RIVERSIDE — Anno Domini High Definition

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RIVERSIDE - Anno Domini High Definition cover
4.41 | 79 ratings | 9 reviews
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Album · 2009


1. Hyperactive (5:46)
2. Driven to Destruction (7:06)
3. Egoist Hedonist (8:57)
I. Different?
II. Hedonist Party
III. Straw Man Dance
4. Left Out (10:59)
5. Hybrid Times (11:54)

Total Time: 44:42


- Mariusz Duda / vocals, bass, acoustic guitar
- Piotr Grudzinski / guitars
- Michal Lapaj / keyboards
- Piotr Kozieradzki / drums

Special Guests:
Rafał Gańko – trumpet on "Egoist Hedonist"
Karol Gołowacz – saxophone on "Egoist Hedonist"
Adam Kłosiński – trombone on "Egoist Hedonist"

About this release

Released by InsideOut Music / SPV CD, June 19th, 2009

Released by Mystic Production is Poland.
Both have the same cover/layout

Cover art by Travis Smith
Produced by Riverside and Szymon Chech
Recorded and mixed by Szymon Chech
Mastered by Grzegorz Piwkowski

Thanks to Phonebook Eater, bartosso, progshine, adg211288, 666sharon666 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

The Crow
After the slightly disappointing Rapid Eye Movement, Riverside returned to top form with one of their best albums to date!

Based on a concept which talks about uncommunication and isolation in modern society given by technology, hedonism and egoism, Riverside managed to create five wonderful songs in the vein of Second Life Syndrome (not so dark like Rapid Eye Movement) but even heavier, making this album their hardest to date.

The album is more guitar oriented than their previous three and the keyboards are also rockier, with extensive use of Hammond, making this album sound a bit less symphonic and more straightforward heavy prog. The drumming is also fantastic and so are the incredible bass lines and mellow (and sometiemes really harsh) singing of Mariusz.

Best tracks: all of them! But Left Out is a marvelous melancholic classic.

Conclusion: Anno Domini High Definition is one of the highest peaks in Riverside's career in terms of quality, and it's also their heaviest record. All five tracks are just an outstanding sample of modern prog rock at its best, making this album one of the most prominent of the last decade.

A masterpiece of music in general and an absolute must for every prog lover!

My rating: *****

P.S.: this review was originally written for ProgArchives.com
"Anno Domini High Definition" is the 4th full-length studio album by Polish progressive rock/metal act Riverside. The album was released in Poland in June 2009 through Mystic Production. The European and the US releases were in July 2009. The cover artwork was created by Travis Smith. There´s a special edition available with a bonus DVD containing parts of the concert recorded in Paradiso club (Amsterdam) in December 2008 during the "Reality Dream (2008)" Tour.

The music on "Anno Domini High Definition" continues the progressive rock/metal style that Riverside has played on their previous three studio albums, "Out of Myself (2003)", "Second Life Syndrome (2005)" and "Rapid Eye Movement (2007)". There´s a pretty strong emphasis on the metal side of the group´s sound on this album though and the softer progressive rock sections are fewer compared to the previous releases. "Anno Domini High Definition" is generally quite the heavy album. Don´t expect too many surprises though. This is still unmistakably the sound of Riverside, with atmospheric rock sections and mellower moments to compliment the heavy riffing. The music features many instrumental sections in addition the vocal sections, which are as usual delivered in the pleasant and warm voice of Mariusz Duda. The musicianship is generally on a high level. Great soloing, strong rhythmic playing and nice keyboard work throughout. In addition to that "Anno Domini High Definition" is packed in a detailed and powerful sound production.

So overall "Anno Domini High Definition" is a strong release, but if I have to the honest Riverside have gone in the complete opposite direction of what I had hoped for with "Anno Domini High Definition" and although the album is objectively seen a high quality product and a great listening experience I´m personally slightly disappointed that there are not more atmospheric progressive rock parts on the album. I´ve always felt that Riverside´s strength was in their softer progressive rock side and not in their progressive metal side and to my ears this release is the proof of that. It´s when the band are most melodic and sophisticated like they are on "Left Out" and not when they play heavier parts like they do on "Hyperactive", that they shine. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is still warranted even though I feel this is a step down from their previous releases.
This is quite a difficult album for me and very different compared to their early PINK FLOYD-ish effort. I spotted more metal element, combined with some alternative/90s sounding, and a lot of instrumental exploitation. 'Hyperactive' is a blasting start, a chaotic form of song that's constructed with shots of guitars and synthesizer, but as a song, this is quite average and didn't fascinate me like the next one did. 'Driven To Destruction' is a solid 7 minutes that's quite heavy with psychedelic touch and alternative structure. I'm in awe with the riffs and the solo is just exceptional!

