This first album I ever spotlighted was Riversea’s “Out of an Ancient World”. Something about the lyrical and emotional depth here prompted me to start writing about my favorite albums. You could say that Marc and Brendan are to blame for The Prog Mind, then. Riversea came out of nowhere to present a refreshing breeze of neo-prog with a philosophical bent that intrigued me greatly. This album has been extremely influential for me in such a short period of time, and I hope I convey why that is.
1. In the Beginning
Marc and Brendan kick off this work of art with “In the Beginning”. This is, if anything, a tribute to the Almighty God. It’s not often that we hear about God in music, but Riversea treads this ground boldly. “In the beginning, all there was, was love/ Exploding out outwards/ It was more than enough”. The band emote here about the Creator, and His Creative process. God is love. That is their first premise, and they describe God’s love as itching to be released; itching to be shared. He wanted more than anything to share the love and glory of I AM. So, a supernatural love affair with His Creation is what God desired. He, the very definition of Love, exploded outwards to form everything in the universe, from the smallest cell to the most glorious galaxy. Above all, though, he created man as the pinnacle of his creative efforts. This song is the foundation for the rest of the album. The concept “God is love” is vital to each and every song.
2. The Song
After a powerful opening track, Riversea amps it up a little more. The first track describes God as love, and also as the “first line of the song” of reality. In other words, God is the uncaused cause necessary to the universe, at least according to the likes of Plato, Einstein, etc. “The Song” takes this foundation, and takes it to its logical conclusion: If God is love and the beginning of all things, then we are all connected to each other because we are all connected to Him, the center. “You, Me and everyone are part of a ‘Whole’/ That keeps revealing/ How You, Me and everyone are part of ‘The Song’/ Here, Now is all we have so live for the day/ And don’t stop believing/ How You, Me and everyone are part of ‘The Song'”. We are all connected to each other. We are all part of the song of God, and what a glorious song that is!
3. Is That What God Wants?
Now Riversea treads more mature conceptual ground with “Is That What God Wants”. If God is love and we are all part of His song, what does He want from us? What does He want for us? In this third track, we learn of a woman that dies for her beliefs, but at her own behest. She thinks that God wants her to die for Him. She thinks that God wants her to show her love for Him by dying for her beliefs. Yet, she leaves behind two infants that will be lost in this world without her. Is this want God wants from us? Does He want us to die for Him? Or does He want us to live and flourish for Him?
Riversea is begging for us to reconsider our ancient notions of God. I think that’s where this album is heading, and I think that they are correct here. Is death what God wants for us? God doesn’t have a rule that the greatest act we can perform for Him is to die. Rather, I believe He wants us to live for Him! He wants us to be part of the beautiful harmony of his Creation, but we often twist His intentions and desires.
“Your Halo is falling around you/ Tripping you up, freezing your blood/ to play with your mind”. “Halo” represents a full-scale assault on legalism. Here we are with these ideas of how we can please God, or how we can be “good” people; but, all the while, these legalistic ideas are tripping us. They are keeping us from really seeing God. They are driving us further from the truth about who God truly is, and our own egos end up strangling us from real life. Legalism makes you cold, destroys your thoughts, and leaves you hanging forever.
5. The Fallen
We think we are following God. We think we are serving Him. Yet, when we catch a glimpse of Him, “the light gets in your eyes, yet the sun still refuses to shine”. Our rules and regulations don’t make us happy! We have replaced God’s Truth with a rule book, and this doesn’t make anyone joyful or happy. Instead, we trudge along in unending sorrow and “obedience”, completely blind and completely ignorant. We see God, but only a glimpse, and then we return to our tired and sorry ideas.
So, we as humans have lost something of our origins and our purpose. We’ve lost our beginnings and our part in God’s song. We have fallen. We can’t seem to create any harmonies anymore. Yet, “If we stay and heed the call/ we can rise above it all/ And heal inside this hurting world/ Then our story won’t be told/ And we won’t be the fallen”.
There is a call from our Creator to return to Him. He wants us, more than anything, to relate to Him; to know Him. The desire of His heart is to be known! The beginning of the song (God) wants us to return to harmony with him. This is the answer! We can rise above this hurting world: We can rise high above this placid existence, but we must find our purpose once again.
Thus far, we have seen three things: 1. God is love, 2. We are part of his song., and 3. He wants us to live for Him, but we’ve lost the truth about Him! On “Eden”, we begin a journey towards maturity. It’s the shifting of the emotional tide. Here we hear an emotional plea to God to “Take us back to Eden”. The evil, pain, and suffering in this world causes our narrator to explode in emotional cries to his Creator. Take us back to Eden. Take us back to that perfect world where we had a perfect relationship with You.
The writer has rediscovered his roots! His cries are pushed out as he contemplates his fallen state and his inability to understand how to live truly and happily. With every ounce of emotion and longing, the writer pleads for a return to true security and perfection. Eden. Eden is where we belong. Take us back.
7. Still Home
“Like a whisper from the shadows in the hunting through the high and low/ In the summer into winter in the melody of ebb and flow/ Where do I begin? Where do I begin?” Riversea guides us ever so gently into the answers to the questions they’ve posed. After seeing our true state and pleading for a return to Eden, an epiphany bursts forth: We are “still home”! We’ve been here all along, and our eyes have simply been blinded.
