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RIVERSIDE

Progressive Metal • Poland


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Riverside biography
Founded 2001 in Warsaw, Poland -

Despite not being the biggest progressive rock powerhouse of Europe, Poland have certainly sprouted great and interesting progressive bands since the heyday of progressive rock, being the biggest examples of that the singer and multi-instrumentalist Czeslaw Niemen and the supergroup SBB. After the fall of the communist regime, during the 90's and 2000's, more bands begun to form and release their material, strengthening the country's own progressive rock scene, such as the neo prog bands Abraxas and Collage, and Riverside is, quite possibly, the biggest and best known band to come out from that scene.

Riverside was formed almost by accident, when two of its members, the guitarist Piotr Grudzi駍ki and the drummer Piotr Kozieradzki, listened to Marillion in Kozieradzki's car back in 2001. Both played in heavy metal bands at the time, but had the common interest for progressive rock, so they decided to join with their mutual friend, Jacek Melnicki, who owned a studio, and started to experiment with progressive rock. Mariousz Duda, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist from the band XANADU , joined the trio later that year for rehearsals and the results and reactions from those meetings were extremely positive. After some more rehearsals, and the completion of some compositions by the band, Mariousz started to take the role as both the band's vocalist and bass player.

In late 2002, about one year after the band's formation, Riverside's was already playing gigs in Warsaw with material that would later be their debut album, Out of Myself, and, after distributing 500 copies of their demos around the town, the band played in a small club in Warsaw by the end of the year.

In 2003, shortly after the recording of Out of Myself, Riverside's founding member and keyboard player Jacek Melnicki decided to leave the band to focus on his own studio, so the rest of the band continued to mix and produce the album, as well as to search for a replacement for Jacek, which would be the band's current keyboardist Michal Lapaj.

Upon its release, in late 2003, Out of Myself had an unexpected success in Poland, and such success led to the album's rerelease in September 2004 by the American record label Laser's Edge, which led to even bigger media coverage and even more praises and attention towards the band. Still o...
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RIVERSIDE discography


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RIVERSIDE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.21 | 1197 ratings
Out of Myself
2003
4.24 | 1750 ratings
Second Life Syndrome
2005
3.79 | 890 ratings
Rapid Eye Movement
2007
4.22 | 1324 ratings
Anno Domini High Definition
2009
4.06 | 1054 ratings
Shrine of New Generation Slaves
2013
4.06 | 767 ratings
Love, Fear And The Time Machine
2015
3.99 | 444 ratings
Wasteland
2018

RIVERSIDE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.16 | 180 ratings
Reality Dream
2008
4.27 | 59 ratings
Lost 'n' Found: Live in Tilburg
2017

RIVERSIDE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.23 | 147 ratings
Reality Dream
2009

RIVERSIDE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.80 | 81 ratings
Reality Dream Trilogy (6CD)
2011
4.38 | 26 ratings
Love, Fear And The Time Machine (Special 5.1 Mix)
2016
3.97 | 130 ratings
Eye of the Soundscape
2016

RIVERSIDE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.32 | 50 ratings
Riverside
2003
3.80 | 50 ratings
Loose Heart
2003
3.59 | 239 ratings
Voices in My Head
2005
2.73 | 77 ratings
Conceiving You
2005
3.76 | 120 ratings
02 Panic Room
2007
3.64 | 82 ratings
Schizophrenic Prayer
2008
4.47 | 15 ratings
Reality Dream Tour 2008
2008
4.50 | 4 ratings
Live In Canada (Official Bootleg)
2009
4.07 | 14 ratings
Forgotten Land
2011
4.13 | 304 ratings
Memories In My Head
2011
3.59 | 74 ratings
Celebrity Touch
2012
3.71 | 7 ratings
# addicted
2015
4.56 | 9 ratings
Time Travellers
2016
3.71 | 7 ratings
Shine
2016
4.05 | 19 ratings
River Down Below
2018
4.40 | 20 ratings
Lament
2018
4.08 | 25 ratings
Vale of Tears
2018
3.00 | 7 ratings
Acoustic Session
2019

RIVERSIDE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Shrine of New Generation Slaves by RIVERSIDE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.06 | 1054 ratings

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Shrine of New Generation Slaves
Riverside Progressive Metal

Review by Hector Enrique

4 stars Shrine of New Generation Slaves, Riverside's fifth album, is an exploration of the human condition and its submission to the relentless demands of modern life. Less aggressive in relation to the masterful Anno Domini High Definition, those led by Mariusz Duda use their melancholic streak to develop a mature and thoughtful work.

