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Riverside - Shrine of New Generation Slaves CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.05 | 1042 ratings

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5 stars Riverside are a band who have always evaded me. Not for any real reason, but I haven't really got into them. They were, in fact, one of the first prog bands I listened to, but the albums I have just sort of sit around and barely get played. But after the success of my 2012 lists, I decided to properly sit down and listen to this one. And I am so glad I did. This is a wonderful record, a hard-edged prog affair bordering on metal at times, but with focus primarily on melody and atmosphere, two of my personal favourite sides of music.

The album opens with the heavy rocker "New Generation Slaves", which contains some interesting fusions of classic prog instruments (Hammond organ) and heavy distorted guitars, which becomes a regular occurrence, with Hammond/guitar solos on "Celebrity Touch". But this song really serves just as an intro to the album, and specifically the almost 8 minute second track, "The Depth Of Self-Delusion". The song reminds me of recent years' Porcupine Tree, with Mariusz using that voice Steven Wilson does when he sounds like he's talking through a phone. A smooth mixture of prog rock with occasional heavy guitars seems to be Riverside's trademark sound, and it is pulled of well here.

My personal two favourite songs "We Got Used To Us" and "Feel Like Falling" show Riverside at their most melodic, with the former being a really nice ballad devoid of metal aspects. "Feel Like Falling" is my favourite song so far this year, and is honestly just an indie rock song with prog metal coatings on it. A strongly bass and vocal dominated song, with a wonderful hook line and a couple of great solos. The main vocal part reprises in "Coda", a nice hint back to the best song on the album.

The 'epic' of this album is "Escalator Shrine", coming in at almost 12 minutes. Many prog fans believe an album is not complete without an epic, and although I don't necessarily like longer songs more, I have to agree that I do love a well constructed song. Another obvious feature of this song is that it is the only longer song on the album, which I prefer as a listener. I get rather frustrated when bands, specifically bands that don't favour variation, put 4 or 5 long songs in an album (coughdreamtheatercough), and they begin to get boring and drawn out. Riverside here have kept "Escalator Shrine" concise and to the point, and it doesn't warble about with meaningless solos like many prog metal epics.

Due to being a relatively new Riverside fanatic, I can't compare this to their earlier work, but I do believe it to be far superior to the one I know best ("Anno Domini High Definition"), and it sounds like Riverside are just moving from strength to strength. This and Steven Wilson's latest album are the only two 2013 albums I have heard thus far. And basing it around last year's chart, both are looking at top 20 spots at the end of the year.


Originally posted at my facebook page/blog

Gallifrey | 5/5 |


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