A drowsy ambient noise flushes and fades away, and, immediately, bright sounding drums enter alongside trippy clean guitars. Within seconds, the ambiance builds up on “New Cancer“, the opening track of Riviére’s new record Heal, which will be released on January 20th via Basick Records.
After this short introduction, the sound gets rougher; distorted guitars come in and the tension increases. Still, the drums lead the listener until the vocals appear. Listening to the intro of this song shows that this music would succeed as a solely instrumental endeavor. However, having vocals brings in another element that is essential to the album’s musicality. Accompanied by solid guitar work and post-rock ambiance, the sound of Heal becomes fully formed. Their singer does a great job and keeps his vocal work limited. With the help of a balanced mix, the vocals merge nicely with the instrumental atmosphere without overpowering it.
PROGRESSIVE POST ROCK
From time to time, there might be a Karnivool-ish vibe within Riviére’s music (listen to “Symbol“ to get an idea) that reminds me of Sound Awake. Ambient, progressive, groovy and melodic, the song is rounded out by well-fitting vocal lines. Unfortunately, a song like “Symbol” seems a little to long-winded due to its repetitive use of several riffs. Obviously, at almost 9 minutes, this is not a “radio-edit song“, but if you engage in it you won’t get bored at all. Also, this song stands out with a dreamy sounding saxophone solo over clean guitars. Simply beautiful.
Riviére also have some influences that might remind one of bands like Norma Jean (simply check out the beginning of “Golden Wounds” or the end of “Satin Nights”) with its dissonant and more forward-driving rock attitude. At some points, the vocals have a very Deftones-like mood, with the singer’s soft and almost whispered dreamy voice; this delivery is emotional, passionate, on point and truly convincing. “Binary Love” again reminds me of Karnivool, which is probably also based on Heal‘s production. One of the reasons for this might be the fact that the band worked with none other than Forrester Savell. Savell is known as the producer of Karnivool‘s Sound Awake and Themata. Savell did an excellent job on Heal as well, and delivers a perfectly fitting sound for the music that Riviére plays.
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED
The record is closed by “Yosemite”. This song again is dreamy, with keen electronic elements incorporated into the background. This creates a simply beautiful and soft ambiance that is calm and smooth. If you are searching for hard-hitting music, you might not find what you are looking for with this one. Throughout the whole record, there are passages that sound a lot like the post-rock tendencies of If These Trees Could Talk.
If dream metal is ever going to be a genre, Riviére would fit in it. Heal might be a medicine able to heal your soul. Take your time, and simply receive this music as a kind of meditation. The songs are heartwarming, while delivering an overwhelming ambiance that catches the recipient for its duration. Ever wanted to know how to make a debut promising? Do it like Riviére did with this record!
Notable Tracks: “New Cancer”; “Symbol”
FFO: Karnivool (Sound Awake), If These Trees Could Talk, Deftones