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Riviere - Heal album review

New French proggers take la longue route on a short tracklist.

Billed as a ‘mini-album’, the 53-minute long debut from French progressive metallers Riviere makes you wonder just how long their first album proper will be. Instrumentally in thrall to Tool and Karnivool, the vocals take inspiration from Deftones singer Chino Moreno to sometimes quite spectacular effect, for example on album highlight Satin Night.

Playing to their strengths, this more straightforward track boasts most of the album’s earworms, even if it’s hard to see quite how it manages to reach nearly minutes in length. Symbol begins more Oceansize-like, before developing into a heavier section somewhat reminiscent of TesseracT’s approach on their most recent album Polaris. A late highlight is Binary Love, which manages to sound more like themselves than anyone else and, like Satin Night has its fair share of melodic, memorable riffs. Cinematic closer Yosemite flirts with post-rock to build a nuanced and atmospheric finale that is more subtle than many of the songs on the first half of the record. On the whole, it’s a strong debut, even if certain tracks do outstay their welcome and there isn’t a massive amount of dynamic or timbral variation. Even in prog, sometimes less is more.