music in general.

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