I’m not sure when Christian St-Hilaire aka Riff Through Time was born or what his top five favorite albums but I’m willing to bet most of his influences came out of the ‘80 and maybe some from the late ‘70s.
The biggest give away is the lead guitar solos on his recent self-titled album Riff Through Time. Within the first minute of the title I started to have an idea of what I was in for. The tone of the guitar, the way he bends it. It’s that lead guitar that has a lot of origins in Pink Floyd and then taken and slightly manipulated by myriad of rock bands all throughout the ‘80s.
The lead guitar isn’t the only element that has an ‘80s vibe. “To Rock And To Roll” has an undeniable prog rock vibe that harks back to Rush and many other rock bands from that era. St-Hilaire follows a couple of familiar tropes such as when he sings “to rock / to rock / to roll” at the three-minute mark. “Go Easy On Me” has a slightly different vibe from the first two songs. Soft rock/pop is an appropriate label here.
“Overdriven” is a high-energy rock song with a slew of power chord progression while “Caring About Your Love” is a fairly straightforward rock song. However on “For You” St-Hilaire breaks out an acoustic and pulls off a more nostalgic, emotionally resonant song. I really enjoyed his vocals on this song. His voice soars at points.
“Grey” also veers away from the rock sound that came before. He utilizes a couple synths, which give the song an atmospheric borderline new age vibe. After the three-minute mark the song picks up some energy and does rock a bit more while not losing the essence of the beginning of the track. “Get a Life” goes into metal territory. It reminded me of early Metallica. He closes with “The Child Inside” which is a grandiose song in the spirit of Queensryche.
St-Hilaire certainly plays with a lot of different ideas on this album. After the second half you can’t help but think it feels a bit scattered. The juxtaposition between a song like “Get a Life” and “For You” feels like two different bands. Even though Riff Through Time could be more cohesive as a whole the album is full of inspired moments. The production is exceptional and the songwriting is consistently solid if sometimes predictable.
Truth be told this music will resonate with most people above a certain age. This is not the type of music that millennials are jamming out to at the moment. Anyone above the age of 35 will most likely have a greater appreciation for the music on Riff Through Time. That being said if you are under 35 I encourage you to check this out anyway.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook