Recommended Albums #42


Riverside: Shrine of New Generation Slaves (2013)

Riverside emerged as the best of a crop of metal-influenced Polish progressive rock bands who formed in the 2000’s. Their debut, 2004’s Out of Myself, was remarkable for its seamless blending of the metal and prog genres. It was a brooding concept album on which quiet, contemplative acoustic tracks intermingled with heavier guitar songs over a well-paced, melodic, and never-dull 53 minutes.

Subsequent releases have possessed the same magic to lesser degrees, or have leaned toward one or the other of the band’s main dynamic moods, but each seemed to trade chiefly on guitar and keyboard atmospherics ahead of songcraft.

With Shrine of New Generation Slaves  however, the focus seems to have shifted. Lead singer and chief songwriter Mariusz Duda’s propensity for acronym literally spells that out. Where their last release, Anno Domini High Definition, was an exploration of modern life’s constant swirl of motion and activity–and had a title with the acronym ADHD, the acronym code this time, SONGS, bears out the stronger emphasis on tighter, more focused writing.

And if this is indeed the breakout album for Riverside in America that many are saying it could be (they’ve already established significant followings in countries like Holland and Germany and are unquestioned kings of Poland’s prog scene) it will be the songs that kick down the door. From the multi-textured beauty of “The Depth of Self-Delusion” to the retro stoner rock sound of “Celebrity Touch” to the emotional resonance of “We Got Used to Us”, the band have assembled their finest collection of songs at least since their debut.

Nothing feels forced, it all feels organic: a well-placed riff here, a spare breakdown there…all adding up to a masterful album by a band who’s clearly come of age. And all in the capable hands of singer Duda, one of contemporary prog’s most lauded vocalists.

Spend some time with this one and it’ll reward your effort.

Listen to: “The Depth of Self-Delusion”

Listen to: “Celebrity Touch”

Listen to: “We Got Used to Us”

Listen to: “Feel Like Falling”

Listen to: “Coda”

See also:

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Karen
    Mar 28, 2013 @ 15:03:00

    I really like this album and the first 4 songs that you chose are the best in my opinion also…. but there’s not a bad one in the bunch. I caught on immediately after the first listen and I haven’t put it down since. I hope the US gives it the appreciation it deserves.


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