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Riverside - Second Life Syndrome CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.26 | 1590 ratings

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Mr. Mustard
4 stars Second Life Syndrome is the logical progression in sound and style from their wonderful debut. The Pink Floyd-like atmosphere is still widely present, but one may sense the band is going in a slightly heavier, more metal direction, as much of the music this time around is more riff-based. Much of the ambient sound of the previous has been replaced, or at least overlaid by the heavy riff-based music that is so prevalent in Progressive Metal. Regardless, the same core Riverside sound is present, along with the same compositional skills and complexity that made the first album so remarkable.

Like the debut, there are nine songs, most of which can be categorized in the same way. You have your heavier songs in 'Artificial Smile' and the Dream Theater influenced instrumental 'Reality Dream III.'

'Conceiving You,' 'I Turned You Down,' and 'Before' are the more down-tempo, atmospheric songs, all of which have a great melodic touch.

The real treats though, are the lengthier 'Volte-Face,' 'Dance With the Shadow,' and the epic title track, all of which have very diverse, but easily digestible song structures. The title track especially being easily divided into three parts, the first being a blend of melodic guitar bits with heavy bass lines and complex guitar riffs. The second has that down-tempo Pink Floyd sound that often invades their sound, and the final part is a frenzy of instrumental intensity that rounds off what is perhaps the band's best song, and is certainty the perfect summation of what the band achieves musically.

Again, the production and mixing are pristine on the album, with bass having a deep, warm tone, and guitar having that soulful, crying tone.

Overall, Riverside made a slight improvement with this album by going in a slightly heavier direction, which, when combined with their attention to deep atmosphere and melody makes this one of the most diverse and interesting albums of Progressive Metal.


Mr. Mustard | 4/5 |


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