Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Riverside - Shrine Of New Generation Slaves CD (album) cover



Progressive Metal

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
4 stars Fresh review, right after first spin of the CD. They did it again. Managed to record interesting album completetly different in style to its predecessor. There is more space for solos, for reflections. Unlike ADHD, the songs on SONGS do not end with the lyrics being sung. This is when music, arrangement begins. And they are interesting. And intense, yet slower than ADHD. Lots of acoustic guitars, lots of singing guitar, and never have I heard so lyrical vocal of Mariusz Duda. No song seem to stand out, slightly weaker for me are only Celebrity Touch, Feel Like Falling. But the opener New Generation Slave, with visible influence of Deep Purple, really gets you into the album. The lines like "The truth is/I am a free man/But I can't enjoy my life" or "So how am I doing?Oh, I CAN complain" immediately starts the story about the deficits of contemporary life, which are: lack of a)imagination b) emotions and c) reality. And there is another great ballad, "We Got Used To Us", not as intense as "Left Out", not as catchy as "Conceiving You", but nevertheless equal to them. The longest track, Escalator Shine - dark, imaginative, sometimes reminding of "The Lamb Lies Down Of Broadway" (just a personal impression) could be placed right after "Second Live Syndrome", together with "Hybrid Times". All in all, this album is not a break-up, not as brilliant as "Anno Domini High Definition". But interesting all the same, so the rating of four-stars is well-deserved.
Report this review (#895229)
Posted Friday, January 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Riverside's new album's single Celebrity Touch isn't anything as the rest of the songs in this disc. I highly recommend ignoring this song before actually listening to the whole album. Shrine of New Generation Slaves is on par with the very best Riverside has released. It's a combination of Second Life Syndrome with Memories in My Head. They've employed a new combination of hard rock with atmospheric progressive music and delivered a well thought out interesting album that has many layers to it. I'll go ahead and rank it as one of the best efforts the band has pulled. I just wished they had more exposure so that they would've come near to my town and watch them live. Highlights in the album include the opener "New Generation Slave", sounding a little bit as old 70's rock in a sort of strange way. "We Got Used to Us" Is a continuation of a previous ballad, which I don't remember quite well. "Deprived" Has an awesome atmosphere with great bass lines to go along the great instrumentation by the rest of the musicians. "Feel Like Falling" is also a great song that should be a favorite. And of course, the 13 minute epic "Escalator Shrine" that sounds straight out of their previous progressive efforts. I'm looking forward to more spins.
Report this review (#895979)
Posted Saturday, January 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Lunatic Side of the River

Much can be said about Riverside but not that they repeat themselves. They indeed progress with every album and the newest record, whose name's gracefully abbreviated to SONGS, is not an exception.

Riverside have already made an album eclectic to the extent of being inconsistent (Rapid Eye Movement) and while Shrine Of New Generation Slaves may be their second most eclectic release, they didn't make the same mistake again. There's a certain feel that makes itself noticeable from the first seconds of the opening track until the last notes of "Escalator Shrine". In the very core of the record resides the spirit of the 70s eclectic rock in the vein of King Crimson and Gentle Giant. Glowing with Deep Purple sparkle, the core was furthermore enriched with a big shard of Lunatic Soul (Mariusz Duda's side project) and some modern neo prog-pop elements known from 00s albums by Porcupine Tree. Not to mention some themes reminiscent of the band's debut release, Out of Myself. So, all in all, from these well known ingredients something quite unique has been created and the band deserves a big round of applause for what they pulled off here.

Riverside is first and foremost about music imbued with genuine emotions and true beauty that comes with it. This is what's been disarming me since their first album, something I've never felt while listening to Porcupine Tree, the band they're often compared to. I've even been able to turn a blind eye to occasional pretentiousness or overlook some more or less obvious similarities to Pink Floyd, Dream Theater or Opeth. They play stuff they love and this unparalleled, spontaneous affection for music has become their trademark. That's why they never fail to deliver.

TRACKS BY RATINGS: 9/10[fantastic!]: The Depth of Self-Delusion; Escalator Shrine; Deprived (Irretrievably Lost Imagination) || 8/10[great]: New Generation Slave; Celebrity Touch; Feel Like Falling || 7/10[very good]: We Got Used To Us || OVERALL = 83/100

-- Originally written for Metal Music Archives [] --

Report this review (#897466)
Posted Tuesday, January 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
5 stars Somehow Riverside just seem to keep on getting better and better, with the new album being a case in point. As I write this it has had 73 ratings on progarchives and is rated as the second best album of the year so far. Now, I know it's only January but it won't be far from that mark at the end of the year I'm sure. The four musicians have now been together for a long time and it shows. Production is yet again just wonderful, and not only has the music grown in maturity and presence but so has Mariusz's vocals. This is a band that has really come of age and they mix up bouncy hard rock from the Seventies with a much more laid-back Floydian feel. For some reason I keep thinking of Opeth, although they are nothing alike, so it must just be due to approach as opposed to sound.

"Celebrity Touch" is a fun bounce along rock number with great Hammond that apart from the vocals could be classic Spock's Beard. This is a prog album that is guaranteed to make the listener smile from the first note to the very last and there is only one thing to do when it ends, and that is to play the whole thing again. The louder I played it the more I enjoyed it, as the guys really know how to hit that perfect vibe. Highly recommended. It doesn't get much better than this.

Report this review (#897746)
Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars After the brilliant "Anno Domini High Definition" and the amazing "Memories in My Head" EP, "Shrine of New Generation Slaves" is a bit disappointing. After long anticipation I hoped to get a sequel of the previous 2 albums but instead I hear a mediocre or even below their level album. there are some good point there. The guitar riffs and the singing are very good but the compositions are lucking something from Riverside's elements. Unlike the mentioned previous albums the songs in this album don't have anything in common. it's one song after the other, you can shuffle them and still get each song as is, no connecting thread in the shape of common theme, motif or even just a plain mix b/w songs. It seems that Riverside pay too much attention to their unique sound and production and less on the compositions.
Report this review (#900710)
Posted Monday, January 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars 9/10

A Perfect Balance.

"Shrine Of New Generation Slaves" is the fifth album by Polish Progressive Rock/Metal act Riverside, one of the last decade's most beloved European bands of the genre. They started off with a trilogy of albums, which begun in 2003 with "Out With Myself", continued with "Second Life Syndrome" and ended with "Rapid Eye Movement". These albums all had a very similar sound that combined heaviness with Pink Floydian atmospheres, with a greater dose of the latter. 2009's "Anno Domini High Definition" was a complete direction-shifter, thanks to a sharper, more modern sounding production, more futuristic and advanced sounds, and more Metal. This last release stunned me completely, and I still keep it dear to my heart for it is now one of my favorite albums. "Shrine Of New Generations Slaves" at this point has quite a bit on its shoulders. Luckily, the band proves they are still in great shape, and that they can still amaze.

In many ways, this is the album that should have been midway between the trilogy and "Anno Domini": the production is a good mix between the two, because while we still have the Floydian atmospheric sounds, there is still a lot of sharp, modern sounding Metal. Like also the trilogy, there is a lot organ playing to give thickness to the guitars and keyboards, and there are quite a bit of piano bits, synth pads, and some additional instrumentation such as the sax or the flute. In fact, this album is again another pleasantly varied piece of work, instrumentally speaking. But the variation doesn't end here: in terms of mood, this is also quite a diverse album, as we find melancholic songs, but also fun, heavy ones, and some others veiled with a shroud of mystery. But it never feels like a mixed bag, everything is so perfectly in balance, and when a different mood does kick in, it comes in just in time.

The depth of "Shrine Of New Generation Slaves" is really outstanding, almost to the levels of "Anno Domini", in the sense that the music brings you deep into a world, very similar to ours, but where a melting pot of emotions is an everyday thing, where social discomfort reigns, in a time where every one is closed in, and where everything happens from within and never coming from the outside. It is a very introspective album, and the flow of it almost feels like an unconscious stream of emotions, a strongly linear journey with a beginning, and with a pleasantly suffused ending.

Particular highlights that mark this beautiful journey are songs like the wonderfully complex " The Depth Of Self-Delusion", the meditative calmness of "Feel Like Falling" the more urgent, fun pieces like the single "Celebrity Touch", or "Deprived", and the second-to-last track, "Escalator Shrine", which has the most powerful closing minutes Riverside has ever managed to write.

"Shrine Of New Generation Slaves" ought to be remembered as one of the finest examples of Progressive Metal, and to be part of that still-growing bulk of masterful releases coming out of this decade. Its approach is very new, the atmospheres are very innovative, and the level of sophistication is extremely high; with these attributes, there is no reason for this to not be part of the best of the best.

Report this review (#904112)
Posted Friday, February 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Riverside are a band who have always evaded me. Not for any real reason, but I haven't really got into them. They were, in fact, one of the first prog bands I listened to, but the albums I have just sort of sit around and barely get played. But after the success of my 2012 lists, I decided to properly sit down and listen to this one. And I am so glad I did. This is a wonderful record, a hard-edged prog affair bordering on metal at times, but with focus primarily on melody and atmosphere, two of my personal favourite sides of music.

The album opens with the heavy rocker "New Generation Slaves", which contains some interesting fusions of classic prog instruments (Hammond organ) and heavy distorted guitars, which becomes a regular occurrence, with Hammond/guitar solos on "Celebrity Touch". But this song really serves just as an intro to the album, and specifically the almost 8 minute second track, "The Depth Of Self-Delusion". The song reminds me of recent years' Porcupine Tree, with Mariusz using that voice Steven Wilson does when he sounds like he's talking through a phone. A smooth mixture of prog rock with occasional heavy guitars seems to be Riverside's trademark sound, and it is pulled of well here.

My personal two favourite songs "We Got Used To Us" and "Feel Like Falling" show Riverside at their most melodic, with the former being a really nice ballad devoid of metal aspects. "Feel Like Falling" is my favourite song so far this year, and is honestly just an indie rock song with prog metal coatings on it. A strongly bass and vocal dominated song, with a wonderful hook line and a couple of great solos. The main vocal part reprises in "Coda", a nice hint back to the best song on the album.