The album begins with the pitiful New Generation Slave, a long intro that leads to the excellent ballad The Depth of Self-Delusion, where the acoustic guitars and the halftime of the percussions stand out clearly. Conventional rocker Celebrity Touch gives it a more dynamic touch, then falls into the arms of melancholy with the beautiful and deeply sad ballad We Got Used To Us. The versatility of the Poles comes hand in hand with the electronics and eighties Feel Like Falling.

The calm returns with the serene and very jazzy Deprevid, which I consider to have left over the last 3 minutes. The super progressive Escalator Shrine, where the influences of the most cosmic Pink Floyd are present in much of its almost 13 minutes, is the best of the album, along with We Got Used To Us. The short and naked Coda is the ideal final appendix, where Duda's deep voice is accompanied by heartfelt acoustic guitar.

Although the Shrine of New Generation Slaves is a step below the Anno Domini High Definition, it is still a work of the highest quality, as is the great form of the band, which confirms them as one of the Progressive rock flagship groups of the 2000s.

 Anno Domini High Definition by RIVERSIDE album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.22 | 1324 ratings

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Anno Domini High Definition
Riverside Progressive Metal

Review by Hector Enrique

5 stars Anno Domini High Definition is the confirmation of Riverside as one of the best exponents of progressive rock of the 2000s. With a heavier sound than the previous three albums, the concept, the interpretive quality and the execution, are developed reliably during their almost 42 minutes long.

Including some nods to Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree, Mariusz Duda and his bandmates intertwine 5 songs seamlessly or lows, combining euphoric moments with masterfully constructed laid-back atmospheres. There isn't one song that stands out in particular, simply because they are all at a superlative level, further enhanced by impeccable production work. The main protagonists are the always clean and deep guitar of Piotr Grudziński and the keyboards of Michal Lapai, much more present and active compared to any previous work by Riverside.

From the aggressive Hyperactive, we enjoy a constant and dynamic proposal that stays active with Driven to Destruction, and is further intensified by the powerful and changeable Egoist Hedonism (impeccable keyboards and vocals from Mariusz Duda in the middle of the song). To close the album, two long songs, the superb Left Out of almost 11 minutes (half a calm song and the rest an irrepressible whirlwind) and the super progressive Hybrid Times of 12 minutes (again the keyboards present, decidedly protagonists).

Anno Domini High Definition is one of Riverside's strongest work, and undoubtedly a fundamental work of progressive music of the present century.

 Wasteland by RIVERSIDE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.99 | 444 ratings

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Wasteland
Riverside Progressive Metal

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Riverside returned after a hiatus following the sad passing of guitarist Grudzinski. The trio continued on relentlessly with new guitarist Owczarek and Meller, but the evident missing ingredient of Grudzinskis magic guitar prowess is a factor. However the album is well executed and has some of the more melodic melancholy songs from Riverside. The beauty of Lament is hypnotic and graced with heavy chorus and instrumentation. Guardian Angel is gorgeous in its simplicity and Duda has a passionate vocal. Acid Rain has a metal riff driving it and a melody that is catchy and infectious throughout with wonderful guitar augmentation.

The album has a sadness flowing through every song due to the themes of alienation of the lost and lonely embedded in the lyrics. Vale of Tears has a heavier vibe but still embued with the soft impassioned vocal of Duda. The Struggle for Survival is an instrumental workout of blazing guitars and tempestuous drumming and bass, the longest track at 9 and a half minutes. The time signatures fluctuate and it builds with soaring guitars into a cacophonic prog explosion of sound. The lead guitar screams in pain at 6 minutes in and then is released to the main melody that is haunting. The diving guitar sustained notes are glorious, definitely a grand instrumental to savour.