Divided into 3 parts, I must say that 'Egoist Hedonist' is the centerpiece of this album. I love how the ethereal vocal walks in, packed with groovy riffs and then evolve into a heavy tune. The usage of trumpet is also unusual and added depth to the whole complex song. 'Left Out' is also a great bluesy track, quite similar to the early era, mostly slow and a bit lengthy but beautiful. 'Hybrid Times' is quite similar with 'Hyperactive' in terms of arrangement but sadly I think some later part of this song is quite dull and repetitive.

The production and musicianship is almost flawless but for me, this album suffered with a weaker opener and closer hence the lower overall score which I can think of around 75%-78%. Still a good album but I’m afraid, it’s not as great as many had rated.

Believe it or not, but Riverside performed a miracle here. They redefined classic progressive metal, a genre stale to the point of being almost inedible. Forget Drag Theater and take a look at the ingredients Riverside mixed here: 1.) spatter of oriental music 2.) pinch of vintage space rock 3.) handful of feel 4.) spoonful of talent.

While the album begins with a very good yet rather one-dimensional track ("Hyperactive"), the band gets more and more creative with every subsequent minute just to become hyper-creative around the middle of the record and stay that way till almost the very end. I have some minor objections concerning some lengthy (and a little bit generic) instrumentals but as a flawed masterpiece, ANNO DOMINI HIGH DEFINITION makes you forget about them almost immediately. Really, I'm the last person to enjoy classic progressive metal but Riverside mixed all the best elements of vintage prog metal and infused the blend with thunderous Hammonds in the vein of Deep Purple, space rock synths reminiscent of Ozric Tentacles and art-rock elegance brought in by emotional vocals and wonderful "Gilmour-on-amphetamine" lead guitar passages.

This is indeed a great record, very different from previous Riverside albums - more powerful, dynamic and modern yet still set in their unparalleled emotional style. Created with great passion and imagination, ANNO DOMINI HIGH DEFINITION can be counted among the best prog metal efforts ever made. Excellent work!
Anno Domini High Definition is the fourth full-length studio album by the Polish Progressive Metal band Riverside. It was released in 2009 and is their first full length-album that isn’t part of the conceptual series ‘Reality Dream.’ The album consists of five tracks, arranged from shortest to longest, beginning with a five-minute track and ending on an almost twelve-minute one. It went gold in Poland and was surrounded by a considerable hype and expectation around the time of its release.

The album moves a little outside the band’s established sound (even the style of artwork is a different from the band’s established tradition) and the music is a little funkier, more bass driven and a little more Deep Purple influenced than any of their other releases. There is less of a focus on texture and more of a focus on musicianship. The songs are still slow building, proggy and diverse in a way, but this is a notably different way than on their earlier albums.

The fourth track ‘Left Out’ for example is a slow and brooding key driven song that brings to mind Led Zeppelin’s ‘No Quarter’ as much as it does the softer sides of Camel, Pink Floyd, Opeth and the likes at the beginning at least, until of course it kicks into a metal section at the four minute mark, but then again even that is overlaid with Deep Purple sounding keys. By the nine-minute mark the songs sounds equal parts Tool and Dream Theater, while also having a sort of Pink Floyd’s ‘One Of These Days’ or ‘Sheep’ feel to it. These sonic references are only loosely reminiscent though, not actual sound-alikes. All the music sounds like Riverside to one degree or another, which is part of the album’s strength.

It is difficult to really pick a favourite song or album highlight when you consider that there are only five songs and they are all great and that they are paradoxically similar in their diversity. They all mix metal moments with prog sounds, are instrumentally impressive, cover a lot of different moods each and all feature the same vocal style. Some tracks add Saxophone or Theremin and some feature less vocals than the others, but everything is of the same high quality, with about the same level of immediacy and about the same level of experimentation.

Everyone’s personal opinion is different though, and of course each and every one of them is as valid as the next. Some fans who liked the band since their early days feel that the record is too much of a departure from their established sound and some people who came to the band for the first time with this album also believe that it doesn’t live up to the hype. Personally, I like the album an awful lot.

Overall, Anno Domini High Definition is a superb album of diverse and musically impressive material that keeps me interested from beginning to end and I would strongly recommend it if you usually like this sort of thing.

*** If you can get it for a similar price, try and get the version which comes with the Live In Amsterdam 2008 DVD.

This is a professionally filmed 40-minute show consisting of seven tracks from the band’s earlier works. The tracklisting is: 1. Volte-Face 2. I Turned You Down 3. Reality Dream III 4. Beyond The Eyelids 5. Conceiving You 6. Ultimate Trip (shortened) 7. O2 Panic Room .

They band are tight, focused and play on a good stage production (lights, camera movement and screens) to small but very an appreciative audience. It’s a very enjoyable extra, especially if you are a new fan. ***
Anno Domini High Definition (ADHD) is all killer, no filler, a full blown masterpiece.

