Retrospective - 'Re:Search'

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Retrospective - 'Re:Search'

A textbook combination of both clout and refinement.

Nine tracks from the Prog Metal sextet from Poland, a nation that buys into Prog with a passion and Rock music in general, and whose national treasures Riverside have set a trailblazing path of innovative quality. Retrospective themselves are no strangers to Progressive concepts, their 2008 debut 'Stolen Thoughts' exploring the loss of innocence that accompanies the journey from childhood. This follow-up to 2012's 'Lost Perceptions' finds the band in philosophical mood, 'Re:Search' investigating lyrical ideas of living in the rat race, exploring relationships and the trials and tribulations of life's journeys. This weighty subject matter is accompanied by a heavy yet melodic musical assortment.

First impressions are of grand heroic Iron Maiden stylings with a vocal that crosses between both Bruce Dickinson and Blaze Bayley, yet it's the backing and occasional upfront vocals from Beata Lagoda that add both a pleasant contrast and variation from the ever increasingly popular front-woman model. Their first appearance comes halfway through 'Right Way' which is suitably epic, a beguiling guitar figure accompanying the two voice combination – probably the "sit up and pay attention" moment as something special starts to emerge from 'Re:Search'.

'The End Of Their World' sees some evidence of a Pearl Jam influence where the faintest dose of that distinctive funky guitar ghosts in and out, and there's a chance to start to appreciate the familiar sound of those bouncy bass lines. On the other side of the coin, 'Heaven Is Here' sees the band following a more mainstream side, whilst 'Look In The Mirror' finds them working a steady mid-paced groove. Yes, there may be elements of Progressive icons, such as King Crimson in the techniques and Tool in the atmospheres, but all provide a small part of the 'Re:Search' blueprint.

The brooding opening to 'The Wisest Man On Earth' builds to a decisive Steven Wilson/Porcupine Tree-ish clean yet harsh guitar riff before it develops into a typically outstanding album closer. It's a thumbs up for the track sequencing which is one of those that builds to a big finish, rather than one where the feeling of initial excitement leads ultimately to a loss of momentum. Far from it in fact; with 'Re:Search', Retrospective have been able to craft and refine an album which is based on dramatic atmosphere, including moments of exhilaration and instrumental prowess without it ever being indulgent. A textbook combination of both clout and refinement.

Mike Ainscoe

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