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




Progressive Metal

4.07 | 1040 ratings

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4 stars Melancholic, melodic .... too perfect? (7.5/10)

I have mixed feelings about Riverside's new album, Shrine of New Generation Slaves. The album is very strong in many respects. The musicianship is excellent, and all four musicians shine throughout the album. Each song contains the right mixture of memorable melodies and subtle arrangements, and the production is excellent. I like the reflective, melancholic mood, obtained through a sapient use of light and shade, and I don't dislike the shift towards a poppier sound, with perhaps less emphasis on the metallic roots of the band.

So far so good - in fact, this almost sounds like SONGS is THE perfect album. And here comes my main problem with this album: it sounds TOO perfect - too polished, too studied, too sterile. It's almost like each song has been created following a meticulously crafted formula, carefully weighing each sonic ingredient. The end result is that the songs miss the raw power, spontaneity and emotiveness that the music and lyrics intend to express. Also, most songs tend to be somewhat formulaic and predictable. I think that this issue comes up more clearly in the heavier, distorted riff-based songs such as the opener New Generation Slave, Celebrity or Feel Like Falling. These pieces tend to fall flat and are the least convincing on the album, IMO. Perhaps the issue is in how the music has been created (with each group member sitting in front of their own computer?) or recorded, I don't know. But I would be curious to see how this album is delivered live on stage - there perhaps the raw power and spontaneity may be regained?

So, mixed feelings as I said at the beginning. I do tend to play SONGS over and over again, and I do like what I hear. But at the same time SONGS fails to involve me emotionally as I would like it to. And I find this rather frustrating!

**** songs: The Depth of Self-Delusion; Deprived; Escalator Shrine. *** songs: We Got Used to Us; Celebrity Touch; Feel Like Falling; Coda. ** songs: New Generation Slave.

lukretio | 4/5 |


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