I publicly announce my official conversion to Riverside. Although I am new to this band I am absolutely convinced they are setting the bar high with their last 3 albums. This, their latest, is absolutely stunning music from end to end. The musical virtuosity is excellent, I love that pounding Hammond sound and the guitars are intricate and soar over the music. The vocals are easy to listen to, similar to Steven Wilson's style, and every track rises and soars with lengthy instrumental sections that feature incredible guitar and burning keyboards.

Egoist Hedonist utilises trumpets by guest stars and it is an effective moment on the track. The ambience of the quieter sections are balanced by all out psych prog freakouts and this is a heavy album with melancholy singing mixed with aggressive growling at times. The guitars are Jon Petrucci like, but there is a signature trademark sound that Riverside captures.

Every track seems to blend seamlessly into one 44 minute track but definitely a real highlight is 'Left Out' and the closer 'Hybrid Times' absolutely kills featuring Theremin would you believe!

'Hyperactive' is a short (5:45) opening number to get things started beginning soft piano that builds to a fortissimo of keyboards and bass. The killer riff chugs along frenetically and the off kilter drums are outstanding.

'Egoist Hedonist' would be one of the best prog metal tracks I have heard. It delivers with symphonic glacial landscape atmospherics with the warm vocals chiming in. The ambience of serenity is broken with the fractured angular guitars; an all out metal onslaught off the scale.

The absolute icing on the cake is the limited edition DVD that feature the band Live at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, a popular venue for prog metal such as Pain of Salvation on their 'Ending Themes' DVD. The Riverside concert is resplendent with colourful lighting and a tiny display screen but the music is the main star. 'Volte Face' hammers along with shimmering organ and relentless guitar riffing. The band play many tracks from their last 2 albums. 'Volte Face', 'Conceiving You,' 'I turned you Down' and 'Reality Dream III' are from "Second Life Syndrome" and are played to perfection. The Tracks from "Rapid Eye Movement" are 'Beyond the Eyelids', '02 Panic Room' and 'Ultimate Trip'. Though this is not their best album from what I have read, the tracks are equally good on the live stage.

The crowd absolutely adore them and the band effortlessly perform one track after another with little explanation or introduction whipping them into a frenzy. The DVD runs for 40 minutes only, but it's well worth getting hold of. So this package features some of the best of the band thus far and is a pleasant experience. If you are new to the band you can expect accomplished musicianship with intricate drum patterns, screaming guitar breaks, keyboard flourishes and complex time signature changes.

There is a thread of Dream Theater, a layer of Porcupine Tree, a spattering of Deep Purple, and a teaspoon of Pain of Salvation, but Riverside are carving a niche in prog metal that is their own and deserved of cult status. If they were not mega stars in the prog world after their Reality Dream Trilogy, ADHD seals the deal and launches them to the stratosphere. Poland bands bow down and worship the new masters. They are undisputed brilliant musicians and this CD package is indispensable.

A 5 star triumph!

Phonebook Eater

"Anno Domini High Definition" is the quintessential modern prog album,the true essence of progressive metal.

Riverside's fourth album, released in 2009, finally showed me how progressive metal can penetrate your soul so strongly that you can't forget about it. Indeed, "Anno Domini High Definition" has become one of my favorite albums of all time, and it never seizes to amaze me for the fact that it's such a new and innovating album, and how it changed my life despite being released only one year ago.

I couldn't help noticing how this album was badmouthed by many Riverside fans, since it is very different from their previous efforts: the atmospheric Pink Floydish moments are practically gone, the sound is much crunchier, more crude, and of course heavier. It is a 100% progressive METAL album. Also, the song structures are more complex (it took me about seven listens to finally understand ADHD well), because of many time changes and the number of tracks goes down to five, and, as a consequence, the length of the album is shorter than those 60 minute Riverside records released previously.

How come this album is a landmark in progressive metal history? Let's look back at the previous prog metal masterpieces: with "Operation Mindcrime" there is a introduction to epic concept albums, with Images And Words" the genre reaches mainstream success, with "Scenes From A Memory" concept albums start to become more concentrated on the music, making some mind blowing songs and passages, with "The Perfect Element" some more modern elements are introduced in the music, "The Human Equation" proved that mixing prog metal with many different styles of music is a definite winning formula, even with "Second Life Syndrome" there is a different approach to heaviness, using also some space/ psych rock moments. I could list more albums, but I think these are the really important ones.