There is the shadow of a whisper of truth that drifts around us in Creation. You can see it in the beauty all around us; in everything we see. It glistens in the morning dew, and rumbles in the deep thunder of summer. You can hear it in the cries of our beautiful babies, and experience it in the love between two hearts.
There is a murmur of right and good that answers all our questions, but most don’t see it. Most continually ask “Why?” again and again. There are different answers and perspectives on truth and on whom we are, but they never answer our inner longing and emptiness. We are bombarded with “truth” all day long, but it always leaves us cold.
The truth is: We are home. We are home. We ask where we fit in the grand scheme of the universe. We ask why we are here. Yet, that answer lies all around us. We fit here. We are all home together, and that’s how it should be. We are here because God put us here, and that is enough for me.
8. Falling Stars
The reality is that we are fallen stars: lost notes of a glorious song. “When things go from bad to worse/ And it feels like our lives our cursed/ Don’t give in/ Don’t give in/”. If we just believed in our Creator and in ourselves, imagine the things we could accomplish! If we understood our fallen state, just imagine the heights we could reach! We can only go up from here. Hope is the rule of the day: hope in God, and hope in our own potential.
Will we remain on the ground? We will sprawl on the ground in despair, or will we rise to claim the birthright of our human race? God wants to be loved by us, without compulsion. He wants us to run to Him as chicks escape the rain under their mother’s wings. Will you run to Him, or will you deny Him?
Riversea continues on their spiritual journey to enlightenment in “Wiser”. After coming to grips with our status in this universe as fallen stars in need of reconciliation, wisdom results. We begin to see our need to revamp our ideas about God and where we should be and live. The journey has shown us a different God than we have been taught. We can begin to understand God as less of an angry law-giver, and more as a loving Creator that wishes to have fellowship with his Creations once again. Indeed, He doesn’t wish us to follow some set of rules or traditions to please Him. In fact, that’s the exact opposite. He wants us to live in the Spirit in the communion of his saints through Christ Jesus, his message of reconciliation to this fallen world.
As we get older and wiser, we can begin to see the world through different eyes: We can see that there is a certain spirituality to how we connect with God and with other human begins. We need not try to connect with God through meaningless, man-man rule systems, but instead we can rediscover our love of Him, other people, and our home. We belong here. We belong with each other. We belong with Him.
10. Freeze the Frame
“Freeze the Frame” gives us some more insight into this spiritual journey. Life begins and ends in the twinkling of an eye, and there’s nothing that can be done about that. Can we accept that? Should we just move on? Should we give up now?
If life is as a breath, what really matters? When our loved ones pass away, “Who do I listen to now?” Life and love and memory can be found in our minds. Pain and sorrow are facts of this fallen reality, and there’s nothing we can do about that. Evil and darkness exist. Freeze the frame. Take a moment. Breathe and remember. Live life.
11. Still Home (Reprise)
At the end of the journey, hopefully we’ve learned something. We belong in this place. We belong here where pain and death exists, but we can learn to overcome it together. We can learn to love others and make the most of the time we have, despite the pain and loss we will inevitably experience. We can exist here, knowing that a better future is in store for us.
We are home here and now, and we need to bring our heads out of the clouds; out of the stars. God doesn’t want our heads to be somewhere else: He wants us to be here and now and living for Him and for each other. He wants a relationship with us as we are, and not how we think we should be. We are home, and that home will someday be even better.
12. Out of an Ancient World
“Out of an Ancient World” ends with a glorious finale. The emotions and thoughts processes have all come down to this: We learn that we need to enter a new world. We need to conceive a new age of thinking about God, humanity, and the world with its pain. Gone are the ancient ways of considering God as an angry God. Gone are the days of living our lives without thought to the here and now.
Gone are the days, too, of God being “dead” or irrelevant to modern man. We need to drop the circular reasoning and the agnostic apathy. We need to drive out the obstacles to unity and peace. We need to understand the inherent spirituality of our very being.
We need to understand God as the one that wishes fellowship with us and brotherhood between men. We need to be here in the present making a difference and loving those put in our lives. The ancient ways of thinking need to be changed, and the spiritual connections between us all need to be rediscovered and appreciated once again. God is the center of our existence, and in Him we live and move and have our being. God himself wants us to escape out of an ancient world.
Riversea’s debut album is an instant masterpiece. My interpretation of it is my own: It represents what I took from the lyrical content, and what I’ve written is mostly commentary and not straight interpretation of the lyrics. It doesn’t really matter, though, because I’m sharing the journeys that I have had in the music. I hope you enjoy them.
Riversea’s opus has given hope. It shows God as an artist; a musician. He has created a masterwork that has fallen because , and now He wishes to be in fellowship with it once again. It’s time to abandon the old, faulty ways of considering spiritual things. It’s time to connect with each other in love, and collectively fellowship with God in love. Music is one excellent way which we can do this. Think about this: The few people on this page represent a global audience. There are people from Asia, Europe, Australia, and the Americas! We are uniting under the progressive music banner here. We are connecting! This is part of Riversea’s message! We need to abandon the ways that pit us against each other and at odds with God. We need to embrace each other in the light, rather than being blinded by it. Then, and only then, can we exit this ancient world.