The balladic River Down Below is absolutely mesmirising with Duda in fine voice and some heartfelt lyrics that sink to the depths of sorrow. It was a successful single for Riverside and has a lyric video that is very effective.

Wasteland has a raspy vocal and odd meter with guitars that follow the lyrics. There are some nice harmonies that add a depth to the layers, and eventually it merges into a heavy guitar riff with complex polyrhythms and ascending cadence. The discordant melody is joined by more complicated guitar riffs that interplay with the drumming. The glissando guitar reverb has a spacey feel that chills the atmosphere. There is some beautiful guitar picking and keyboards and it locks into a pretty melody. The distortion and riffs return towards the end and a few theremin spirals augment the ethereal soundscape. Riverside are definitely back at their best on this treasure.

The Night Before is another quiet ballad with sweet piano melodies and soft, raspy vocals. The dreamy atmosphere is enhanced by reflective lyrics and simple piano lines.

Overall, while this album is not a masterpiece by any standards it features some of Riversides most melancholic, infectious ballads and some masterful tracks such as Wasteland and The Struggle For Survival. The songs grown on the listener over time and it has a powerful atmosphere with gems such as River Down Below which is beautiful and will resonate with many who will be able to relate to it.

 Lost 'n' Found: Live in Tilburg by RIVERSIDE album cover Live, 2017
4.27 | 59 ratings

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Lost 'n' Found: Live in Tilburg
Riverside Progressive Metal

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Riverside released this double CD live during their Towards the Blue Horizon tour for fans only, not available elsewhere. It is a genuine treat featuring an awesome setlist consisting of the back catalogue of the consistently brilliant albums generated by these Polish masters of prog metal.

It opens with grandiose melancholy that builds into a cacophonic maelstrom of keyboards and guitar with Lost. Duda exudes a passionate vocal throughout the concert and this is one of the last times we will be treated to the guitar prowess of the late great Grudzinski.

Feel Like Falling follows with beautiful soaring guitar and atmospheric keyboard embellishments. Hyperactive is next from the masterpiece Anno Domine High Definition, and sounds as amazing as the studio release. The melody on this is incredible and it segues into the wondrous tranquility of Conceiving You, Duda sounding mesmiric and reflective. 02 Panic Room is a masterclass performance that certainly does not disappoint, followed by Under the Pillow and the barnstorming prog workout The Depth of Self-Delusion. The Cd concludes with Saturate Me that has a powerhouse blazing guitar and shimmering keyboards.

CD 2 opens with hypnotic and passive Egoist Hedonist that builds into shadows of dark vocals and guitar riffing. We Got Used To Us is one of the best live performances of this track and the pulsating ethereal Escalator Shrine is a lengthy 20 minute multi movement suite of progressive bliss. The Same River is 13 minutes of atmospheric prog and the concert concludes with Found.

The running time is just under 104 minutes and is a mind blowing experience for all Riverside addicts. The line up of Mariusz Duda, Piotr Grudziński, Michał Łapaj, and Piotr Kozieradzki is as good as it gets. RiP Grudzinski, you will never be forgotten.

 Out of Myself by RIVERSIDE album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.21 | 1197 ratings

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Out of Myself
Riverside Progressive Metal

Review by Hector Enrique

5 stars Out of Myself, Riverside's first album is a remarkable demonstration of the tremendous musical quality the recently- formed group was able to reach. Its excellence seemed to belong to a consolidated band and not to a rather new one.

The poles finely blend the progressive metal with the symphonic and neo-progressive currents. This brew results in an authentic atmosphere of melancholy and darkness: Piotr Grudziński's guitar, always immaculate even in the most complex of moments, admirably combines whit Jacek Melnicki's keyboard and the intense voice of the leader and bass player of the band, Mariusz Duda.

Out of Myself is a spotless piece of work. The following pieces are, at least for me, the best of the album: The same River, the opening song, a 12-minute legitimate progressive rock composition with an excellent final guitar-solo; both Reality Dream I and II (but primarily the latter), which are fine instrumental symphonies; finally, I Believe and In Two Minds, two outstanding and beautiful ballads.

