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




Progressive Metal

4.06 | 1080 ratings

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3 stars 3.5 Stars. I've got used to them

I've always had a soft spot for Riverside as they were one of the first modern prog bands that I discovered. They are one of those consistent bands that I could always rely on to produce something to touch the heart and the head. That hasn't changed with SONGS, however I can't help but feel that they are playing it too safe and that the songs here don't bring anything new to the table. It sits somewhere between the reality dream trilogy and ADHD and so offers just about enough variations to be interesting.

The album starts on a low note with "New Generation Slave" which I consider to be one of the worst songs they have ever done. The intro is incredibly annoying with repetitive vocals and on/off musical outbursts that don't go anywhere. The Prog Metal instrumental that does eventually arrive is fairly one dimensional and nowhere near as powerful as those found in ADHD.

"The Depth Of Self-Delusion" is one of Riverside's more emotive songs, but unlike most them the tempo is reasonably quick and there are a few noisy outbursts to be found. The quieter and more delicate moments are quite touching and the Pink Floyd atmosphere adds to the song without taking centre stage. Much better than the opening song.

"Celebrity Touch" is a song of two moods. Most of it is load and noisy hard rock/metal with the tune being incredibly catchy. I'm not surprised at all that this became their single as it does really stick in your head! The other mood is much quieter and atmospheric and feels like a completely different song. The whole songs still works reasonably well as they prevent either mood from being repetitive, but it can take a while to get used to this odd combination.

"We Got Used To Us" is a straight forward emotional ballad with some PF atmosphere added in for good measure. The lyrics are the best thing about this song and it does a good job in making you feel slightly depressed. They have done this kind of song before but its still enjoyable.

"Feel Like Falling" switches between hard rock verses and more relaxed choruses with some cool Prog Metal solos at the end. Its quite similar to Celebrity Touch but not as polarised on either side of the spectrum and also like Celebrity Touch it is a catchy song. It doesn't leave the biggest impression but the striped back version of this song at the end (Coda) does help solve this problem.

Up until this point the album has been lacking in the Prog department. "Deprived (Irretrievably Lost Imagination)" helps solve this problem and is IMO the best song on the album. Its a very emotional song (with heart-breaking lyrics) and it makes We Got Used To Us sound hollow in comparison. The tempo is slow and atmospheric for the most part. They could be accused of overextending the song so that it reaches the "epic" 8 min length, with a bit of trimming it could have been a masterpiece.

"Escalator Shrine" starts with some repetitive vocals, but unlike the opening song there is a build of momentum so it isn't frustrating. The inevitable Prog Metal phase appears which lasts a few minutes. Its good, but it what I've come to expect from Riverside so it doesn't feel very new. The second half of the song is much better, as it manages to be dramatic without using the standard techniques.

There is a bonus disc that contains two 10 min songs. They are both instrumentals that combine ambient, rock and electronic music. The first song has more rock and the second is more laidback. They are both good songs and the only part of the album where the band try something new.

So in summery this is a good album, but struggles to compete with what has come before. This has been a hard review to write as I'm struggling to define exactly what I don't like about the album (apart from the first song). All of the elements are here, but the magic is lacking. It could be that my expectations was too high after ADHD, it could be the lack of Prog in this album or it could be the lack of innovation outside the Night Session bonus tracks. This is still a good album so I have to give it a high 3 stars, almost 4 with the bonus tracks.

LakeGlade12 | 3/5 |


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