The 'epic' of this album is "Escalator Shrine", coming in at almost 12 minutes. Many prog fans believe an album is not complete without an epic, and although I don't necessarily like longer songs more, I have to agree that I do love a well constructed song. Another obvious feature of this song is that it is the only longer song on the album, which I prefer as a listener. I get rather frustrated when bands, specifically bands that don't favour variation, put 4 or 5 long songs in an album (coughdreamtheatercough), and they begin to get boring and drawn out. Riverside here have kept "Escalator Shrine" concise and to the point, and it doesn't warble about with meaningless solos like many prog metal epics.

Due to being a relatively new Riverside fanatic, I can't compare this to their earlier work, but I do believe it to be far superior to the one I know best ("Anno Domini High Definition"), and it sounds like Riverside are just moving from strength to strength. This and Steven Wilson's latest album are the only two 2013 albums I have heard thus far. And basing it around last year's chart, both are looking at top 20 spots at the end of the year.


Originally posted at my facebook page/blog

Report this review (#904468)
Posted Saturday, February 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not bad album, but not so progressive or metal as it should be if genre defined as prog metal. Nice melodies, but nothing groundbreaking or memorable. Today prog rock going to 70-s and i don't like this tendency. This is nice rock music with some 70-s influences (Deep Purple!), but not masterpiece. I liked they previous work, they were more innovative than "Shrine Of New Generation Slaves". This album can't stand among such great works as "Images and Words" because this music is not progressive metal - it is nice neo-prog with some heavy-prog, maybe the best over the past few years, but in my opinion Riverside didn't show nothing new here. Sad, but true
Report this review (#905954)
Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Progressive Metal return to 70s hard-rock experimental era and mix together

When I came into Progressive Metal Scene I took care about 'hard' sound, because of my soft ears. Into Riverside Discography I started with 2011 EP Memories in My Head, that was for me a big surprise, "A metal group could be complex" I thought. However, when I heard the single 'Celebrity Touch', I was very disappointed. Simply and direct catchy song with 70s random sound.

But, I was stubborn and I ordered the album. And the whole album was amazing, newly surprising. Yes, with 70's flavour, but fresh sound, it sounds like a S.XXI music. Circle album with hard riffs, catchy melodies, complex structures and very captivating.

Lyrics are great, the concept of the album is very actual. Music is surprising, with a lot of nuances. For me, the SONG of S.O.N.G.S. is 'Deprived', which has all proggy components to catch your mind and to dive yourself into society problems. Saxo part is really fantastic. Musicly, the album has two parts, first rocker one (1-3) and second proggy one (4-8). Many Influences of Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Pink Floyd... and Asia, yes, you see, Asia, I think 'We Got Used to Us' is the dreamed song by Wetton & Howe in an Asia Album, because of his sensibility. I can hear Howe's riffs in that song...

Definitively, one of the albums of the year so far, and one of the best albums of last 25 years. The perfect mixture between Prog, Hard, Metal and catchy Aor melodies.

Don't miss mediabook edition, with cd2 bonus containing 2 night sessions. First One is a progressive electronic dream similar to Tangerine Dream, when we can hear the different ways Riverside could take into the future. The second one is more proggy than first, specially with saxo parts, that are delicious.

Report this review (#906010)
Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
Second Life Syndrome
4 stars Much has been said about this album, so I won't waste anyone's time with more raving about each track. However, I do want to mention my perspective on this album. Riverside has proven once again that they are in world all their own: they do what they want. It's as simple as that.

"Shrine of New Generation Slaves" is a perfect example of this fact. SONGS has been correctly described as being somewhere between the Reality Dream trilogy and ADHD. Yet, I cannot shake the feeling that Mariusz Duda's solo project, Lunatic Soul, has influenced this new album immensely. Whether it be the spacey xylophone, the slow moody segments, or the signature song structures; Lunatic Soul is found throughout the album. In fact, the bonus disc Night Sessions tracks (excellent editions, by the way) seem like they are straight off of Lunatic Soul's "Impressions". While some may complain about this, I welcome it immensely. It seems that Riverside is becoming slightly more eclectic, less metallic (why are they listed under progressive metal?), and even more original.

As to the musicianship, SONGS delivers. Duda wows with his vocals and especially with his intense and intricate bass lines. The keyboards also really shine on this album as they range from a 70's texture to piano passages to more neo-prog styles. As usual, the guitar work is also phenomenal, and this is just as varied as the keyboards. I've never heard Piotr perform such soulful solos as on SONGS. Lastly, the drums are well done (I was very impressed in a few spots), but I still would love to see them taken up a notch or two.

Finally, I think my favorite thing about this album is the theme. Themes and lyrics are very important to me, and Duda really outdid himself here. The theme of new age slaves is riveting as we see first world citizens that are chained mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Slaves to religion, to broken relationships, to materialism, and to other issues are all emotionally explored. This album is nothing short of powerful. "We never talk when we fall apart"...

Currently, I would have to say my favorite tracks are "The Depth of Self-Delusion", "We Got Used to Us", "Deprived", and the epic "Escalator Shrine". Yet, I know this will shift as I discover this album more and more. Overall, Riverside has delivered a game changer once again, and I encourage everyone to join the ride.

Report this review (#911498)
Posted Friday, February 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars A tour de force of compelling concepts and brilliant musicianship, a triumph of Riverside.

Riverside are one of the most exciting dynamic prog artists to come out over recent years. On this latest release 'Shrine of New Generation Slaves' (abbreviated as SONGS! Don't you love it?) Mariusz Duda is as masterful as ever on crystal clear vocals, and pulsating bass. He is joined by the incredible guitars of Piotr Grudzinski, the keyboard finesse of Michal Lapaj, and the piledriver drums of Piotr Kozieradzki. When I first listened to this album I was not really worried about whether the band would sound like previous albums as I have found that their albums differ greatly from one another over the years, and they are still able to maintain interest simply due to the virtuoso musicianship and innovative compositions. So I ventured into this without any prior knowledge of what to expect, conceptually or otherwise, and had not looked at a single review, and forgot the clip available of 'Celebrity Touch'. This was a good move because the album absolutely transfixed me from beginning to end, without prior expectation. It is an incredible album, and one of the best so far in the early stages of 2013; one of the top ten masterpieces of 2013. I am delighted that this is the case as I have really grown to love this band over the years and they never disappoint which is a rare thing these days.

'New Generation Slave' (4:18) opens with distorted vocals and a powerful prog riff crashing through. It builds to a fast fractured rhythm reminding me of Soundgarden's 'Spoon Man', or indeed the riff on 'The Same River' from Riverside's 'Out of Myself' debut. The heaviness is densely layered with Lapaj's shimmering Hammond. There is a fiery guitar and bass tempo and it is all refined by the glaze of Duda's pristine vocals; a towering start to the album and an absolute sure fire killer intro to the band for those who had not heard previous songs. The lyrics focus on the hate of the new generation, the lost hopes and broken dreams that pervade this dark world; 'Into this world I came, Filled with fear, Crying all the time, I guess my birth, Left a great scar on my heart and mind, Now I hand-pick cotton, And struggle to sing "I am happy and I do what I like", But my voice breaks and I start to hate my singing and simply everyone.'

'The Depth Of Self ' Delusion' (7:40) has the acoustic vibrations of Grudzinski's guitar, and Duda's melancholy vocals are executed with passion. The lead break and driving tempo is built gradually over an uplifting melody. It is bookended with more finger picking acoustics capping off a beautiful song with a compelling structure. The lyrics by Duda are all about feeling like a wall is being built up, similar to Pink Floyd's hypothesis, and it really touches a chord with me; 'I could be foreign forevermore to your neverland, One little brick then another and I will build that wall anyway, You can find me there rested and calm without mask, This is where I will stay.'

'Celebrity Touch' (6:48) opens with killer driller riffs that have an intricate time sig. Duda's vocals are crystal clear and work well with the electrifying keyboard and guitar driven punctuation. It is a heavy song with some magnificent syncopated rhythms. There are some higher vocals in the background too that augment the tranquil atmospheres generated in the quieter verses. It has an infectious melody in the chorus and moves along at an energetic pace. This is a very nice composition with layers of musicianship of the highest quality. It really grew on me with that bassline and crunching guitar riff. I love Duda's lyrics on the dangers and hypocrisy of celebrity status, the lies and fabrication of maintaining a false fa'ade that will please the masses but in in the end is an empty existence; 'In the center of attention, TV, Glossy magazines, My private life is public, I sell everything, Days are getting shorter, They'll forget about me soon, So I jump on the bandwagon, With no taboos.' This sentiment could represent any celebrity who is trapped by public attention, something that is craved but when it is gained the celebrity abhors being the subject of hysteria as their life becomes a tomb, their home a prison, it is a sobering thought. It is little wonder celebrities become cynical and crazy, jumping on a bandwagon with no taboos, as sometimes they are given little choice as products of consumer hell.

'We Got Used To Us' (4:12) is a song that has a measured tempo and some effective lead guitar motifs over layered harmonised vocals. The timbre of Duda's voice is always a drawcard for me, he is able to create the most powerful sensuous moods as he pours out the reflective lyrics. Once again Grudzinski's lead guitar break is present but this one is more subtle with Lapaj's moody piano augmentations. This sombre song sent chills through me, it is simple compared to other tracks on the album but it has such a haunting melody and some very potent lyrics that strike to the heart; 'I know we got used to new life, And I don't want to be there, No, I don't want to be there, Where we are, Silence fallen between, All the doors are locked, All the words unsaid, And we're still afraid of time, Started to keep ourselves, At a distance that we could control, Not too close, Not too far.' The protagonist is trying to come to terms wth the loss of his loved one, perhaps a good break up song as it captures the turmoil of emotions felt, the emptiness that drives nails into the heart, love being replaced by bitterness and the cold feeling that it is over. It ends with the pleading phrase echoing, 'so walk away with me'.

