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Riverside - Second Life Syndrome CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.23 | 1779 ratings

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The Monodrone
2 stars 2.4/10

So here we are with Riverside's second LP, 'Second Life Syndrome.'

After hearing raving reviews about this album, I decided I had to purchase it. I was looking for a modern prog album highly ranked on the Top 100 List, and this seemed to satisfy.

Right off the bat, the music seems to capture the listener with the opener "After." The album starts off strong with the aforementioned introduction, "Volte-Face," and then "Conceiving You." These tracks seem to create the first 'chapter' in the sound of the album. Everything after the third track really seems to drag down the quality of the album. The music becomes a very bland, over-cliched technical-prowess showcase. Think of the most basic Dream Theater/Porcupine Tree/Tool/Marillion sound and that's usually what you'll find here in the album. The music takes too many blatanly obvious influences and puts them out front, as if saying, "These are bands we love and we want to sound like them as much as we can." I'm not one to judge an influence a band has on another band's work, but here it's much too present.

The lyrics are very sub-par, somewhat restrained and come off a bit too anxious. "Artificial Smile," track 5, is perhaps the best example to show off the very weak songwriting.

The general atmosphere of the music is quite dark, yet there are some glimpses of uplifting meoldies and sounds. Some of the better moments can be found in parts of "Volte- Face." "Conceiving You," "I Turned You Down." The opener "After" is quite good, and quite addictive with the many vocal harmonies; My favorite track, though it's quite brief. Mariusz Duda can sing quite well, but too many times he holds back when it feels like he should let the emotion in his voice run.

I'm not the biggest fan of prog-metal, though that has nothing to do with my opinions on the album. Overall, I find it much too derivative in sound and overall performance. Though they are quite astounding musicians, Riverside unfortunately let their influences take over their creativity too many times for this album to be considered a 'masterpiece.'

The Monodrone | 2/5 |


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