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Riverside - Second Life Syndrome CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.26 | 1622 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars After much deliberation, I'm going to classify Second Life Syndrome as essential--check that, absolutely essential--but stopping short of calling this a masterpiece.

Let's review what this album has going for it: 1) a foursome of very talented musicians who play with a sense of passion and urgency, as if they really have something to say, 2) an interesting and captivating overall theme that never turns cheesy, and 3) a large amount of extremely well-crafted music. All this screams essential prog in my book.

So, what's preventing masterpiece designation? One is consistency, as the first half (beginning through the end of the title track) is masterpiece level to my ears, but the second half falls off a bit, with more of the brooding from their debut album and less of the passion from the first half.

Labels and technicalities aside--let's get to the music! After is a fantastic intro, with the creative, intense, and smooth vocal side of Duda, nicely finished with some moody, passionate guitar from Piotr G (a running theme with this album). Then Riverside get down to business with Volte-Face, showing their full capabilities as performers and songwriters in moving from bouncy, catchy riffing to passionate ambiance to the skull-crushing metal finale.

The title track and Reality Dream III also deserve special mention, because they encapsulate some of my favorite qualities of the band. Here Riverside move expertly from pensive, delicate passages to absolutely colossal symphonic eruptions. Remember, this is only four players, and Duda, Lapaj and Piotr G really are in sync to put these pieces over the top. I just can't get enough of this stuff.

I have truly enjoyed watching this band evolve, as well as purchasing their largely high-quality releases. These guys really seem to be on the same page, they are a classic case of the whole being more than the sum of the parts. Now if only we could get some more Riverside tour dates in the States...

Flucktrot | 4/5 |


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