'Feel Like Falling' (5:19) is a real surprise eclectic package beginning with 80s retro synths buzzing, reminding me of the rhythm of 'Candy Man' by Suzi Quatro, one of my favourites. It is enhanced by 1968 style Hammond pads from Lapaj. The rhythm is quirky and similar to the style of Muse and high register vocals again backing to add a further dimension of harmony. A heavy guitar riff comes in with a half time feel, and some glorious effervescent Hammond quavers. It closes with an instrumental break with Grudzinski's muscular guitars in an odd time sig and some wah-wah pedal lead embellishments. This is one of the highlight tracks undoubtedly. The time sig is complex at times and I wished it would have gone on longer as it is one of Riverside's best compositions. The lyrics focus on the protagonist bouncing back after the loss felt from the broken relationships, expressed in metaphors; 'Could have been a tree of dawn, Rooted deeply in the ground, Bearing fruits, Far away from falling into blank space.' The blank space is that nothing box that has been opened when one's world has turned to despair and life is like a blank slate with nothing written on it. It is like starting over from scratch now that his lover has moved on, and he tries to forget but the memories are still too raw. Thatis why he feels like falling over the precipice, to rid himself of the burning pain. But these emotions will soon subside as long as he hangs on to what he has.

'Deprived' (Irretrievably Lost Imagination) (8:27) follows with Riverside in a more contemplative mood with reverberating guitars, violin strings and an ethereal atmosphere. Kozieradzki's drums maintain a strong tempo and Duda's vocals are more estranged and laid back. This has a lovely saxophone sound, or clarinet jazz break out, and it cascades over the music with astonishing power. There are a number of tempo changes The lyrics are the dreams of the protagonist that have become fractured over time in a life that has become deprived of so many things; 'I live surrounded by cherished memories, I have a weakness for collecting them, Alphabetize, As far as I recall my childish rituals, Icons of that world always filled my shelves and heart.' I love the section where the sadness and loneliness is conveyed by poetic beauty; 'In a world of synonyms and handwritten notes, My own puppet performances, Endless bedtime stories, I could touch the moon and switch off the sun, I could have my dreams and dream about better times.' Perhaps this is the ray of hope now, the next phase of his life is beckoning and he is moving out of a depressed state to embracing what may come in the future.

'Escalator Shrine' (12:41) is the longest song so I was hoping for layers of intricate musicianship and the band to launch full tilt into the heavier prog rock I loved so much on 'Anno Domine High Definition' and some of the songs on earlier releases. It surpassed my expectations and is perhaps the definitive track to check out if you are still wondering what all the fuss is about. This song absolutely blew me away. It begins with subtle quiet vocals and soft Spanish guitars over an ominous drone. The guitar takes on a complex signature and keyboard chimes sounding like The Doors' 'Riders on the Storm'; was Ray Manzarek in the studio? I loved this soundscape generated and the unusual signature works so well with the very innovative lyrics about feeling isolated in a crowded city, moving aimlessly along with the human traffic, as people move to places of mass consumption and buy things they don't need, and the protagonist feels more empty as nothing is real or still, and he is bitter and more convinced that everyone around him is putting on a fa'ade to hide their true feelings, that they too are as lost as him but are too self obsessed with the trivialities of life to admit it; even wrapping themselves in the cocoon of syber technology, laptops, mobiles and ipods, as they converse with faceless entities to compensate for friends, and pretend thay are not alone, 'We are stairway drifters, Made of cyber paper, Google boys and wiki girls, Children of the self care, We come to pray every single training day, Looking for a chance to survive, Buying reduced price illusions, Floating into another light, Melting into another lonely crowd.' Then it builds with a grinding Hammond harking back to the 70s era, and a hammering tempo blasts in like a tempest. The Hammond is given a workout and is an absolutely stellar performance from Lapaj. Guitars jump in and out of the keyboard freakout, a tantalising skin crawler, one of the best keyboard passages on the album. The pace locks into a crawl with beautiful guitar reverbs and Duda's echoing vocals. The time sig changes into the slow measured cadence similar to Pink Floyd's spacey atmospheres. The lyrics breathe out vehemence against the throwaway society we have become, and exude that our years are wasted trying to chase unattainable dreams as we drift from day to day; 'Dragging our feet, Tired and deceived, Slowly moving on, Bracing shaky legs, Against all those wasted years, We roll the boulders of sins up a hill of new days.' This builds into some powerful riffs with Grudzinski's heavy guitar emblazoned with stirring dramatic keyboard creating a wall of sound. At the end of this I was convinced I had heard a masterpiece track of immeasurable quality; simply a stunning achievement from Riverside.

'Coda' (1:39) is the brief closing track, that glistens with sparkling acoustics and Duda's vocals with the same melody as the opening. He concludes with the sentiment that he has come to the point where he no longer wants to fall into blank space; a ray of hope at last; 'Want to be your light, Illuminate your smiles, Want to be your cure, Bridge between self and us, Want to be your prayer, Wipe the tears from your eyes, When the night returns I won't collapse, I am set to rise.' It feels like the end of Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' with the brief coda that wraps up the album.

SONGS is an amazing album full of dark and light shadows, and poetic beauty. It has some of their greatest songs, namely the chilling 'New Generation Slave', 'Feel Like Falling' and 'Escalator Shrine'. Those three songs alone are awesome, but the album also has the more subtle quiet moods that will appeal to the now generation. The one thing that really impressed me is that the album is progressicve in every sense of the word with intricate time sigs, shifting tempos, comtemplative lyrics, dynamic musicianship and innovative layers of sound. There are many bands coming out that sound like they belong on the radio and they are only interested in cash cow singles. Riverside stay true to the prog roots that progheads adore and they do it in style with inventive ideas and some of the most incredible melodies and riffs; though it is more symphonic than metal, with Deep Purple or Uriah Heep sounds, a bit like Opeth's 'Heritage'. The Hammond flourishes are amazing over the heavy guitar textures. The album also grows on the listener as I noticed on subsequent listens certain songs are drawn to the ear with their beautiful meloides, for instance on my third listen in a row 'The Depth of Self Delusion' soon became one of my favourite songs, it has a relaxing serene atmosphere and Duda's vocals are wonderful speaking to our spirit. 'We Got Used To Us' likewise strikes a real chord with me, the melancholy touch and overall melodies are absolutely mesmirising. There is not a bad song on the album, even after multiple listens nothing feels like filler. In fact each track is complimenting one another with a magical entrancing resonance, until we get to the magnificent finale; the crescendo of power captured in the tour de force 'Escalator Shrine' epic.

With so much quality displayed and with the layers and depth of musicianship executed here, I can only conclude by awarding this with the highest accolades. It is awe inspiring that Riverside maintains such a consistent high quality from album to album. 'Out of Myself', 'Second Life Syndrome', 'Rapid Eye Movement' and especially 'Anno Domini High Definition' are treasures of prog, and now 'Shrine of New Generation Slaves' is the pinnacle of their master class musicianship; a genuine musical epiphany. I hoped this would be an excellent album but I didn't expect it to have this much impact and resonate with me to such a degree. Strike this one down as another top notch brilliant masterpiece from one of the greatest prog modern artists on the planet.

Report this review (#911502)
Posted Friday, February 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars Starting off with such a high rating, I almost suspected this could be at least in part due to fans with rather uncritical ears. After listening to the whole album four times, I admit that I can see why this easily pleases to listeners. The musicianship is top notch but over long stretches I fail to see the progressive momentum in here. I played it once in the car, and my girlfriend who really does not like progrock at all immediately appreciated it and asked me to share the album with her. For me this is just a nice little piece of music, well rounded and smooth, but it lacks a bit originality. The best parts being the lyrics in my eyes. Other than that, there are not as many surprising moments as I have hoped to find. "The raven who refused to sing" from Steven Wilson that was released just around the same time IMO is far superior, especially in terms of "progginess" and originality.
Report this review (#911761)
Posted Saturday, February 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars After having listened to SONGS quite a few times, I am fully convinced that this is yet another masterpiece by Riverside. This time they did it in a totally different way than on ADHD. There is very little metal and the compositions are much less bombastic than on their previous effort. In fact, as the title of the album suggests, they may be treated as real songs. This was the objective as Mariusz Duda stresses himself. It is mainly due to the fact that in each compositions it is the melody that provides the backbone of the song. As a result, the compositions are truly memorable, providing the listener with an enjoyable experience each time the disc is run. Again that old saying that genius lies in simplicity turns out to be true.

The album is heavily influenced by both 1970s' hardrock and Pink Floydian moods. Of course, the inspiration may be oldschool, but still, everything is served with high quality production making the record powerful and contemporary. A few times Duda's vocals are distorted making him sound intriguing, like never before. Despite the fact that the compositions are truly songs, they are still multi-layer; each listening can offer us something new, details that we did not notice before.

The musicians themselves are not endeavouring to hide the fact that they were not fully satisfied with their previous albums. There was always something missing and all the time it was a search for their true musical identity. It appears they have found it at last on this record by creating a perfect mixture of hardrock and metal and a good deal of melancholy and beautiful nostalgia. Is Shrine of New Generation Slaves Riverside's best album? Impossible to answer taking into account that they recorded Second Life Syndrome and Anno Domini. Each different, each perfect in its own way, each appealing to different tastes.

Report this review (#914617)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I am thankful that Riverside decided to back off from the abrasively heavy direction that Anno Domini High Definition was taking them. I am not sure that I'm up for yet another modern group paying homage to the masters and masterpieces of the 1970s.