Anno Domini High Definition is important because it is indeed heavy, but there is no particular virtuosity from the musicians, there are no thrashy riffs, everything seems like it's coming straight from the heart.Even though there's no particular virtuosity, the band really is able to use and keep at the same level, without one overshadowing the others, all the instruments, that all have their shiny moments. The production is great, the sounds here sound very modern, almost futuristic because of the unbelievable use of synths, which many times produce some crazy sounds that are truly breathtaking and fascinating, and I could say I have never heard anything like it before, not even from a keyboardist such as Jordan Rudess. And finally, even though not as much as "The Human Equation" by Ayreon, the album is very eclectic: metal, jazz, some spanish taste (only in "Egoist Hedonist" for something like thirty seconds), ambient, electronic, and maybe even some synth pop.

This five song LP doesn't have a bad moment, as a consequence the album is quite solid. The opener "Hyperdrive" an unbelievable intro for this album, that creates such an amazing energy, with it's many time changes and hooks, in only five minutes. "Driven To Destruction" goes more progressive, and even though it has a really catchy guitar riff that explodes after two minutes of semi-building. Another great song for Riverside, with once again many hooks, slower and more tense ones as well. "Egoist Hedonist" is where the building and the tension is the highest, but it's also where these moments are he most haunting; this eight minute track is in fact the mot beautiful one here, constructed like a sort of minisuite. At mid song, it gets quite loud, it get's quiet again (for me this is the highest peak of the album) to explode into a fantastic climactic ending. "Left Alone" is a ten minute song that is the biggest and most succesful builder here; almost half of it is meditative, calm, and haunting like few songs. The end is of course also climactic. "Hybrid Times" is the closure and the longest song here (eleven minutes), a beautifully but differently structured piece,that starts with mind blowing prog metal and that has an unexpected ambient ending to a terrific masterpiece.

This said, I realize how I'm maybe the only one that recognizes this as an important record, but I'm sure it will be considered that way in the years to come. "Anno Domini High Definition" is the quintessential modern prog album, the true essence of progressive metal miraculously carved in these five tracks.
Riverside's most recent release and fourth full-length studio album is Anno Domini High Definition. The album shows the heavy side of the band more than on previous releases, which means that there is less focus on creating atmosphere. This is probably my main issue with the album. It isn't bad though, not at all. The album shows excellent musicianship and does really feature some great music.

The album opens with the haunting piano playing of "Hyperactive". This will soon change in menacing metal that's very rich of synths. The song is very powerful, like most songs on the album, though it isn't a masterpiece. The same goes for "Driven To Destruction"; a good song, but nothing more. The following songs are longer ,more progressive, and also more interesting. "Egoist Hedonist" features some cheesy melodies but in the end is a very nice song. "Left Out" is probably the most atmospheric song on the album and in my opinion the best. It shows some excellent musicianship and I can't really say much bad about it. The closing track, "Hybrid Times" starts with a piano intro, like "Hyperactive". Soon the song will burst out into the heaviest track on the album, that isn't much less good than "Left Out".

There aren't really bad songs on here, though none are really overwhelming. All songs are incredibly powerful though, and while that might sound positive I don't think it is. The album sounds a bit unbalanced because of this, which I think really is a shame. The bonus DVD, which is recorded at the Paradiso in the Netherlands is a nice feature. The performance is excellent, and much more atmospheric than the album itself. This is because it features songs from the previous albums. This live performance also shows the excellent musicianship of the band.

Three stars seems like a very good rating for this album. It isn't bad by any means, but just lacks the atmosphere that is so defining for Riverside's sound. I'd recommend this to anyone liking some powerful prog metal with psychedelic influences and not minding a bit of cheese here and there.
Anno Domini High Definition is the fourth studio effort by Polish act Riverside, a band that seems to steadily become more and more popular.

And their eclectic mix of sounds and styles is still innovative 8 years into their career, blending classical-inspired and ambient dreamy segments with sophisticated hard rock and progressive metal, including the inclusion of a few subtle elements from the more extreme parts of the latter at times.

The tracks are diversified, at times to the extreme, suddenly evolving affairs that are unpredictable and challenging despite not utilizing any extreme effects of any sort. Fans of dissonant sounds and disharmonic passages can safely look elsewhere for their entertainment - sparse sequences with insistent dominating elements or richly flavoured and textured themes is the name of the game here. And the latest addition to Riverside's arsenal of sounds - or at least the latest to be given a dominating role - is the organ. Adding a vintage tinge to their otherwise rather modern sounding excursions.

Personally I don't find this latest effort to be a truly great effort though. Final track Hybrid Times is a stunning affair though, and the only creation that didn't really grab my attention was Left Out. The rest of the album, the opening three numbers to be precise, are solid, strong affairs though. And I suspect that all of them eventually may grow on me as well as other listeners - there's so much going on there that it takes more than a handful of listens to digest it all.

But with the limitations the latter does give as far as reaching a conclusion goes, I note this down as a solid effort, and one with a potential to be regarded as more than that as time goes by.

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