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Riverside - Second Life Syndrome CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.26 | 1589 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Tristan Mulders
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Riverside - Second Life Syndrome

First of all, this has got to be one of my favourite releases of 2005. Maybe even my favourite of the year so far! When I heard the news about the band recording new material I was really curious about whether it was equally good as the songs on their debut album. So when it was released a couple of weeks ago I could not wait any longer and bought it the instant it was available.

Well, did it live up to the expectations created by the former "Out of myself" album? Let me put it this way: I don't know why I was even worried about them not being able to impress me another time in the first place; from the second I listened to this album I noticed I was listening to yet another talented album by a very talented band.

Sure, you can compare the music on this disc to other bands in the genre (Porcupine Tree, Pain of Salvation and Anathema come to mind as the most typical influences), but what is most remarkable is that emotions are expressed through the mood of the music and the way the lyrics are sung. This album has it all: fear, sorrow, rage. Those three words might well sum up the ideal vibe on this album. This is not your typical progressive metal album, it is more "symphonic." Symphonic in a way that it grows on you with each listening and that there are so many different sections that fluently collide. Furthermore, the music is not foremost technically. There are quite complex parts sometimes, but it is not made to show of the musicians' skills, but to create a certain atmosphere, which works very well; it helps to understand the music better.

What amazed me most about this album is that the overall mood is darker than on the previous "Out of myself" album. It all starts of with some muted whispered vocals before haunting percussion takes over together with some dreamy vocals. But not only here, it is in almost every song that the overall vibe is dark and haunting! This does not mean that every song is depressing, not at all, I really like this ambience, as mentioned earlier on, it really helps the songs to reach a higher level!

If compared to the "Out of myself" album, one might say that this album is more on the heavy side, but this metal approach fits perfectly for the songs. But if that might scare you of a little, don't worry, despite the more heavy approach the music still features what Riverside is so adored for: nice guitar solos, beautiful keyboard layers, well played bass guitar (Mixed in a way that you can hear it as a solo instrument, instead of a part of the rhythmic section. Quite remarkable!), drum patterns that might not get your attention at first, but when you keep an ear open for it you can notice what a talented drummer this band has and last but certainly not the least: highly emotional, sometimes a bit raw, vocals.

To conclude this one can only tell that this album is an experience, an experience that you have to discover for yourself.

Tristan Mulders | 4/5 |


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