1. 'New Generation Slave' (4:17) takes too long to develop, Mariuz singing in English blues slang feels weird. At 2:05 shifts into second gear. Effects on Mariuz' voice is too much. Song too steeped in old field (Led Zep/Uriah Heep) (7/10)

2. 'The Depth of Self-Delusion' (7:40) why is Mariuz so obsessed with these odd voice treatments & modulations when he's got such a great natural voice?! This song does absolutely nothing new or exciting for the first three minutes. It's when the softened, glockenspiel and cello section arrives that it starts to get a little interesting. At 4:17 a cool section with strummed electric guitar takes over, but neither the vocal nor the lyric deliver the much-hoped-for knock out punch. The LUNATIC SOUL-like acoustic guitar to end is nice, just not sure this is Riverside. (8/10)

3. 'Celebrity Touch' (6:47) begins with a very Led Zepellin feel and sound (is that John Bonham on the drums?). When Mariuz' heavily treated/distorted voice enters I find my heart dropping. Disappointment. Cheezy 60s organ solo at 1:20. At 2:22 the song transitions into a very nice keyboard-driven section for about a minute. The A Section returns and tries to drive the song'even after one of Mariuz's great screams at 4:08'but doesn't quite take it (maybe we needed Bonham to step up a little more). A nice guitar solo at 4:40 fades into a softer version of the B Section. It turns a little too ALAN PARSONS PROJECT 'Eye in the Sky'-ish until the final 40 second's build to end. (8/10)

4. 'We Got Used to Us' (4:11) Okay. I'm ready to forget this is Riverside, to listen as if each song is a brand new band trying to present brand new music. What a great melodic song. A cross between LUNATIC SOUL and JOHN LENNON. The soloing guitar appearing almost blues-like in different sections of the song is welcome and warm. It works. This is a pretty, even beautiful song. I even keyed into the lyrics enough to know that there is a pretty cool message here. (9/10)

5. 'Feel Like Feeling' (5:18) Devo? What is that opening riff and rhythm about? I like the treated guitars'almost psychedelic. Though the vocal starts out like a standard M. Duda effort, there are a few changes in style and delivery that are surprisingly fresh. Still, this is not really a new or modern song'more of a throwback into the 80s. All out Led Zep for the final ninety seconds. (8/10)

6. 'Deprived (Irretrievably Lost Imagination)' (8:26) begins like something out of a soundtrack to a French film'or something from Lebowski's Cinematic. A really pretty song with one of Mariuz Duda's most sensitive vocals ever. Very dreamy. These guys are mellowing with age! No metal here! Love the gamelan-like synth arpeggio that joins at the three minute mark. Truly a stunning vocal performance! At 4:00 begins a section that is part Spaghetti Western, part KRAFTWERK electronics, which then evolves into a kind of brooding U2 meets emotional. The ensuing soprano sax solo is delightful surprise. Amazing! So odd, so fresh. It works! A masterpiece for the ages! (10/10)

7. 'Escalator Shrine' (12:41) starts out with a very intriguing bluesy-jazz feel to it'kind of JEFF BECK-ish and at the same time The song stays subdued until the 3:50 when it begins to build in a 70s kind of way with a 70s kind of guitar solo. At 4:35 there is a complete shift, as bass, pace and organ lead the way into a URIAH HEEP-like song in over drive. Keyboard solos over this very tightly performed section. At 6:24 there is another, albeit brief, shift into an ELP Tarkus-like section (even down to the effected vocal). The everything quiets down to a very PINK FLOYD 'Wish You Were Here/Eclipse' cover section. Nice, clever song of masterful performances but, in the end, Riverside are adding nothing new to prog world, they are, in fact, instead raising their arms in praise (and defeat?) to the masters that have come before them. (8/10)

8. 'Coda' (1:39) is the brief album closer'the acoustic guitar arpeggios from Suzanne Vega's 'Small Blue Thing' over which Mariuz Duda gives a very familiar Mariuz Duda vocal performance. (8/10)

Are all bands in the 2010s going to be trying to replicate, regurgitate or recreate the masters and masterpieces of the 70s? I worry. I love the music and sounds of the 70s. I relish and feel excited for the artists who are pushing the envelope and leading "progressive rock" in a forward, progressive direction. I hope today's new artists aren't giving up on the possibilities of "new" or "fresh" or "innovative." I believe that there are new sounds and new musics out there yet to be discovered, yet to be heard by even we old-timers.

Consequently, this is not an essential masterpiece of progressive rock music; it is an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection--very melodic and accessible, if familiar and seldom ground-breaking.

P.S. For those of you interested, the 'Deluxe Specal Collectors' Edition contains a second disc with two wonderful almost Electronic, almost dance songs: 'Night Session, Part One' (10:44) and 'Night Session, Part Two' (11:33).

Report this review (#915134)
Posted Sunday, February 17, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars 10/10

I know it's early to determine what the best album of 2013, but I also know that at the end of this year this album will be among the "top 10". Shrine of New Generation Slaves is the name of the newest offering of polish band Riverside. Four years after the masterpiece Anno Domini High Definition they release an album quite different in terms of ambition and composition, but as bright as a brilliant work that just shows that this band is one of the best in the field of modern progressive metal .

Limiting this album just the genre of progressive metal is a serious mistake. Where ADHD was heavy and futuristic Shrine is milder and classicist, although its theme is quite modern life and the complexities and hypocrisies of this. There are heavy songs, ma sound here is quite melodic, with clean vocals and a dynamic equilibrium between the members. Influences here are diverse: as there is always a lot of Pink Floyd and progressive rock, but a good dose of hard-rock seventies and pinches of electronic music are also present. Mariusz Duda continues to shine with her ​​beautiful voice and mature, and I like that he prefers clean vocals (except for short screams in Celebrity Touch); Piotr Grudzinski melodic solos gushes makes electric and acoustic guitar, while Piotr Kozieradzki does work as measured as fantastic on drums. But again the laurels go to keyboardist Michal Lapaj, which presents us with Hammond organ solos and synthesizers, keeping the futuristic trends of the previous album. It may not appear as in ADHD, but continues to be the highlight of the group and one of the best keyboard players of today.

It opens with New Generation Slave, blending vocals contained in Duda with a strong guitar riff combined with atmospheric keyboards before to debunk a song of pure progressive metal. Then comes The Perfect Depth of Self-Delusion, a beautiful song that reminds me of the progressive rock of the seventies. The acoustic guitar work is simply out of this world, and combined with the clean vocals of Duda makes me think of Opeth - at least I can notice some similarities. One of the highlights of this immaculate album.

Celebrity Touch is the heaviest track on the album, but it is not pure progressive metal: sounds more like a good old hard-rock (the body of work of course reminds me of the late master Jon Lord), coupled with a sound Porcupine Tree-esque. Highlight for Grudzinski's solo, very Gilmour-esque! I advise listening to it in its full version: a four-minute edited version barely caught my attention (thankfully not let myself be influenced by it). I also recommend the clip that perfectly conveys the message of the song. It is followed by We Got Used to Us, which functions as the ballad of the album. One more song driven by piano, she has a beautiful chorus of those you can not forget. In contrast the next track, Feel Like Falling, is heavier, but it opens with one of those keyboards oitentistas, and also features a sticky chorus well, and synthesized guitars through (or are synthesizers? Ah, whatever).

Most people are inclined to say that Escalator Shrine is the magnum opus of the album, and I agree with them ... but considering that this album also contains Deprived (irretrievably Lost Imagination), I tend to change my mind. This could be the best song I've ever heard from the band so far. The way it unfolds, starting with a structure typical verse-chorus-verse- chorus until the fourth minute it begins to fade in electronic effects that I love. And five minutes a new theme is introduced, and oh God! As it is beautiful! The sax solo then? This beauty in music is what makes me feel accomplished, translates into extra sensory experience for me. The song ends with the chorus repeated in deep stillness and beauty ...

It would not be an album of Riverside without an epic central and Escalator Shrine makes this role. The first four minutes are a slow, reflective blues-rock (the opening song reminds me of the opening theme of Second Life Syndrome), where there is also a beautiful Floydian solo Grudzinski, until the song starts to grow and a strong instrumental section is played, with reminiscences of Dream Theater. When the vocals come back, do it in deep splendor. A new section is introduced, with more subdued vocals and Lapaj again showing why he is the master of the Hammond today. The song ends in an absolutely epic end with vocals played in the background while the instruments perform a powerful theme - and I have the impression that a horn section is also played here. It ends with the background vocals, before moving to short Coda, which is basically a guitar and Duda in action - but without forgetting the magnitude and beauty of this magnificent work that is Shrines Slaves of New Generation.

Five stars complete. A masterpiece guaranteed with your name in the pantheon of metal and progressive rock.

Report this review (#917391)
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars RIVERSIDE. "Shrine of New Generation Slaves". Fifth album. Songs. Listen. Focus. Dive. Evaluate. Estimate. A combination of plain words with simple orders appear into my mind as I press play and the first notes of one of the most important releases of the new year arrive in my ears. 2013 couldn't begin any better as the fifth album of the giants of Progressive Metal from Poland RIVERSIDE is finally here. The record has eight songs and is conceptual. The cover has been taken care by the legendary Travis Smith.

"New Generation Slave", the opener of the record, comes in as very emotional and slightly distorted vocals create the first soundscapes accompanied by Hammond and occasional pounding of power chords. Very impressive beginning reminiscing of the "Silent Screams and Mighty Echoes" of the Prog legends ELOY. In the second half of the song the band kicks in and the song turns into the classic RIVERSIDE flavor and eventually fades the way it begun. "The Depths of Self Delusion" is the first long song spanning over eight minutes and it becomes obvious that the band is going into more atmospheric direction omitting heavier Metal influences. Lots of acoustic parts, synths and slightly if any distorted guitars but again an astonishing song. "Celebrity Touch"starts with a pompous riff that sticks in your head while guitar and Hammond are complementing and contrasting each other. Melancholy and emptiness is oozing from the ballad "We Got Used to Us" a ballad so beautiful and emotional yet bitter."Feel like Falling" brightens a bit the atmosphere with its "Funky" main riff. And things get darker again as "Deprived"starts, another ballad with elements that would remind of OPETH good old "Damnation" - with the addition of saxophone adding a very special tone to the end of the song. The "Escalator Shrine" is the longest song of the record, twelve minutes long with a bluesy touch and a great heavy ending with the final vocals sticking in my head for a long time now. The record ends with the short ballad "Coda" that concludes the music and the story of the record.

When I look back to the first record of the band "Out of Myself" I try to recall the qualities that made it so special to me. First the imposing atmosphere, second the amazing vocals and third those amazing bends in the guitar leads that spiced up each and every song. I don't take anything of their music for granted but these were the things that made me love that record so much; and I can say five records later that the first two qualities of the band are here untouched though the third one is not that apparent in this record since it favors atmosphere instead of endless progressive playing. But still the evolution of their sound is a welcome change which now tends to more rock - atmospheric patterns while maintaining the style of the band.

The band is using a minimal approach in the compositions of "Shrine of New Generation Slaves". And by saying minimal I mean that the complex compositions are not that much existent but instead an instrument or two plus the vocals are used. Also as I said before there are not any exaggerated Heavy Metal parts as the band is taking a Progressive Rock touch to their songs. There is a bit of mystery behind each song, a metaphysic level of approach in a dark and probably somewhere in the future occurring concept. The production of the record is in the high quality standards of RIVERSIDE, all the instruments are heard in the proper levels but what outshines everything are the amazing vocals. I do not know how good this record would be without the amazing performance of Mariusz Duda (and maybe his best) . I could rant for countless lines trying to justify how good is this record and why one must listen to it but that would make no importance if you do not listen to it by yourself, which I strongly suggest you to do, especially if you have never listened to them before. RIVERSIDE have delivered their fifth masterpiece of progressive music, a record that will be their new "Shrine of New Generation Slaves".


