RETROSPECTIVE — iNtroVert (review)

RETROSPECTIVE — iNtroVert album cover Album · 2022 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
RETROSPECTIVE is one of the many Polish bands that have emerged in the 21st century that straddles the line between neo-prog / symphonic prog and progressive metal in the vein of the nation’s most popular export of this ilk, Riverside. Founded in 2005, this band almost goes as far back as Riverside itself. Amazingly enough despite almost 20 years on the scene and six albums under its belt, RETROSPECTIVE has featured the same lineup all this time with the sole exception of guitarist Darek Kaźmierczak joining ranks to make this band a six-piece instead of a mere quintet.

So what is this band exactly? Hard neo-prog or wimpy prog metal. I don’t know. Labels and boxes don’t interest me except to get a general gist of what to expect but what one can clearly state about INTROVERT (sorry this is my first experience with this band so the only reference i have thus far) is that this band is clearly focused on instantly catchy melodies in the vein of neo-prog while casting a wider net of including a pseudo-metallic guitar heft that eschews the excesses of Riverside’s aerie fairy atmospheric ambience and rather steers the band’s approach more into a Pink Floyd style of space rock that meets an 80s new wave demeanor not unlike The Psychedelic Furs in the beginning.

Yeah there’s a very 80s new wave style of crafting the melodic touches here. Is that a bad thing? Well only if you hate poppy easy-listening musical compositions. What’s cool about this one is it doesn’t try to pretend it’s something its not (like Riverside). It’s not trying to be another band (like Riverside) but rather just delivering some great music that has obvious influences that happen to be from an era where unadulterated melodic performances weren’t frowned upon. This album BTW features six tracks at almost 45 minutes. What sets this apart from other similar bands is the male / female vocal tradeoffs of Jakub Roszak and Beata Łagoda who share equal billing on the opening track “Log Out” (should be “Log In’’ no? :/ )

In comparisons to Riverside, this band doesn’t try to craft ambitious excesses in the vein of Porcupine Tree which obfuscate the pop hooks but rather just lets it all hang out so to speak. Yeah one could consider this a pop metal band that embellishes its charm with ample atmospheres and other personal touches but what’s wrong with that? Basically these types of bands are highly idiosyncratic. Does it work for you or not? Well, for me this band works incredibly well. Although i have not experienced another RETROSPECTIVE release i can say that i have enjoyed this one thoroughly from beginning to end. Warning though. For metalheads this is barely metal and for prog rock lovers this may be too metallic. Oh limbo here we go.

Yeah this isn’t a perfect album or the next level of quantum metal mechanics. Oh well. This one has an emotional pull unlike many albums even remotely metal these days and on the prog side of the equation likewise. Basically this is crossover prog of the 21st century really. It’s catchy as hell. The vocals, instrumentation and compositions are stellar for what they are and the band sounds somewhat unique really. Not a masterpiece of all ages but i really enjoyed this much more than i could’ve imagined. This is one of the few examples where a foreign accent singing in English actually works amazingly well. I know this music has nothing to do with the 80s post-punk / new wave band The Psychedelic Furs but vocalist Jakub Roszak really sounds like Richard Butler at times!
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