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Riverside Wasteland album cover
3.99 | 558 ratings | 10 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2018

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Day After (1:48)
2. Acid Rain (6:02) :
- Part 1: Where Are We Now?
- Part 2: Dancing Ghosts
3. Vale of Tears (4:48)
4. Guardian Angel (4:24)
5. Lament (6:10)
6. The Struggle for Survival (9:31) :
- Part 1: Dystopia
- Part 2: Battle Royale
7. River Down Below (5:43)
8. Wasteland (8:27)
9. The Night Before (4:08)

Total Time 51:01

Bonus track on 2018 mediabook edition:
10. River Down Below (radio edit) (4:25)

Line-up / Musicians

- Mariusz Duda / vocals, bass, piccolo bass, electric (solo 5,8) & acoustic guitars, banjo, composer & co-producer
- Michał Łapaj / keyboards, synth, Fender Rhodes, Hammond, Theremin (8)
- Piotr Kozieradzki / drums

- Maciej Meller / guitar solo (2,4,6,7)
- Mateusz Owczarek / guitar solo (3)
- Michal Jelonek / violin (1,5,6,8)

Releases information

Artwork: Travis Smith

CD Mystic Production ‎- MYSTCD 346 (2018, Poland)
CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMSECD 514 (2018, Europe) Mediabook edition with a bonus track

2xLP Inside Out Music ‎- IOMLP 514 (2018, Europe)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy RIVERSIDE Wasteland Music

RIVERSIDE Wasteland ratings distribution

(558 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

RIVERSIDE Wasteland reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After a recent compilation and two Lunatic Soul solo albums in quick succession from their bassist/frontman Mariusz Duda, 2018's `Wasteland' is Polish heavy prog band Riverside's first proper album since they vowed to carry on in the wake of the passing of their longtime guitarist Piotr Grudzinski. While the core trio remains in place, their sound is bolstered on their latest work by Maciej Meller and Mateusz Owczarek's added guitar solos, as well as Michal Jelonek's evocative violin, and the combination of the musicians help to make `Wasteland' one of Riverside's most lavish, daring and sophisticated discs to date.

Somewhat surprisingly, `Wasteland' is not only their heaviest work in parts since 2009's `Anno Domini High Definition', but despite remaining highly melodic the tunes have an added weight again after the stripped back approach the band took on their previous disc `Love, Fear and the Time Machine'. While not presenting a narrative-driven concept, many of the album lyrics allude to a recurring focus on survival in a world that has ended, that also doubles with the band reflecting on their own career and identity in the wake of their departed guitarist, and despite the return of some guitar grunt, their latest is actually quite ballad heavy, sometimes resembling the moody restrained approach that British band Anathema have headed in lately. But Riverside here still find time for longer multi-part compositions and even purely instrumental tracks to ensure that there's plenty to keep the proggers satisfied!

`What if it's not meant to be?' asks Mariusz starkly on short introductory lament `The Day After', his plaintive voice echoing around slowly emerging gloomy droning synths and orchestral slivers, but within less than two minutes the band enter properly with the two-part, six minute `Acid Rain'. Instantly it kicks in with power by way of grumbling riffing heavy guitars, snarling bass and a brooding chorus, even holding a touch of gothic menace with Duda's menacing purr and symphonic synth/organ washes. Its finale adopts a more hopeful atmosphere with sparkling electric piano, rousing group-vocal cries and Pink Floyd-like slow-burn guitar embers.

There's a gnarling guitar swagger and spacey metal touches to `Vale of Tears' that is met with mellow chorus breaks, Duda adopts a deeper raspy croon for introspective acoustic ballad `Guardian Angel' that's flecked with light dusty country flavours, and `Lament' blasts fragile acoustic passages with harder chugging guitar drama back and forth around a contemplative vocal, and some soothing group multi-part harmonies and searing violin add plenty of elegance. But it's the three-part, near-ten minute instrumental `The Struggle for Survival' that will have metal fans foaming at the mouth! After an ambient intro, it morphs into a relentless dash of twisting-turning guitar rages and strangled soloing, driving drumming, giddy electronics and slithering bass, and in parts it's perhaps the closest the band have come to delivering something more along the lines of the somewhat Dream Theater-modelled `Second Life Syndrome' album all the way back in 2005 - and damned if it doesn't groove like a mother-effer in parts too!