Report this review (#919698)
Posted Tuesday, February 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Riverside did it again. a masterful display of maturity from a band on top of it's game it's like Porcupine Tree meets Lunatic soul.

Why 5 stars : I can always tell when I am listening to an exceptional CD, I put it on and it floats so smoothly that don't realise when it ends and my only reaction is :" what it's over" and that exactly what Riverside did to me....again . Great job gentlemen great job you deserve every accolade you receive and the best is definetly to come

With this one ,steven Wilson new CD( I got the deluxe edition wow what a treat) looks like 2013 will be a vintage year

Report this review (#919962)
Posted Tuesday, February 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars 4 Years after their impressive "ADHD", Riverside returns with an album that tries to bridge the Prog Metal rocking energy of "ADHD" with the more melodic approach of their earlier albums. The result has been received with loud rounds of applause from most fans and I'm pretty sure this must be a safe purchase. Unfortunately for me this turned out quite a disappointment. This is a dull listen with plain and safe songwriting and that rarely goes beyond recycling old ideas.

Most of the songs are built around poppy ballad fluff, with some hard rock clichés, boring retro sound and unnecessary distorted vocal effects thrown in for good measure. There are few interesting solos or instrumental sections (at least not on the main CD) and bar a few unexciting 'rockers', all songmaterial is ballad based. RIVERSIDE do that with a certain flair but they've done this much better before. This album really leaves me hungry for something really exciting.

It takes till halfway into the 6th track until there's something that stands out from the wallpaper Prog that preceded. "Deprived" has a short prog-electronic inspired instrumental passage that shows the ease and confidence with which this band can produce some wonderful Prog. The instrumental themes of this song are further explored in the instrumental CD2 that comes with the special edition. Yes, when RIVERSIDE shake off their song conventions and go all-instrumental and trippy they show how good they still can be. Also "Escalator Shrine" is not without merits but still below the longer tracks from previous albums.

RIVERSIDE's career has never been marked by great originality or daring explorations but they always had an excellent ear for a good tune and they executed that with heart and soul. Now in this album I can't hear that. The wide gap of quality (and style) between the actual CD and the extra disk only confirms my misgivings, this band has much better in store but they've settled for the path of least resistance Conclusion: Uninspired band retreats into comfort zone. 2.5 stars, maybe 3 with the extra disk.

Report this review (#920271)
Posted Wednesday, February 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Every time Riverside realeses something new I always have big expectations and this one is another great album that satisfies them! This very different related to the previous one in the way that it is very more melodic and has less heavey riffs than Anno Domini High Definition. But on the other side they have introduced something new than the previous albums. The keyboards are simply fantastic, the singer has made a step further, but the only thing that I miss are those fantastic and unique guitar solos by Piotr Grudziński that can be found especially in Out of Myself and Second Life Syndrome. But these missing solos are substituted by other new riffs using other instruments. But my overall judgement is another masterpiece, no doubt about that, these guys represent the best of new modern metal progressive music...5 stars without a doubt!!
Report this review (#928197)
Posted Monday, March 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars I honestly find so many of Riverside's releases to be kind of overrated, with only their debut really holding my attention. Shrine of New Generation Slaves has not prompted me to change my mind. This time around I can tell that the band are trying to work a few more Pink Floyd influences into their sound - I can tell because they keep using that "telephone" filter effect on the vocals which bands trying to mimic Pink Floyd can't seem to leave alone - but classic-era Floyd would be embarrassed to put out an album quite as riddled with cliches as this one. Strip away the Floydian affectations and many of the songs boil down to fairly typical hard rock ballads - ballads with hilariously sophomoric lyrics. Call me the buzzkilling king of all spoilsports, but I just don't get the appeal.
Report this review (#930347)
Posted Friday, March 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Riverside, or as I like to call them...the fine line between Opeth and Porcupine Tree.

Ok...I have claimed to have call the band that in the past, and to be honest, was the reason I got into the band...but...can we really pigeon hole the band with a tag like that. Well...yes and no.

With the bands first 3 albums, they did have a a very Porcupine Tree/Opeth feel to them, with a heavy prog sound accompanied by an almost Gothic tone. But, their last 3 albums, including this album, seem to adopted a more prog rock tone, and the metal/heavy elements have been toned down to suit the bands more experimental needs. So in my verdict, with every experiment these guys partake...the better a band they become. And this album proves it.

Musically, these guys have seem to have crafted an album I always wanted them to craft. A prog rock album, with actual songs, experimental sections, a heavy sound and also...they seem to be having a lot of fun as well, which really helps, because if the band are having a good time making this music, then the audience will enjoy the album a lot more.

The album, being a concept album, deals with a lot of interesting topics, such as modern society, pop culture and one of the biggest themes...the idea of who we are and everyone's feeling of loss in today's world. Now, being a Polish band, sometimes their lyrics aren't the best grammatically speaking, but I always enjoy when a foreign band writes in a different language to their own, mainly because a foreigner can always use language in a different way to us English speakers.

Musically these guys have never been better. Some of the instrumental sections are incredibly impressive, and now and then you can hear traces of influence, but they are enable to incorporate a lot more personality, which leaves the listener always on his toes. The only problem I've had with this band is Mariusz's vocals. I'm not saying their bad...but they aren't the best. But, on this album,it seems that Mariusz sees his flaws, and instead of making them better, he works more on what he can do, then what he cant.

1. New Generation Slave - An odd and rather exciting way to open the album off. One of the bands most grooviest songs, with some pretty kick ass riffs throughout. 9/10

2. The Depth Of Self-Delusion - An interesting almost ballad like song. Has some interesting lyrics now and then and has some nice moments throughout, but I do feel that this song could have been cut down a little length wise. 8/10

3. Celebrity Touch - The single from the album (check out the music video by the way, it's good). One of the albums obvious catchy and most memorable moments. A brilliantly arranged songs, with some interesting progressions throughout. 10/10

4. We Got Used To Us ? A beautiful ballad on the album, with some beautiful piano arrangements. One of my favorite songs by far from this band. 10/10

5. Feel Like Falling - One of the album's most catchiest songs. A great chorus and some nice groovy moments. 9/10

6. Deprived (Irretrievably Lost Imagination) - Probably my favorite song on the album. A very 'Radiohead Ok Computer' meets Dark Side Of The Moon style of a song, with some nice melancholic moments. The saxophone in this song is brilliant, and Mariusz's vocals in this song even surprise me a little at times. 10/10

7. Escalator Shrine - It wouldn't be a Riverside album without an "epic". Now this does usually follow the usual Riverside epic structure, being in 2 parts and all that, but...this is probably my favourite epic from these guys. Part 1 shows some nice almost pop like moments, while part 2 is more of a prog/ theatrical style. The epic prog bit is seen in part 3, and boy is it epic. Also, this song ends on one of these guys' most kick ass riffs, and overall, shows how amazing instrumentally this band can be. 10/10

8. Coda - The return of the "Feel Like Falling" motif. Brilliant ending to the album. 10/10

CONCLUSION: Usually Riverside don't impress me too much and I usually end up pushing them to one side. Because of this album, I now take back all negativity I had towards them. This album surprised and really impressed me. This by far is their greatest achievement to date, and I await another masterpiece from these guys soon.


Report this review (#936476)
Posted Thursday, March 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
5 stars Riverside is a band that always have two reactions from the audience, love or hate. Just a few people stay in the middle of the road. I'm a Riverside fan. They're one of the few bands that I actually have all of the albums including two special editions.

It's been 4 years since Anno Domini High Definition (2009), their last studio album, was released and Shrine Of New Generation Slaves (2013) is the name of the new album.

With the same line up as always: Mariusz Duda (vocals, bass, acoustic guitars and ukulele), Piotr Grudziński (guitars), Piotr Kozieradzki (drums) and Michał Łapaj (keyboards). The album was recorded, mixed and mastered at Serakos Studio in Poland between March and October 2012 and was produced by the band together with Magda and Robert Srzedniccy. The band often refers to the album as SONGS (the short version of the album's name). If it was intentional or not I cannot say. What I can say is that SONGS turned out to be the best album by the Riverside so far.

In the beginning of the composition process they said that this album would be different from the previous one, and that's true. Shrine Of New Generation Slaves (2013) is different but with all the band's elements included.

The opening track 'New Generation Slave' has a Hard Rock feeling mixed with a Blues sentiment to it. You can also feel that the band went back to the 70's sound in terms of guitar distortions. It's heavy, but not in the Metal way. In fact, the overall sound on SONGS is just perfect. Basses, guitars, drums and keyboards with the best tones possible, everything ending in the great songs.

'The Depth Of Self-Delusion' begins and I realize once again how good Mariusz Duda voice is. Clean and full of emotion. The first single 'Celebrity Touch' is a heavy brick on the window! Fast and heavy riff with Hammond Organ, the cherry on the cake. And then the trip continues through the beautiful piano and melody of 'We Got Used To Us', the 'modern-retro' beat of 'Feel Like Falling', and the space feeling in 'Deprived'. The longest song on the album is 'Escalator Shrine', and you gotta love the bass lines of Mariusz, always clever and out of the common place that the bass found itself in the last years of Prog Rock. This track is also the most Pink Floydish in SONGS, mainly because of the good Michał's keyboards.

To finish the album there is a short 'Coda'. Just acoustic guitars, vocals and keyboards with the melody of the first track. Perfect ending to the possible best album of 2013.

Report this review (#938078)
Posted Monday, April 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I must say, this album is one that has pleasantly surprised and challenged me in a way I was not expecting. I truly did not know what to think of it the first time I heard it. I knew it was progressive, I knew it was Riverside, I knew there was talent in the playing and writing, but it was very different from what I was expecting. There were passages that were very subdued, pensive, and ultimately accessible. This accessibility even translated into the more hit- oriented songs, such as Celebrity Touch and Feel Like Falling. These were tracks that I knew were not nearly as complex as those I usually gravitate towards, but in the context of the whole album, they don't seem as susceptible to losing their power after a few listens as one might expect. Basically, this album was a chance to help me pull down the walls of pretension and enjoy the whole and its parts for the merits they hold in their message, their directness, and how friendly and accessible they are, unlike so much of the progressive genre, especially among the more metal-oriented groups.

