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Riversea

Out of an Ancient World

Review by Gary Hill
This is quite a tasty release. It fits into the mellow, accessible progressive rock territory. Sometimes it feels like Pink Floyd. At other points it’s similar to modern Marillion. The thing is, no matter where the specific sound links lie, the overall sound is original and unique. This is a very strong release that bodes well for the future of this act.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
In The Beginning
Dramatic spacey music builds up gradually as the sounds of space mission chatter is heard. There is a powerful burst of sound that fades down. Then vocals come in gently over the top of a mellower modern progressive rock kind of sound. It builds up gradually and gets very symphonic and powerful in terms of its progressive rock arrangement.
The Song
This balladic number is pretty. It’s a great number that grows gradually. Around the four minute mark it powers out into a soaring jam that’s quite tasty. As female vocals come in later, it really feels a lot like something from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album in a lot of ways.
Is That What God Wants? –
This number also starts off rather balladic, but fairly quickly powers out to some of the hardest rocking music of the set. Again, Pink Floyd is a valid reference, but there’s definitely a modern progressive rock vibe going on, too. As the track continues they bring it back to the balladic section that started it and it grows out nicely. I’m reminded in some ways of modern Marillion on that section. The harder rocking section eventually returns to take it out. This is killer.
Halo
More balladic sounds open this and hold it. Again, modern Marillion is surely a valid reference point, but there are other sounds here, as well. While the balladic motifs, rather symphonic a lot of the time, dominate, they bring it out to a more powered up section that continues the musical themes with a bit more oomph. This is another awesome tune.
The Fallen
This piece falls more into traditional progressive rock and has a lot more oomph in it than some of the other music here does. It’s got some intriguing shifts and changes built in and is a killer piece of music. Yet Porcupine Tree and modern Marillion are both valid reference points. It rocks out pretty hard at times.
Eden
Piano opens this and the vocals join, bringing into balladic territory. They do power this one up later, yet it feels like the progressive rock version of a heavy metal power ballad. It’s another great tune and again, Marillion is certainly a valid comparison. I really like some of the tasty guitar soloing on this a lot
Still Home
While this one feels bit like the earlier music at the starts, it pounds out to some of the hardest rocking sounds of the whole disc. It certainly still earns some comparisons to Marillion, but Pink Floyd is a valid reference point, too. This is a smoking hot jam that works really well. It has a number of changes and is one of the most “different” pieces of the set and also a real highlight. There is so much going on in this song that when it’s done, it’s hard to believe that it’s less than six minutes in length.
Falling Stars
Piano opens the set and serves as the background for the first vocals in balladic fashion. It threatens to power out after a while, but turns to sort of a short space rock section. Then a pounding, tribal, percussive based type of space music takes over, laying down the backdrop for the next vocal section. It builds very gradually out from there. Around the three minute mark, though, a weird electronic, meets symphonic pounding takes it in a new direction. They drop it to ambient sounds for another round of vocals, this time distorted and distant. Then it fires out to a killer instrumental section lead by a soloing keyboard. After a fairly extensive keyboard showing, the guitar takes the opportunity to solo from there.
Wiser
There’s a dramatic, melodic jam here that’s almost jazz-like. Sure, the Marillion comparison is valid, but this song really feels quite different from a lot of the other music here. It’s also a highlight of the set. It just oozes “cool.” A guitar solo section renews the echoes of Pink Floyd. There’s almost a bluesy sort of element to this tune, too. A later guitar solo reinforces that. It drops way down from there and vocals come over a balladic, atmospheric section.
Freeze The Frame
A cool space rock bit opens this, but it drops down from that to a slow moving, bluesy, understated prog jam that again brings comparisons to Pink Floyd. The vocals come in slow and thoughtful and the keyboards that come over the top reinforce that Floyd reference. As it builds up from there again Pink Floyd works as a comparison point, in fact, even more so. Some of the vocals when it rocks out a bit more even make me think of David Gilmour a bit. Still, they soar out more than that implies and this song gets more into the Marillion territory as it continues. The instrumental section really seems to combine both of those bands with some jazz and other sounds into something new, but familiar and it rocks out beyond that with more of the Floydian element well in place.
Still Home (Reprise)
This short (less than a minute and a half) reprise of the earlier piece is dramatic, powerful and moody.
Out of an Ancient World
The title track comes in with a moody ballad-like approach and works out from there. There is quite a bit of jazz in the mix here, along with both modern and classic progressive rock. While it moves through a number of changes, it remains fairly mellow until around the four minute mark where it powers out to a killer melodic, but more rocking sort of instrumental section. It drops back down to eventually take us out in style.
 
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