Riverside's debut, then, was an immense hit. The newly-formed group entered the musical world with an album that would become an all-time classic in the progressive metal sub-genre. It is worth noting that Out of Myself is just the first part of a trilogy: after it follows Second Life Syndrome and Rapid Eye Movement.

 Second Life Syndrome by RIVERSIDE album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.24 | 1750 ratings

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Second Life Syndrome
Riverside Progressive Metal

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Riverside is a band that I have mostly considered to reside somewhere in the safe heavy progressive territory that exists somewhere between Opeth, Porcupine Tree and Tool, taking the best of those three bands and adding their own twists here and there to create astounding, emotional and melodic metal, almost inhabiting that space before Opeth did. Even though they are quite successful, especially within progressive circles, they haven't quite reached the pinnacle inhabited by those three bands, but were just as influential creating this niche as they were. They would also inspire and influence many more Polish progressive metal acts over the following years.

The band found out how well they fit into this niche in 2005, when they surprised the progressive metal world with their 2nd album 'Second Life Syndrome'. Their music has matured quite nicely, even though they had only put out one album before this, and this album ended up sounding more like a mature band that had been around for a while. The album is full of mostly moderate tempo anthems, but that dark and expressive territory is explored to its most dynamic regions.

At first listen, the music might seem a little too much alike, especially where the tempo doesn't really change much, however, there is so much to discover with repeated listening. All of the things that might not be apparent at first really start to shine through. The band's talents draw you in and the way they experiment with the dynamics sometimes even bring the music to new heights that have also been approached and explored by those bands that are more famous. Just listen to the tour-de- force of emotional range on the 2 epic tracks; the title track and 'Dance With the Shadows'. Suddenly, all of the hesitancy and unsurety of the first album (which actually seems more polished and insincere) are surpassed as if the band was told to just follow their instincts and let loose with their ingenuity.

The only thing keeping this album from being perfect is that the tracks do have the same atmosphere, and Riverside does have a hard time breaking from that formula. More exploration or experimentation might help, but the band has also tried some experimentation and it doesn't always seem to work to their advantage. One place that it does is on this album with the instrumental 'Reality Dream III' which is probably the most explosive track on the album. Yes, it takes some time to build up its crescendo to an amazing climactic ending, but that is also what makes it more powerful.

Progressive fans will still find plenty to keep them happy here. The songs are structured somewhat similar to that of Tool in that the song structures are not in any way traditional, that there are plenty of rhythm, meter and melodic changes throughout the album to keep most of those fans happy. The music on this album is not that challenging either, but it still captures you and keeps your mind engaged with its somber yet dynamic atmospheres. This is an excellent album and is one that progressive metal lovers should be familiar with.

 Shrine of New Generation Slaves by RIVERSIDE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.06 | 1054 ratings

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Shrine of New Generation Slaves
Riverside Progressive Metal

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Riverside is one of the progressive metal bands that has seen a lot of popularity in their genre, and as such, has inspired many other bands to jump into the genre. However, the prog metal superstars from Poland have always been a step above with their slick production and willingness to keep extending and pushing their sound and also bringing in themes and underlying concepts with each album, helping to garner individual personality between one album and another.

Such is the case with their 2013 album "Shrine of New Generation Slaves" (lovingly designated SONGS for short). This album explores through the bands heavy and moody style how people have the unsatisfying lives of becoming slaves to their work and losing control of their personal lives. As businesses find ways to satisfy their workers, or at least look like they are doing so, by installing on site gyms, and what not, they hope to get more control over their people, even getting to the point that it will cause people to stay at work more and never leaving their offices. They make people think they are giving them a better work life when in reality, they are only finding ways to control them more. This is the new slavery that Riverside is talking about and what they address in this album.