To be more direct, the saving grace to this album is its unified theme as conveyed through each track: striving to live a meaningful, fulfilling life in spite of a multitude of obstacles we face as members of modern society. Musically, the more direct, streamlined song structures actually compliment this concept in a way more over-the-top or free-form arrangements would not. With that being said, there is still plenty of complexity within several tracks to keep even the most discerning listener intrigued. The soar-away peak of the album, "Escalator Shrine", falls into this category, with its alternating 10/8 and 9/8 blues- inspired riff as Mariusz Duda communicates a truly powerful message of a stagnant, empty generation. We are treated to a wonderful, explosive demonstration of the instrumental talents of each members in the following sections, culminating in a biting breakdown following the final brooding statement of words, and the song fades in a chant-like outro following the alternating 6 and 5 beat pattern established by the instruments.

In contrast to the power demonstrated by this track and the more hit-oriented songs referenced earlier, Riverside presents us with a few ballads that in my mind sit amongst the most superior of softer selections. This band really is at their best when they're writing ballads. The softer, sweeter song "The Depth of Self-Delusion" is very soulful, laying groundwork for the atmospheric message unifying the entire album. "We Got Used to Us" is a sorrowful reflection on a stagnant relationship than encapsulates the experience wonderfully, at least from the perspective of a listener who can relate to the message. The absolute best ballad in my mind, though, is the ever-evolving "Deprived". Instrumentally, this is the most intriguing ballad on the disc, and for me, of the band's entire catalog I have heard up to this point. The varied keyboard textures, Duda's masterful singing and bass playing, and the unexpected addition of soprano sax was a breath of fresh air to me. Hearing that reminded me that prog truly does still have many new frontiers to cover. This song and "Escalator Shrine" alone are enough to revitalize the genre in my book, and the rest of the album is so rewarding too that I can't help but give it truly sincere and emphatic praise.

This album is truly unlike any album the band has released to date. It strips away the atmosphere generated by the Reality Dream trilogy and reigns in the metal aspects explored on the previous album. I do not think this album is a prog metal album, nor should any listener treat it as one. This album is more eclectic-meets-crossover prog, as it draws on so many other genres and embraces more traditional song forms for certain tracks. The lead guitar does not have the same degree of prominence as it had on, say, Second Life Syndrome, but the playing is not inferior. The focus has merely shifted to accommodate a more vocal- and keyboard-oriented album, which to me indicates just how full Riverside's bag of tricks really is. In short, if you go in to this ready to hear an album that marries old and new rock traditions, both progressive and as a whole, while still preserving the edge and false modesty of this group's talents both individually and collectively, you will not be disappointed. There's something for everyone here, and I for one am inspired by the powerful message, compositional prowess, and top-notch playing by each member more and more with each listen. 5 stars given proudly and without hesitation.

Report this review (#938601)
Posted Tuesday, April 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars What do you look for in your progressive rock? Is it the constant shifting of tempo? Or perhaps you prefer exuberant keyboards or an endless series of solos? Or then again, are you simply looking for sophisticated rock, driven by emotion and a desire to touch others? If you answered that last statement in the positive, then it is likely that you may already be a fan of the Polish progressive rockers of Riverside. If not, then I hope this review will entice you to check them out.

To me, Riverside always had one essential element that makes them, well, Riverside: the voice of vocalist Mariusz Duda. This man has a voice unlike any other that I know. He has a deeply emotive, highly melodic croon which when coupled with the band's equally emotional musical output, creates a whole which makes this band one of my favorite progressive bands out there and a band that I find has some of the most touching concepts and overall vibe. Be it the introspective Out of Myself, the disturbingly familiar concept of Second Life Syndrome ? which by the way, boasts one of my coveted perfect scores ? or the unsettling parasomnia of Rapid Eye Movement, Riverside always delivered some incredibly solid experiences.

However, 2009 brought Anno Domini High Definition (or ADHD, see what they did there?). After Rapid Eye Movement, which was slightly lackluster to many, I think the band thought that it was that they needed to move away from their sound and try something different. So Anno Domini brought a heavier, more "metalized" sound which to me kind of broke the Riverside "vibe". It has its moments ("Egoist Hedonist" is a great song) but didn't appeal to the Riverside fan in me much. It's a great progressive rock/metal album if it came from any other band but it's a bad album for Riverside standards. I really wondered if this was the band running out of ideas or just moving towards a sound which I didn't feel especially keen on. Riverside trying to be heavy doesn't work for me at all.

Enter 2013. It's been four years since the last album and Riverside drops their new opus: Shrine of New Generation Slaves. To say I had mixed feelings about this album is an understatement. As previously said, I was incredibly disappointed by Anno Domini taking a more metal approach. It just seemed to destroy some of the emotion which makes Riverside, well you know, Riverside. Although admittedly, it's always been Mariusz Duda's ridiculously perfect and emotive voice which makes them such a wonderful band to me. I've been putting back listening to this in fear of being disappointed and now that I've already listened to it over 10 times, I can put my worries at rest: Riverside is back in force!

Now, let's get into the meat of the album. I find myself really liking the opener, "New Generation Slave". It serves its purpose as an "intro" quite well and is quite surprisingly heavy at times but thankfully, it doesn't compromise on the melodic side of things with Mariusz's vocals shining as always, even with the slight grit effect in the sound. But then, "The Depth of Self-Delusion" hit me with full force and I had my first "oh my god!" moment in years with the band. What a stupidly beautiful song! As a bonus, it is nicely devoid of this needless metal which Riverside should never rely on again. The band's trademark emotion pierces through that song with conviction, with some sweet keyboards and some terrific guitar playing. That song makes me want to melt.

And you know what is awesome about all that? It's the only the second song and the rest of the album is just as killer! With such strong songs as the beautiful "We Got Used to Us" (which to me almost comes to rival with "Conceiving You" from Second Life Syndrome), the touching and emotional "Feels Like Falling" and the progressive drive of the 12-minute epic "Escalator Shrine", the album is just incredibly strong from start to finish.

I'm infinitely thankful that Riverside didn't feel the need to shift towards a more metal-driven sound. I felt so much resentment towards the last album. And now that I look back, if the heaviness of Anno Domini was part of its concept, I think now that Shrine of New Generation Slaves is here and is so wonderful, I might actually be able to appreciate Anno Domini a bit more once I go back to it.

So even after all that gushing, the album isn't perfect. I already knew "Celebrity Touch" and to be honest, even though it's not bad by any means, it's my least favorite on here and probably the reason I can't give Shrine of New Generation Slaves a perfect note. The lyrics are spot-on, though. I also feel that ? while I do like it ? "Escalator Shrine" drags a little bit and may be a few minutes too long.

The whole concept of the album seems really cool and much better than the denunciation of society's current state from punk bands and their "social awareness", which often is nothing more than complaining about the system without proposing any kind of solution. On this album, Riverside proposes a much more metaphorical and introspective look at our lives and the unstoppable spiral of madness that is the pace we live our lives at. In Mariusz's own words: "It's based on the fact that we all hear almost every day from friends and close people how unhappy they are, how they hate their jobs, how they don't have a time for this or that, how time flies and how they actually feel like slaves in their lives. I thought it was a good option to write about that kind of unhappiness and this "new generation slavery", where people seem to be unable to take control over their own lives".

At this point, any complaints are really just minor nitpicking and other than that, it's just another masterful work from Riverside, which to me truly is one of the best progressive rock acts out there right now. But other than that, Shrine of New Generation Slaves is just a wonderful ride from one end to the other and it will likely get the most spinning time out of all progressive rock/metal albums in 2013.

Report this review (#964675)
Posted Friday, May 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#976432)
Posted Wednesday, June 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4/5 main release 4.5/5 with bonus disc

SoNGS is the album I thought would have no competition for 2013, and for most of the year truly nothing else came close (something did sneak up on it towards the end, which surprised the hell out of me). Now, Riverside is my most favourite band in the world, and as much as folks might suspect (and I confess I have done very little to dissuade anyone from thinking so), it really isn't--well, mostly isn't--driven by uncritical fangirl love (no, really!). There are songs on here I can listen to until the end of time. I haven't come to a final decision, but this might be my favourite Riverside album (ADHD held that spot before): the best tracks on this album are among the best that the band has ever created, and given how absurdly consistent these guys are, that is saying something. This album is hugely mature and accomplished, a real master-class in modern prog songwriting. The performances are unparalleled across the board: rock-steady and subtle drumming by Piotr Kozieradski, Michał Łapaj's rich and virtuosic keyboards, Piotr Grudziński's wonderfully atmospheric winding guitar themes, and of course Mariusz Duda's silky distinctive vocals and intricate bass playing, which for Riverside generally and on SoNGS maybe more than any of their other albums, is a lead instrument.

Alas, SoNGS is not a consistent album. The quality of the best tracks is so high that the two weaker tracks, "Celebrity Touch" and "Feel Like Falling", stand out more than they otherwise would. They come off as curiously pedestrian--surprisingly so in truth; and even though they both sport powerful riffs and choruses, that is not enough to rescue the tracks from near-mediocrity. Add to this some rather, um, unexpected difficulties with lyrics in "New Generation Slave" (unexpected because for the most part Mariusz Duda is a fine lyricist and he has written some excellent words elsewhere on this album)...and this has led to a diminished the rating for the main release.

But the album doesn't end after the main 8 tracks. The real revelation here is the two bonus tracks, the instrumental "Night Sessions", apparently recorded quickly on studio time originally booked for Lunatic Soul. The band can pull off both instrumentals and vocal-based songs with equal ease, but these are remarkable tracks, electronica verging on ambient, sounding almost nothing like any of the band's previous instrumental tracks, but managing nevertheless to preserve the Riverside gestalt. NS1 is a tribute to Tangerine Dream seasoned with some Lunatic Soul, reworking the bridge from "Deprived..." into something that sounds for all the world like a down-tempo version of "Phaedra". NS2 starts out even more abstractly, meandering saxophone meets Bass Communion, eventually becoming reminiscent of the Riverside of REM II. These two tracks make for compelling listening; one can only hope that this is not the last we hear of this particular direction.

