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(72:01, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Ladder of the Giant 3:07 2. Magic World 13:06 3. Gage of Our Lives 9:47 4. Garden of Love 9:54 5. Voyage Across the Fabulous Stars 6:16 6. After All These Years 11:14 7. Priest of the World 7:56 8. Escaping from the Dreams 10:41 LINEUP: Tony Riveryman Ц vocals; guitars, bass; keyboards Pikkis Ц drums
Prolusion. RIVERYMAN is the solo project of Finnish musician Tony Riveryman, helped out by Pikkis on the drum parts of the recordings. Riveryman makes his living as a musician and has been and still is a member of several bands performing many different types of music, ranging from metal to a variety of country-tinged pop music particular to Scandinavia which is commonly performed at dance events. "Magic World" is his first solo effort and was issued by Musea Records early in 2009.
Analysis. Many aspects of this venture show pretty well that the musician behind this project works with music full time and that he knows how to cater to the tastes of different audiences. Riveryman manages with relative ease to produce captivating melodies, his compositions flow almost perfectly, and the instruments are skillfully placed in the mix. The instrumental parts of this production sound pretty good overall - in compositional utilization and performance. As far as musical style goes, it's obvious that Riveryman is familiar with many of the great bands of the golden age, with Genesis as a probable main influence for this production. Atmospheric keyboard layers and melodic themes dominate all aspects of this release, effective and at times driving bass lines provide momentum and energy while atmospheric guitar soloing and acoustic or undistorted guitar licks serve up harmonic details and additional textures. Toned down riff patterns and drawn out riffs are additional elements utilized frequently to add depth to the main melody or to contrast with the keyboards. The compositions are relatively simplistic in form and are pretty similar in style to what was branded neo-progressive back in the С80s. Some features of Riveryman's compositions venture beyond the scope of this stylistic variation of art rock, though; with carefully added shredding segments in the guitar soloing and heavier, slightly metal tinged riff patterns as the main examples of this. The songs are slick, melodic and likable, charming despite a certain simplicity and lack of truly innovative features. However, he fails pretty badly on one central aspect of this excursion, namely vocals. Tony has a lot to sing about in all his creations; the vocal segments of any given track far outweigh the instrumental ones in number and total length. The problem is that he's not a good vocalist at all. He has problems staying in tune with whatever melodic theme is played at the time and his voice is flat and pretty lifeless. And for me, and anyone as sensitive to vocals as I am, this pretty much disrupts the good qualities of this album, especially due to the vocal parts dominating the compositions as much as they do. Indeed, with a good vocalist on board this would have been a pretty strong production for those into the lighter side of melodic art rock of the symphonic variety.
Conclusion. There are many good sides to this debut album by the Finnish outfit Riveryman, and despite the lack of truly innovative features and complexities the instrumental parts of this affair are charming Ц well made and well performed. However, the vocals ruin much of what might have been a good debut album; and anyone sensitive to vocal performances is advised to stay clear of this venture or at least check out the samples on the artist's homepage to find out if this is a problematic issue or not, while those not concerned with vocals and who like art rock of the lighter symphonic variety might want to check out this release.
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