The album is made up of 8 tracks with a total duration of 51 minutes, unless you get the LP edition, which features 2 more tracks. "New Generation Slave" does an excellent job of introducing the subject, with easy to understand lyrics sung in between hard guitar riffs that build the intensity of the album until it finally unleashes with a progressive driven rhythm and a solider heaviness generated by the guitar and organ. Mariusz Duda occasionally likes to use some light effects to help texture is voice and does so on this track. If anything, it seems like it weakens the impact of the lyrics, in my view, and he does this also in "The Depth of Self-Delusion". This track is steadier and flows more like a straightforward sound with a hint of smooth, fusion texture, not unlike the sound of The Pineapple Thief on one side of the extreme to Opeth on the other side, who I often find a lot of similarity with in some cases, Riverside is a band that resides comfortably (and quite successfully, I might add) in between the poles of these bands. The song continues to utilize dynamics very well by throwing in instances of acoustic guitar and high percussive tones (similar to xylophone). You can expect an emotional guitar solo in there too, which is always a great draw to their music. The music is quite melodic and pleasant, but still retains it's dark and moody atmosphere.

"Celebrity Touch" is a bit heavier, and also is more akin to a classic progressive sound, a la "Kansas" or "Styx", but still with a more current overall feel. The melodic and catchy electric guitar riff and the nice layer of organ help to generate this sound. "We Got Used to Us" is a shorter, almost radio-friendly track showing a more mellow side of the band that also give a chance for the guitar to shine a bit, but mostly driven by lovely piano chords and notes. "Feel Like Falling" takes us into a different territory for the band with a synth heavy riff, a bit bouncy even. Of course, there is the underpinnings of heavy guitar to support the track as the rhythm pounds merrily along, only breaking for a short interval after a short instrumental break. "Deprived (Irretrievable Lost Imagination)" takes us back to a longer form at over 8 minutes as we return to the band's form of moody and emotional dark tinged songs. This track focuses on one of the band's strengths of well-written, almost poetic lyrics. The music is nice and pensive, but with a flowing rhythm, again reflecting Opeth at their most mellow (as in the "Damnation" album). Around 5 minutes, things become a bit more intense as a tricky beat generates a solid sound and preps for a nice, melodic guitar solo with twinkling piano backing it up. Then, a nice surprise when guest Marcin Odyniec provides a stellar and captivating soprano sax solo before the song is brought back to its original, pensive sound.

"Escalator Shrine" takes the prize as being the longest track on the album at over 12 minutes. A drone stays in the background as an echoing effect on the guitar gives a nice touch to a Spanish style to the introduction. The classic prog touch is evident again with a nice flowing bass line and moody keys that remind one of The Doors. Just before 5 minutes, a bass introduces a tasty, new driving rhythm and soon the entire band joins in with some great organ and then synths and guitar lines bring it all into an awesome instrumental passage. At 6 minutes, things suddenly get heavy and dark with a thick riff and vocals joining in before finally passing into an atmospheric section with a throbbing bass and layers of keys, synths and atmospheric guitars. This harkens to the melodic instrumentals of Pink Floyd, but done with the Riverside flair. After 8 minutes, the music returns to the original theme, but with some nice variation in the instrumental support. After 10 minutes, a new riff is introduced and the music develops off of this to take the track to the end. This track is what you listen to progressive music for, nice complex compositions that give the listener the challenge they need without making things too complex. It's a well-composed track that testifies to the band's creativity and talent. "Coda" finishes off the CD at this point with a short track, soft and mostly acoustic, it acts as a coda to the album, not the previous track.

If you are lucky enough to have the vinyl version, there is another disc included with a two part track called "Night Session", Parts 1 and 2. Each track is over 11 minutes long, so for Riverside fans, it's a must have. Part 1 is a nice instrumental track that utilizes the band's talent for song development, yet it has more of an improvised sound, and it utilizes a lot of synth loops which allows the band to be more creative on an individual basis, as the fill the spaces with heavenly notes and textures. This seems to pay homage to Tangerine Dream in a way, but also travels to different textures and beat through the track, never staying stuck on a single loop for too long. There is a bit of ambience and a bit of electronica in this one, pretty unlike most of the band's output. Part 2 takes on a more experimental vibe. As a soft noise drone sounds in the distance, the guest saxophonist returns (with the alto sax this time) and provides a real solo, with only the droning sound as back up. Looped percussion comes in and synths ebb and flow making things atmospheric while the soft sax continues. Things turn away from the dark feeling at the start and actually start to sound cheery with just the right shot of jazz inflection coming in and some soft, airy vocals swirl around. It almost seems that you are not listening to Riverside now, but it's nice and it shows the bands ability to be not only versatile, but to do it in an improvised setting. Things go back to a more pensive and ambient state as in its last few minutes, but you are left with a pleasant and relaxing mood.