SoNGS may well be Riverside's breakthrough album. If not, it will surely pave the way. In my review for the Memories in My Head EP I noted that Riverside were the most consistently good band I had ever encountered, and I am happy to report that this really has not changed. Even the less successful tracks are weak mostly relative to the strength of the rest. SoNGS is intense, ambitious, full of vision and promise, with taut songwriting and performances from all involved. Hugely melodic and stunningly beautiful in parts, it may well include the best songs that the band has ever produced.

Report this review (#1003284)
Posted Monday, July 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars Deprived

I was listening to the last 5 mins of track 6, and I absolutely LOVED it. Gorgeous, gorgeous musical magic!

So what happened to the rest of the album?

Despite the fact that I am a lover of this band (and therefore I am BIASED), I conclude that this is a very very lack lustre effort.

Perhaps the boys find themselves in a season of life lacking creative inspiration. That is fine, but please take a break from writing, don't release junk for the sake of outputting a disc. It is such a shame to tarnish a great name!

I find it very hard to give a sober review, with all the embarrassing metal cheese being thrown around gratuitously. I actually cringed in public whilst listening to much of this album.

When I listen to the instrumental section of "Egoist Hedonist", I PEAK, aurally. Do you remember that beautiful haunting track "Before"? The passion and angst in the thumping "02 Panic room"? That everlasting gem of a track "The same river"?

The magic here was virtually non-existant.

"Depth of self delusion" is pleasant enough.

If you are a Riverside fan, pick up a Live DVD or Duda's side project "Lunatic Soul"


Report this review (#1023593)
Posted Monday, August 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars I was completely horrified upon hearing the new Riverside single Celebrity Touch and its companion video did little to help me appreciate the song. Still, I had my hopes up for the release of the band's fifth full length album and a follow-up to their highly successful record Anno Domini High Definition!

I recall being somewhat disappointed when Riverside decided to stray from their winning formula by releasing their 2011 EP Memories In My Head. There was a clear change in the band's sound that was leaning heavily on the familiar sounds from their past but ultimately lacked the punch, which made the EP an unmemorable affair for me. Things only got worse when I heard the proposed new single Celebrity Touch which was easily the worst thing that I've heard from Riverside so far. Still, I had to hear the rest of the album before dismissing it all together and so I made the decision of purchasing the record upon its release.

My first spin of Shrine Of New Generation Slaves was a mixed bag. I did enjoy some of the material but the overall feeling was that the band have shifted away from their sound on Anno Domini High Definition. The tone was much softer and most of the compositions drifted even further away from their progressive metal sound of the past. This by no means implies that Riverside have made any major changes to their sound, the album is still filled with familiar Space Rock inspired guitar passages and Mariusz Dudas melancholic vocal delivery, so fans of the band should not fear.

I was initially planning to give this record an average rating but the album finally began to fall into place after I saw Riverside performing it live. I was especially impressed by the live renditions of Escalator Shrine and Feel Like Falling which manage to overshadow their studio versions. I might still be slightly unsure about my feelings towards this record but I definitely have began to appreciate it more over time and am willing to give it the excellent rating that it would have never been able to receive have I written this review earlier.

***** star songs: The Depth Of Self-Delusion (7:39) We Got Used To Us (4:12)

**** star songs: New Generation Slave (4:17) Feel Like Falling (5:19) Deprived (Irretrievably Lost Imagination) (8:26) Escalator Shrine (12:41) Coda (1:39)

*** star songs: Celebrity Touch (6:48)

Report this review (#1042318)
Posted Sunday, September 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Shrine of New Generation Slaves is the fifth studio record by the Polish band Riverside and it was released this year 2013, but in the very beginning. I don't think it sounds like metal. That should be good because I don't like metal very much, but I don't like this very much either. The music lasts little more than 50 minutes and that was a nice lenght and the record features Mariusz Duda on vocals and bass, Piotr Grudzinski on guitars, Michal Lapaj on keyboards and Piotr Kozieradzki. I looke forward to hear this band which has been object for many reviews and they are said to be a strong progressive impulse nowadays. Earlier I have had great experiences with Polish music such as SBB but this was in no comparisons the same.

Riverside plays some form of melancholic stage rock with on the other hand sounds very emotional and honest but in the other hand not original och especially progressive. I can still point out the good things. Riverside plays well, they handle their instruments intelligent and the vocalist has a nice tune and accent. I would have been so happy if they had sung in Polish but it's not Christmas yet. Some tracks are worth discussing. The absolutely best one is the second: "The Depth of Self-Delusion" which I like very much. It has an attractive melody and depth in lyrics and sounds. I also find "New Generation Slave", "Feel like falling" and "Escalator Shrine" enjoyable.

As I can see the qualities I will give this record three (week) stars but I am mostly disappointed. I don't find this record interesting at all. The worst track is "We got used to us" and over all I am not pleased with these listenings. I wanted something Riverside couldn't give me. Perhaps this music has run to far from the old prog band's glorious sound. No that's of course wrong. A progressive artist can never do the same but I think this is boring, I can't help it. My voting will be three stars because it's little better than records I have given two.

Report this review (#1044824)
Posted Thursday, September 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#1047471)
Posted Sunday, September 29, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It grew on me ...

The first spin of this album did not really hook me to the music as I expect something similar - in terms of energy and dynamis - wih previous AnnoDomini. But as I repeated the spin over and over finally I reach to the point that this one is really enjoyable and excellent album in all dimensions: music harmonies, complexity, melody, change of tempo as well as structural integrity. Well I would say that the composition is not that complex but it's not simple as well. As for the opening track "New Generation Slave" (4:17) I was almost bored with relatively long opening part. But as more spins I experienced I then could understand why it took that long and it's quite clear to me that it helped set the tone of the music. One thing I love it is that the riffs are really great and become the main characteristic of this opening track.

"The Depth Of Self-Delusion" (7:39) is basically much slower to tempo than the opening track it reminds me to Pink Floyd nuances as the music moves from one segment to another. It's like a refreshing time after quite dynamics first track. "Celebrity Touch" (6:48) moves the music in different way with powerful riffs at opening followed by rocking vocal line. As the music flows I always enjoy the intertwining nature of riffs, organ work accentuated with raw vocal and drumming. "We Got Used To Us" (4:12) brings back the music to a refreshing nuance with slower tempo using piano and nice vocal work. The guitar solo is nice. In some musical breaks I can see some Floydian style and sounds. "Feel Like Falling" (5:19) starts again with heavy riffs followed with long distance singing vocal style. "Deprived (Irretrievably Lost Imagination)" (8:26) is another psychedelic kind of music. "Escalator Shrine" (12:41) is the longest in terms of duration compared to other. It flows in medium tempo at beginning with some sort of psychedelic nature. It flows then to dynamic and faster tempo with organ solo. It's a nice track, really.

Overall this is a beautifully crafted album combining the psychedelic , spacey as well as ambient style. It flows really nice from one track to another. Four stars. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#1064422)
Posted Tuesday, October 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars The evolution of the Riverside sound has been astonishing. With this latest release, the band has returned to the more Pink Floyd dominated atmosphere so prevalent on their first few albums, but retains much of the heaviness that made their previous album so exciting. This time around, their sound seems to have an edge of classic rock, with riffs and organ work reminiscent of Deep Purple. In addition, there are some melodic leanings not seen as much on their earlier works. Nonetheless, this is the same Riverside that graced their past albums, and much of it shouldn't be a surprise.

Most of the songs are great in their own right, and encompass a sort of variety that rivals even some of their earlier albums. Parts of a few songs, 'Celebrity Touch' in particular, have a touch of classic rock, with crushing riffs and great organ support. This is balanced with the melodic touch of songs like 'The Depth of Self-Delusion' and 'We Got Used to Us.' However, I believe the band is at their best when they combine complex, heavy riffs with the Pink Floyd-esqe atmosphere they are so well known for. 'Feel Like Falling' and 'Escalator Shrine' are some of their best in this regard. The former is a deep excursion into the atmospheric side of the band, with a softer, more rhythmic approach, while the latter is right up there with some of their better 10+ minute songs and represents top notch songwriting from the band.

I believe this album cements Riverside a spot as one of the most significant progressive rock/metal bands of the modern era. The consistency of their releases, including this one, is truly remarkable. At this point in the band's continuously growing career, I would say Shine of Generations is an average album, but an average Riverside album is some of the best music you could ask for.


Report this review (#1109232)
Posted Tuesday, January 7, 2014 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
2 stars The controversy around this album was one of the reasons that drew me in. Not having studied their last couple of releases (but hearing snippets that confirmed they were still the same band) their single 'Celebrity Touch' came to introduce a new element to SONGS, which did not sound to glue too well with their trademark sound.

In SONGS, Riverside try to mix this retro-bluesy-stoner sound with what they know to do well: creating beautiful melodies, experimenting "reservedly". Granted, creating the same album every 2-3 years is not ideal, but when the new ingredients are not compatible with one another the cake will fail. And I assume this is what happened here, in an album with no real excellent songs from start to finish, just indications of a band that can create great music. The exceptional moments are few and hard to find in compositions that either recycle previous ideas or extend in length without specific direction.

The mellower moments are again the ones to watch out for ('The Depth of Self-Delusion', 'We Got Used to Us', 'Deprived') but even then the melodies are not consistently great and the forced introduction of distorted vocal effects spoils the ambiance. The retro-stoner (call me Spiritual Beggar) riff of the opening track gets recycled, albeit slightly twisted, in the remainder of the album and 'Celebrity Touch', possibly their weakest effort in songwriting.

Fans might enjoy it, but I did not find enough to keep me spinning this, so without exceptional songs this cannot get higher than 2.5 stars. I'd suggest waiting for the next album, this is a bit "confusing" and "awkward".

Report this review (#1114435)
Posted Tuesday, January 14, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Shrine of New Generation Slaves" is the 5th full-length studio album by Polish progressive rock/ metal act Riverside. The album was released through InsideOut Music in January 2013. It's the follow up to "Anno Domini High Definition" from 2009. Although Riverside have released a couple of minor releases in their intermediate years, it's the longest time between album releases yet in the band's discography.

