While England has been caught up in the currently fashionable revival of all things progressive, in countries such as Poland it never went out of fashion, so it is no surprise that a wealth of excellent progressive bands hail from there, including the excellent Riverside and Osada Vida who present here their third full length album which builds on previous outings and showcases a formidable depth of song-writing ability and technical prowess.
Opening track ‘Uninvited dreams’ sets the scene nicely offering laid back vocals, complex time changes and jazzy interludes, complete with synth-squelches which augment the piece perfectly. Sitting on the more progressive side of progressive rock, Osada Vida offer elements of Porcupine Tree in their ‘lightbulb sun’ era as well as hints of early Genesis and Pink Floyd. Bartek Bereska’s guitar playing deserves a particular mention here as it shifts from a jazzy crunch to fluid solos with ease and the rest of the band are more than equal to the task of providing a powerful yet spacious backing. After such a grand opening, ‘my nightmare is scared of me’ could easily disappoint, but instead it easily matches its ambitious predecessor by surfing in on a tidal wave of malicious bass and distorted guitar before the drums kick in with a troublingly difficult beat that keeps the listener enthralled. Osada Vida’s skill is to throw in a plethora of disparate influences and sounds and yet make the whole thing sound natural and unforced, it’s a difficult trick to pull off, but one that the band have achieved with admirable focus.
‘Childmare (a goodnight story)’ opens with a stomping riff that takes the listener somewhat by surprise. Complex, yet reassuringly heavy it is more than a match for the latest Dream Theater album in terms of power and skill and it features a fantastic outro solo. ‘Lack of dreams’ is another track that comes crashing in with all the force of a tornado thanks to the powerful drumming of Adam Podzimski, before taking an abrupt left turn into art-rock territory complete with powerful vocals from guest singer Natalia Krakowiak. More surprising still is the track ‘Is the devil from Spain’, composed entirely by Bartek and featuring guitar playing that would put Zakk Wylde to shame. It’s an astonishing track that demonstrates a precision and a playfulness in the guitarist that one might not expect. ‘Is that devil from Spain too?’ which is another instrumental involves the whole band responding to the preceding track with equal dexterity. ‘Neverending dream’ finishes the set with in typically lengthy style (only one of the tracks here dips below the seven minute mark) and offers up an initially soothing conclusion to the album with voices drifting in the synth soundscape before drums and guitars come crashing in around the four minute mark and take the whole thing off in yet another direction. As the track drifts to a close amidst a welter of noise and atmospherics, you realise that almost sixty minutes has passed by in the blink of an eye and you immediately long to start over again.
In ‘uninvited Dreams,’ Osada Vida have crafted an album that flows perfectly from track to track. There is no stand out track simply because the quality is set so high that each piece stands shoulder to shoulder with the others in the set, and ideally this is a record made to be digested all in one sitting, letting the sounds wash over you. The musicianship is fantastic throughout and Marcin Chlebowski (who mixed, mastered and produced the album) also deserves credit for bringing together all the elements with a clarity and power that shows the band in the best possible light. Out now on Metal Minds, this is a sublime album that will haunt and thrill any music fan for years to come.