`River Down Below' proves a nice respite to the previous instrumental tour-de-force, a gorgeous and romantic Anathema-like acoustic ballad/soft-rocker that's beautifully sung with embracing words, and the instrumental backing is restrained and full of warmth. Some expanded versions of the album also include a radio-edit of the piece that only highlights what a great song it truly is at its core, and it has a good chance of becoming Riverside's equivalent of Porcupine Tree's `Trains' or `Lazarus' by appealing to a wider range of listeners. The title-track `Wasteland' starts as a ballad of rousing bluesy acoustic guitars and a scratchy parched vocal being before battered with wild stalking riffing and delirious synth wig-outs but still finding time for more subtle mysterious interludes of expansive bone-dry country presence. The band then close on a final classy ballad `The Night Before' that is probably the most straightforward moment of the disc, highlighted by sparkling piano that brings a defiant air of hope to wrap on.

Fans who embraced Riverside's harder-hitting earlier period may still be a little disappointed (it's heavier again, but still pretty far removed from `heavy metal'), and perhaps the over-reliance on ballads might bore a few listeners, but `Wasteland' is another superb addition from a band that hasn't put a single foot wrong, who continue to offer intelligent, mature and excitingly epic works, and it only hints at the potential and possible directions this renewed trio might still head in from this point.

Four stars for another big step up for the band, with an effort that's sure to be a favoured album of 2018 for many prog-rock fans.

Review by The Crow
3 stars After the sad passing of the guitarist Piotr Grudzinski, I'm sure that Wasteland was not an easy album to make.

For this reason, I consider this record a transition one while they let another guitarist to take part (hopefully) on their next record and bring some new ideas and sound. Because one of the first facts that we can clearly hear in Wasteland is that a true guitarist is missing. It's obvious that Mariusz Duda is not a professional guitar player, and because of that in almost all the songs the complex guitar work of previous albums is sadly gone, and the pedals used are also not the most adequate, making the guitar riffs sounds hollow and cheap.

And curiously the same can be said for the drums, which sounds too high pitched, lacking the deep and strength that the heavier parts of the album so desperately need! Why? I just don't know, because the Piotr Kozieradzki's drumming is awesome in other records from the band.

But apart from the production, the musical quality of the album is also a bit irregular. Some outstanding songs like Acid Rain, Veil of Tears and River Down Below are mixed with other average tracks like the not so exciting Guardian Angel, the repetitive The Struggle for Survival and the risky but not really successful Wasteland (I love the western influences though!)

This irregular songwriting makes the hearing of the album on its integrity a bit dull sometimes, and that's the first time that I feel something similar with a Riverside record. Is not a drama, but talking about one of the best prog-rock acts of the last decades, is some kind of a letdown.

Best Tracks: Acid Rain, Veil of Tears, Lament, River Down Below.

Conclusion: I must admit that the band has managed to overcome the death of their guitarist with a good album, which shows both the heaviest and mellowest sides of the band while maintaining the spirit of innovation that this musicians always had, diplaying some very good new ideas like the gothic and obscure Lament and the cinematic but flawed title track.

But in comparison to works like Second Life Syndrome and Anno Domini High Definition, Wasteland just pales.

My rating: ***

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Riverside returned after a hiatus following the sad passing of guitarist Grudzinski. The trio continued on relentlessly with new guitarist Owczarek and Meller, but the evident missing ingredient of Grudzinskis magic guitar prowess is a factor. However the album is well executed and has some of the more melodic melancholy songs from Riverside. The beauty of Lament is hypnotic and graced with heavy chorus and instrumentation. Guardian Angel is gorgeous in its simplicity and Duda has a passionate vocal. Acid Rain has a metal riff driving it and a melody that is catchy and infectious throughout with wonderful guitar augmentation.

