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Riverside - Second Life Syndrome CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.26 | 1588 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars I am at a loss to understand why the most respected modern prog today mirrors not the classic Yes/Genesis symphonic axis but the depressive Pink Floyd mannerisms mixed with highly aggressive metal themes from King Crimson and the more overt stalwarts of that scene. While I have only heard snippets of groups like Porcupine Tree and Radiohead, I find they, like the relative newcomers Riverside, seem to fall squarely in the latter category. Echoes of Floyd's most irritating anti-social behaviour mix with occasionally violent vocal outbursts. In essence, both are sides of the same coin, a portrait of pathological solipsism, with every one of the few human interactions being interpreted in the pessimistic way imaginable. And those are just the lyrics and vocals. Unfortunately the music is also very much in the same paranoid mood which grows tiresome, and certain rhythms seem to be particular favourites of the group. The songs do change tempo within those parameters, that is, from sadness to rage, to the detriment of any sense of development within and between pieces.

Yet multiple listens do reveal a certain depth and many moments of guilty pleasure. For instance, the sometimes oppressive "Volte Face" has brilliant Middle Eastern themes, "Conceiving You" is a ballad which could almost be called beautiful. The title track doesn't quite gel as a complete work and also has to get past the first few minutes of Dave Gilmour tribute; luckily "I Turn you Down" is like a shorter more impactful version of it. I am not a fan of prog metal so I cannot give very fair assessments of "Artificial Smile", "Reality Dream III" and "Dance with the Shadow", other than they won't make me a fan.

Riverside does not seem to have invested a great deal in developing their own sound, but they can pull off pretty competent prog metal. The fact that I bothered to listen over and over and that it has in fact grown on me elevates it a half star, but I may not bother seeking out other releases. There's plenty more I'd want to check out before giving I'd consider reincarnating this band in my collection.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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