Fireworks

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Riverside - 'Reality Dream' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/4c/ad/76/324_Riverside_1273082557.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     May 05, 2010    
 
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Live show presenting songs from the band's first three albums.


This release is something of surprise because one would have expected it to be from their most recent tour in support of the ‘Anno Domini High Definition’ album but turns out to be from the 2008 tour so the set list is drawn from the first three albums. There are three tracks from the debut, ‘Out Of Myself’, six from ‘Second Life Syndrome’ and four from ‘Rapid Eye Movement’ which spread over the first disc and then with the encores (two tracks) on the second where the extras can also be found. These are seven more live tracks recorded at various locations around the world at different times and there’s a backstage film.

There are a couple of things that make this a rather disappointing affair and probably restricts its audience to diehard fans of the band. One is the use of very annoying effects over the pictures such as flames, rain plus colour washes and scratches that I presume are supposed to make one think of really old film. It could be that these are employed to try and generate some visual interest because the other thing is the fact that the band are, as a live act, very boring. There is almost zero movement or interaction as each of the members seems to be super glued to the spot. I know that the music has to come first, but there has to be some spectacle or there’s little incentive for fans to do anything but stay at home and listen to the studio albums. Even if the band isn’t animated I’d still rather see straight live footage than be distracted by these effects.

The music is extremely good and of course would have made an extremely good CD presentation as it really encapsulates the Reality Dream trilogy of albums very nicely, but as a DVD it really is left wanting and I found that I ended up not even watching the screen and just listened to it as if it were a CD, and on that basis I found it very pleasing. There was then something else that struck me and that is the rather clinical approach to the music, with the band seemingly rather intent on reproducing the studio versions of the songs rather than making up for the obvious absence of overdubs by adding that live edge. I’ll be generous and suggest that the lack of animation and the clinical approach was as a consequence of the band wanting not to mess up on the DVD, but it really has done tem not favours.

All of this is unusual for one of the Metal Mind releases, which tend to show the band in a very strong light.

I do like the way that they open with ‘The Same River’, which starts out slowly with Piotr Grudziński’s deft and delicate guitar but then builds in intensity until the entire band kick in for a Metal workout. The closing guitar solo is marvellous. The crowd are enthusiastic and this seems to rub off momentarily on the band at the start of ‘Volte-Face’ with its bounding intro on which the excellent lightshow is seen to good affect.

The song selection is good as it shows all the facets of the band from the delicate through to the heavy and all points in between, whilst showing that they have a keen ear for a chorus and a memorable refrain with my particular favourite ‘O2 Panic Room’ being a highlight.

Musically very good. Visually disappointing.

Gary Marshall

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