This is an all around great album that shows the many sides of the band that many had previously thought of as being more one-sided, and even more so if you have the bonus vinyl tracks. But you even hear that in the main album too. It is easy to see why this band is a favorite among lovers of progressive music, mostly those that like the heavy side, but still love the atmospheric and moody edge that this band provides. The album is well-polished. It is one that most people will not regret having. There is no ground broken on the album, but it still satisfies that need to have great progressive music that you don't necessarily need to invest a lot of time in to appreciate it.

 Second Life Syndrome by RIVERSIDE album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.24 | 1750 ratings

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Second Life Syndrome
Riverside Progressive Metal

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

4 stars I think one of the best characteristics of prog music is that usually very good albums can flow seamlessly from the beginning to the end, and even when there are huge differences between different tracks or sometimes inside the same track, they are just part of a whole.

This second album of the Polish Riverside belongs to this category. It contains some scream, some very heavy distorted guitar, but there's also an Emersonian piano, moments Pink Floyd like and an obvous connection with Porcupine Tree. It's not a coincidence if the last albums of this band have been engineered by Steven WILSON.

For my nature I prefer the Floydian moments, but I absolutely don't dislike the heavier parts. Mariusz Duda has a great voice in both clean and screaming, as well as the missed Piotr Grudzinski can do what he wants with his guitar. Possibly one of the most talented rock guitarists of the current century. Not that Lapaj And Kodzieradki are less skilled, of course.

I have to say that "Conceiving me" is the first RIVERSIDE song I've ever listened to, and I was stunned by the title track immediately following it on the album, a 15 minutes epic which crosses the whole prog.metal subgenre.

I have mentioned Grudzinski. His guitar playing is closer to John PETRUCCI or than to GILMOUR, but it has a FLoydian mood in choosing the right notes, without putting too much stuff in a solo and supporting the band when his guitar is not the leading instrument.

The last track, "Before" can be taken as example. All the four create a soundscape in which there's not a prevalent instrument. All do their parts and the result is excellent. There also a bit of GENESIS influence on this track in my opinion.

Anyway this is very close to be a prog masterpiece, and honestly even if I'm not much into prog-metal as subgenre I have to say that RiVERSIDE has become one of my favorite bands, and this is the album from which I have discovered them.

 Lost 'n' Found: Live in Tilburg by RIVERSIDE album cover Live, 2017
4.27 | 59 ratings

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Lost 'n' Found: Live in Tilburg
Riverside Progressive Metal

Review by thesimilitudeofprog

4 stars This album is going to be emotional on so many levels and affecting people in different ways. The album was recorded in the autumn of 2015 and features Piotr Grudzinski who is no longer with us. Not a subject I intend to dwell on and this should be seen as a glorious celebration of the man's talent as well as the band being at the top of there game.The double CD was only available on the "Towards the Blue Horizon Tour". There are 100% no overdubs, so what you hear is what the audience heard.

We get 13 songs over about 105 minutes of music in this double disc affair. Every one of the six studio albums they have released is represented here with at least one track. A nice capture of the Riverside we came to love. A bit rougher, heavier than the studio incarnation, but it still works flawlessly. I just can't get over how this music moves me. "Found" is my overall favorite Riverside song, its how I came to know the group. Mariusz Duda's warm vocals would melt the hardest heart. Check out the emotion as he almost quivers with that last word.