The album has a sadness flowing through every song due to the themes of alienation of the lost and lonely embedded in the lyrics. Vale of Tears has a heavier vibe but still embued with the soft impassioned vocal of Duda. The Struggle for Survival is an instrumental workout of blazing guitars and tempestuous drumming and bass, the longest track at 9 and a half minutes. The time signatures fluctuate and it builds with soaring guitars into a cacophonic prog explosion of sound. The lead guitar screams in pain at 6 minutes in and then is released to the main melody that is haunting. The diving guitar sustained notes are glorious, definitely a grand instrumental to savour.

The balladic River Down Below is absolutely mesmirising with Duda in fine voice and some heartfelt lyrics that sink to the depths of sorrow. It was a successful single for Riverside and has a lyric video that is very effective.

Wasteland has a raspy vocal and odd meter with guitars that follow the lyrics. There are some nice harmonies that add a depth to the layers, and eventually it merges into a heavy guitar riff with complex polyrhythms and ascending cadence. The discordant melody is joined by more complicated guitar riffs that interplay with the drumming. The glissando guitar reverb has a spacey feel that chills the atmosphere. There is some beautiful guitar picking and keyboards and it locks into a pretty melody. The distortion and riffs return towards the end and a few theremin spirals augment the ethereal soundscape. Riverside are definitely back at their best on this treasure.

The Night Before is another quiet ballad with sweet piano melodies and soft, raspy vocals. The dreamy atmosphere is enhanced by reflective lyrics and simple piano lines.

Overall, while this album is not a masterpiece by any standards it features some of Riversides most melancholic, infectious ballads and some masterful tracks such as Wasteland and The Struggle For Survival. The songs grown on the listener over time and it has a powerful atmosphere with gems such as River Down Below which is beautiful and will resonate with many who will be able to relate to it.

Latest members reviews

5 stars I love this album. The general atmosphere of "Wasteland", dark and desolating, but with some glimpses of light for moments. In my Top Albums of Riverside, this is my #2 because I love "Love, Fear and the Time Machine" (because of that brighter sound and feel), but this album I can say is their b ... (read more)

Report this review (#2963065) | Posted by progrockeveryday | Friday, October 20, 2023 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Listening diary 10th September, 2021: Riverside - Wasteland (progressive rock, 2018) I haven't listened to this since just before I saw them perform live in 2019, which was a mixed bag of a show, just as this is a mixed bag of an album. I'll start by saying that it's much better than its utterly ... (read more)

Report this review (#2417532) | Posted by Gallifrey | Sunday, July 5, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Review # 92. Riverside is one of the most talented and famous bands of Poland, and there is a reason for that. They have been around for more than 15 years now, and with every new album they are giving proofs of their talent and quality. In 2016, Piotr Grudzinski, the band's guitar pl ... (read more)

Report this review (#2040806) | Posted by The Jester | Thursday, October 4, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I've long been a follower of Riverside and have found their gigs to be among the best I have attended. I rated this album a four star when I first heard it. I very much enjoyed it and loved several of the tracks but felt a rounded down 4 was more appropriate than a rounded up 5. But I find myself r ... (read more)

Report this review (#2040142) | Posted by CeeJayGee | Monday, October 1, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars And they deliver it again! This is a complicated album to review, especially due to the loss of Grudzinski and how it impacted the band and its fanbase. Still, that emotion is definitely felt while listening to it, and how they've used it to craft beautiful songs. It sounds different from "Lov ... (read more)

Report this review (#2039507) | Posted by Deadwing | Saturday, September 29, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars ...and then there were three. Plus guest guitars. After Piotr Grudzinski sadly passed away in 2016, the musicians expressed doubts about the possibility to keep the band. But they kept it. Here is it, still performing live and recording in studio. Though it's evidently not the same band as befor ... (read more)

Report this review (#2039304) | Posted by proghaven | Friday, September 28, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars First review! 7.5/10 My first hearing from this band was two years ago, and it has been growing since then until becoming one of my favourites. In fact, I've been waiting for this album with big expectations, and I have to say: is not their best, but a tremendous effort after the loss of their p ... (read more)

Report this review (#2038952) | Posted by Soul2Create | Thursday, September 27, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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