Wasteland is the first Riverside album since the tragic death of co-founder and guitarist Piotr Grudzinski in 2016.
One of the best Polish progressive metal bands ever decided to go on as a trio, being: Mariusz Duda, Michal Lapaj and Piotr Kozieradzki. To assist Duda on guitar you can hear a few guitar solos played by Maciej Meller and one solo, on Vale Of Tears, played by Mateusz Owczarek. Wasteland is a heavier album than previous Riverside releases and in certain ways you have to get used to the “new” sound of the band. The guitars seem to dominate this album. Take tracks like Acid Rain, Vale Of Tears or the instrumental The Struggle For Survival.The latter song being the longest one on Wasteland and at almost ten minutes long is filled with guitar solos and excellent bass grooves. Lament, another musical highlight, opens with acoustic guitars followed by one of the heaviest riffs - hello Opeth - on the entire album. Guardian Angels is a completely different song, as it is best described as a “lovely” acoustic ballad; but actually to me this is a rather redundant track, not my cup of Riverside tea. The melancholic last track called The Night Before only features piano passages and the vocals of band leader Mariusz Duda. The violin, played by Michal Jelorek, which can be heard on four of the nine tracks, adds a new dimension to the sometimes almost cinematic sound of Wasteland.
Riverside's seventh album is a must for Riverside fans, but also for lovers of melodic, dark progressive metal, proving that this outstanding Polish band definitely has a second life in their still rather young career.
**** Martien Koolen (edited by Dave Smith)
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