 Second Life Syndrome by RIVERSIDE album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.24 | 1750 ratings

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Second Life Syndrome
Riverside Progressive Metal

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars 'Riverside's' second album manages to rectify the issues that their debut, 'Out of Myself' had, balancing between the heavier and softer moments much more effectively, and also not wearing their influences from bands such as 'Anathema' and 'Pink Floyd' quite as much on their sleeves. Their sound in general is a much darker one, with more emphasis on the metal aspect of their sound, rather than their soft, beautiful ballads. Despite many changes that I find positive, especially the better establishment of their sound and identity, I do have some issues with this album, particularly in terms of certain songs not quite leaving any kind of impact.

'After' already shows how this album will have a darker sound to it, beginning with whispering before leading into a really nice, and simultaneously eerie chant nicely utilising vocal layering. This segues into one of the better songs on the album, 'Volte Face', a great, heavy piece of music with some great riffs with a Middle-Eastern sound to them. I like the way the song slowly progresses as it goes on, starting off with the chorus ending in regular, clean vocals, and then having every time it appears be more intense, until harsh vocals are used, which sounds excellent in this, and really displays how 'Riverside' are trying to make a heavier album with less focus on their softer moments. Speaking of softer moments, the next song, 'Conceiving You' is the first weak point on the album. I find this to have nothing of much merit, with it being fairly unmemorable, and not even having the beauty or impact that's usually associated such ballads. I honestly find this slightly perplexing how a band who on their previous album made songs such as 'OK' and 'The Same River' could miss the mark with something beautiful quite as much as they did here. I think the main issue with it lies in the highly unsatisfying vocal melody, particularly the chorus. The title track, despite having some pacing issues and sounding far too much like 3 songs stitched together, manages to be quite good, as each section works very nicely. It's full of great instrumentals and solos, is quite dynamic, and has some absolutely incredible vocal melodies, most notably the chorus, which is nicely implemented in the second section, getting slower before transitioning into the third section. While I wouldn't put it among the various amazing epics, it's still a good song in general, despite some flaws in terms of pacing and the last section definitely dragging a bit. 'Artificial Smile' kicks things back up after the lull from the end of the title track, being another great metal track with heavy riffs and a lot of energy. Despite this being one of the more simple tracks, and Mariusz Duda's thick Polish accent making some inflections sound off, it's nonetheless an excellent song and one of the higher points on the album.

The second half of the album feels somewhat weaker than the first, with some excellent songs, but nothing that particularly amazes me as much. 'I Turned You Down' is mostly unimpressive, but then has some absolutely exquisite guitar work thrown in that elevates it quite a bit, making it a good listen all around, with the keyboards also adding some good atmosphere. 'Reality Dream III' isn't on the same level as the first 2 in my opinion, but is still a good, heavy instrumental with plenty of great riffs and a really fun piano section, which plays nicely off the bass and guitar. 'Dance With The Shadows' is the biggest weak spot on this album, being very overlong without having any particular moments in which anything which particularly grabs me, outside of some really cool keyboards at around the halfway point. The big problem is that the almost 12 minute length makes it a much more difficult song to deal with than 'Conceiving You' which at least has the benefit of being very short. After that slog, the album ends well with 'Before', the one moment on the album which I find truly beautiful, and definitely ends the album on a high note.

Despite the more intriguing sound that 'Riverside' possesses here, I do find this album to be vastly inferior to their first, largely due to many moments on this either feeling overblown, as is the case with parts of the title track and 'Dance With The Shadows' or not explored enough, especially 'Conceiving You'. This definitely is impressive in the sense of how great I find the tone and production of the album, being extremely distinctive and interesting, definitely paving the way for later albums which improved upon some issues. Despite the blatant issues with it, I do find that this album has both enough interesting moments as well as sounding great, that it warrants getting 3 stars despite the almost 20 minutes worth of music I find largely uninteresting.

Best Songs: Volte Face, Artificial Smile, Before

Weakest Songs: Conceiving You, Dance With The Shadows

Verdict: Really dark sounding music with quite a bit of heaviness to it. I'd recommend it to those who enjoy this sort of music, despite me finding this album very mixed. At the very least, I'd give Volte Face a listen, as it's definitely one of the highlights of the album, balancing their heavier, metal aspects, with some prog, providing a great balance.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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