I think Riverside is not only the most famous prog rock band from Poland, but also the most successful. Since 2005 their line-up didn't change and still consists of Mariusz Duda (lead vocals, bass guitar, acoustic guitar), Piotr Grudzinski (guitars), Piotr Kozieradzki (drums) and Michał Łapaj (keyboards). To date Riverside have recorded five studio albums, namely Out Of Myself (2003), Second Life Syndrome (2005), Rapid Eye Movement (2007), Anno Domini High Definition (ADHD, 2009, see review) and just recently Shrine Of New Generation Slaves.
The first letters from the album's title form the acronym SONGS, in fact a common word to explain the underlying thought of this album. Unlike the previous album ADHD, the new album is more song orientated. It starts with a track called New Generation Slave about present-day 'slaves'. “ You can be a slave at your work, in a relation, but you're also a slave when you're addicted to technology, to the internet or to shopping”, Piotr Grudzinski stated in an interview I have done with him (see interview). Being a slave is the main subject of the album.
Throughout the album the sound of the keyboards demonstrates the heavy prog (metal) background of the band. In my opinion The Depth Of Self-Delusion is the highlight of SONGS thanks to its melodic structure and the perfect change in atmosphere in the middle section. From Celebrity Touch a video clip has been made. We Got Used To Us contains an initial piano chord section followed by an intense arrangement. Feel Like Falling can be defined best as synth rock. Deprived has a dark atmosphere, but gradually the song gets brighter with the brass section. Escalator Shrine is the epic track of SONGS, while the final track Coda is soft and acoustic.
Currently Riverside belongs to the premier league of European prog metal bands and with their latest album they will certainly remain there. SONGS is highly recommended to people who like the music of Porcupine Tree, Opeth and Anathema.
****+ Zafer Yüksel (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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