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Riverside - Out Of Myself CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.20 | 1183 ratings

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5 stars (10/10)

This really is one of my all-time favourites. In fact, according to my computer it's my most played album, and I can't foresee ever getting tired of it. In 2003, Riverside released the first part of an ambitious trilogy of albums, the 'Reality Dream Trilogy', drawing inspiration from classic bands like Marillion and Pink Floyd, as well as more modern ones like Tool, Porcupine Tree, and Anathema. Hailing from the now hotbed of modern progressive music that is Poland, Riverside crafted a sound that expertly combined all these influences (and more), along with many innovations of their own. In time, I believe that Riverside will take an important place in the history of progressive music, and deservedly so.

Even though the band evolves with every passing release, most of Riverside's strengths are already on full display in "Out Of Myself". Though vocalist/bassist Mariusz Duda is the mastermind, every member contributes something important to the whole package. We have, for example, the complex and hypnotising rhythms courtesy of Piotr Kozieradzki's drumming and Mariusz Duda's Bass, along with the spacey and atmospheric keyboards.

Mariusz Duda's singing is especially important; passionate, melodic, and most of all heartfelt. Lyrically a few phrases here or there may sound a bit odd, but seeing as this is a Polish band with English lyrics it's easy to forgive, and if anything there's a certain charm to it. The words and emotions are certainly delivered with genuine feeling. I even think that not being English could be quite freeing lyrically, as you have fewer preconceptions about what is and is not allowed, so you could be completely honest and unrestrained, and give a different turn of phrase than a native speaker that may give a fresh angle on an idea. At times Duda can be soft, at others powerful, even incredibly harsh in a few places, but it always fits the purpose of the music. For example, in "Loose Heart", the recurring line of "Raise me up, don't let me fall" starts as gliding and delicately melodious, which goes great with the calmer tone and warm guitar soloing. But as the song grows in intensity and the guitar gets heavier this transforms into desperate and heart-wrenching screams of "Raise me up//Raise me up don't let me fall" that make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Truly, Mariusz Duda would be good enough to be an asset to any band as either a singer or a bassist, and it's really impressive to see him pull of both at once (especially live, I should add).

Of course, one of the best things about this album is Piotr Grudzinski's omnipresent slicing guitar work. I'm astonished at how mature all of the band sound, given that this is their debut album, but especially Piotr Grudzinski. His guitar is glorious, and the album is drenched in its emotional tones just as much as Mariusz Duda's voice. For me, Grudzinski is right up there with Gilmour and Rothery, and I do not throw those names around lightly. He can lock into the more metallic riffing as well, or blend into the atmospheric soundscapes if required, so he's an excellent team player as well as a stand-out talent in his own right.

I had a track by track review written up, but in the end decided not to talk about individual tracks here because, to be honest, this album flows like one continuous immersive experience, and really needs to be treated as such. The dark but somehow ultimately uplifting presentation of the subject matter is married so well to the music, and draws you in from start to finish. After the first thirty or so listens I probably couldn't have told you the all song names (though I'd all but memorised the actual music)!

Riverside's influence was already being felt just a few years after the release of "Out Of Myself". It has steadily grown in the years following and I am sure will only continue to grow as their legacy unfolds. "Out Of Myself" is where it all started, and in some ways I even prefer it to their (rightly) universally acclaimed sophomore masterpiece "Second Life Syndrome". I cannot recommend this album enough, seek it out immediately.

ScorchedFirth | 5/5 |


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