To my ears the long break has done the band good. Maybe they've had some time to reflect on the direction of their music because "Shrine of New Generation Slaves" is a more mellow and subtle release than "Anno Domini High Definition (2009)" was. It's also a more tasteful release and the full blown progressive metal sections on "Anno Domini High Definition (2009)" are not present on "Shrine of New Generation Slaves". Riverside are still capable of playing more metal oriented sections, but they are typically delivered in a 70s influenced hard rocking style that reminds me of Deep Purple or Rainbow, rather than the more contemporary progressive metal sound on the predecessor. I think it's an important step back to what Riverside really excel in. Paired with their neo progressive Marillion influence and the alternative/progressive rock influence from a band like Porcupine Tree, "Shrine of New Generation Slaves" works really well to my ears. I don't necessarily think, they are the most original sounding band, but they are really successful in making all their influences work together and thereby creating an impactful sound.

One of their greatest strengths is the emotional delivery and strong voice of lead vocalist/bassist Mariusz Duda, but the band are generally very well playing. Add to that a detailed and organic sound production and "Shrine of New Generation Slaves" really comes off as a high quality release. I'd call the whole album one big highlight, but hard pressed I'd chose tracks like "We got used to Us" and the 12:41 minutes long epic track "Escalator Shrine" as some of the standout tracks on the album. I know other people are far more impressed by "Anno Domini High Definition (2009)" than I am, but to my ears "Shrine of New Generation Slaves" is a welcome back to form and all in all a very enjoyable listen. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#1141795)
Posted Wednesday, March 5, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars For a band that became labelled progressive metal, Riverside have progressed a lot in a direction away from that subgenre. This album still features the heavier guitar sounds of a metal band but less than on "Second Life Syndrome", the first album of theirs that I purchased. For "Shrine of New Generation Slaves", Riverside has made plenty of room for subtlety, melody, mood, and very effective use of all instruments present, including wonderful vocals that move from whispers to barks and shouts but mostly roam the realms of emotive clean singing.

The album jewel must be "Escalator Shrine" for all its variety in groove, from melodic and slow to loud and fast and several paces in between. But there are other highlights like "We Got Used to Us" with its piano, bass, drums, and sensitive vocals or "Deprived (Irretrievably Lost Imagination)" which also makes good use of non-bombast and good clear instrumentation and great atmosphere. And "Feel Like Falling", though short, nicely includes pop synthesizer in some parts and heavy guitars in others.

Because so much of the album is not heavy, the heavy parts are treats to hear, but as well the less sonically aggressive parts capture the sounds and notes of the instruments so well that its a great joy to play the album from beginning to end. Still, I can't help but pull off individual tracks for playlists, and that makes this album for me a great one.

This is one of my picks for a post 2010 "gateway to prog" album. To understand "gateways to prog" check out Stephen Lambe's book "Citizens of Hope and Glory: the Story of Progressive Rock". Riverside receives only a brief mention; however, this album would look good in any future edition of the book. Four and a half stars!

Report this review (#1289207)
Posted Wednesday, October 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. RIVERSIDE in my opinion are at their best when they play in that atmospheric style with the addition of Duda's warm vocals. Well, we get that style in spades here on "Shrine Of New Generation Slaves". I would go as far as to say this is their most beautiful album, and if it wasn't for the first track i'd be giving this 5 stars.

Not that "New Generation Slave" is a bad tune, in fact I do like it somewhat but right from the first spin of this album i've felt it always gets this recording off on the wrong foot. Lots of tension with vocals early on until it's released after 2 minutes. This is good. "No I don't have a stomach ache, it's just my face." An instrumental workout follows with lots of organ late. "The Depth Of Self-Delusion" is more like the RIVERSIDE I love. A beautiful instrumental section though brief begins after 3 minutes as the vocals return quickly with strings. Another great instrumental passage before 4 1/2 minutes and I love the mellow ending. Excellent track! "Celebrity Touch" hits the ground running and the vocals are passionate here as well as we get some good organ runs. It turns atmospheric before 2 1/2 minutes with warm vocals. Love it! It then kicks back in but contrasts will continue. A nice guitar solo after 4 1/2 minutes with chunky bass lines. Such beauty in this one at times like old school PORCUPINE TREE. "We Got Used To Us" is a top three with those multi-vocals to start that are replaced by Duda alone. How emotional is this song? Thankyou God! "We never talk when we fall apart". Man this is too close to home lyrically. A gorgeous track and so emotional.

"Feel Like Falling" is an interesting song with Duda's at times higher pitched vocals along with some vocal harmonies. Another feel-good tune for me. "Deprived(Irretrievably Lost Imagination)" is another top three tune. A warm atmosphere with intricate sounds as Duda's warm and reserved vocals join in. So beautiful, especially just before 2 minutes. A very cool atmospheric section 4 1/2 minutes in that builds somewhat slowly to a full sound. Nice. "Escalator Shrine" is an over 12 1/2 minute ride. Starting out slowly we get almost spoken vocals before 2 minutes. Both vocals and instruments turn more passionate slowly. It then kicks into a higher gear with organ out front 5 minutes in. Synths then lead before it turns heavier before 6 1/2 minutes. Themes are repeated. It's absolutely gorgeous 10 minutes in and the vocal melodies late to end it with that atmosphere is fantastic. "Coda" is a short piece with picked guitar, atmosphere and laid back vocals. Beautiful to say the least. Now my other top three is the two part track on the bonus disc called "Night Session" worth over 22 minutes and is worth the price of admission alone. An instrumental highlight that is full of atmosphere and beauty.

While many fans seem to be put-off by this recording, it suits my tastes to a tee. I'm repeating myself here but man this album is full of gorgeous melodies and sounds.

Report this review (#1404236)
Posted Sunday, April 26, 2015 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars Riverside continues to distinguish itself as one of the most consistent and complete prog-metal bands of the last decade and beyond with Shrine to a New Generation of Slaves . This album uses the band's palette of dark, moody, bottom-heavy, and many textured sounds to create excellently crafted songs and a mature listening experience.

The thing Riverside does exceptionally well is reach inside the listener to touch emotional nerves that many bands strive for, but never quite arrive at. Duda's vocals are key to this; they're masculine, gently accented, and in this album, often sung in his more mellow tone. He's emotional without being contrived, and his thoughtful phrasing adds a high level of polish.

The aggressive moments of Shrine to a New Generation of Slaves are mostly instrumental, carried by Duda's huge bass lines and walls of keyboards by Lapaj. Unlike many bands in the genre, guitars are somewhat understated and melodic. Grudzinksi doesn't have any shredding guitar solos or moments that tie the listener up in knots (such as Petrucci or others); instead, he adds to the riffing or hooks or melodies as needed. This restraint may be the secret sauce that helps give Riverside a unique sound when compared to other prog-metal groups. Like Tool, it's the experience that is important, not the individual moments of a single instrumentalist.

Shrine to a New Generation of Slaves is a top-shelf prog-metal release, and worthy addition to the band's library. It's easy to approach and enjoy. For me, their debut is sets the milestone that hasn't yet been met, but with a band that is so consistently good, it's only a matter of time. Why not 5 stars? For me, the subject matter doesn't hit home. Lyrically this album is basically an indictment of pop-culture, which seems to be a required theme for modern prog bands. I don't disagree but it feels like an easy target and the result doesn't take me on much of a journey. That's a quibble for sure though; this is a great album!

Note the limited edition features a second disk with 20 minutes of moody instrumentals with a cool electronic vibe. Very cool bonus!

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 4 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#1518038)
Posted Friday, January 22, 2016 | Review Permalink
The Crow
4 stars Four years after the outstanding Anno Domini High Definition and with another incredible EP in the middle (Memories in my Head) the best prog rock band from Poland released Shrine of New Generation Slaves.

This album is some kind of return to the origins for the band in songs like The Depth of Self-Delusion and We got Used to Us (much in the vein of the most intimate moments of Out of Myself and Second Life Syndrome) while they also explored some new territories in tracks like New Generation Salve and Escalator Shrine where they made their particular homage to the 70's rock with even some Deep Purple-sounding keyboards.

Sadly, some other tracks like the boring Deprived and the too commercial Celebrity Touch are not so inspired, but the overall quality of the album is high. I would highlight the very missed Piotr Grudzinski's work on this album, maybe his best and most ambiental, and the general lyrical concept of the album where the band shows an acid criticism towards the enslaver work rhythm of modern society, making this album some kind of conceptual sequel to Anno Domini High Definition (not so much musically)

Best Tracks: New Generation Slave, The Depth of Self-Delusion, We Got Used to Us, Escalator Shrine.

Conclusion: Shrine of New Generation Slaves is a conservative and innovative album at the same time, offering some typical Riverside songs while they also dared to explore new territories with strong outcomes, but sadly making a pair of mistakes in the process.

Nevertheless, this is another true excellent album of this incredible band which surely should be in every prog-rock collection.

My rating: ****

Report this review (#2052581)
Posted Sunday, November 4, 2018 | Review Permalink
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars Riverside is one of the progressive metal bands that has seen a lot of popularity in their genre, and as such, has inspired many other bands to jump into the genre. However, the prog metal superstars from Poland have always been a step above with their slick production and willingness to keep extending and pushing their sound and also bringing in themes and underlying concepts with each album, helping to garner individual personality between one album and another.

Such is the case with their 2013 album "Shrine of New Generation Slaves" (lovingly designated SONGS for short). This album explores through the bands heavy and moody style how people have the unsatisfying lives of becoming slaves to their work and losing control of their personal lives. As businesses find ways to satisfy their workers, or at least look like they are doing so, by installing on site gyms, and what not, they hope to get more control over their people, even getting to the point that it will cause people to stay at work more and never leaving their offices. They make people think they are giving them a better work life when in reality, they are only finding ways to control them more. This is the new slavery that Riverside is talking about and what they address in this album.

The album is made up of 8 tracks with a total duration of 51 minutes, unless you get the LP edition, which features 2 more tracks. "New Generation Slave" does an excellent job of introducing the subject, with easy to understand lyrics sung in between hard guitar riffs that build the intensity of the album until it finally unleashes with a progressive driven rhythm and a solider heaviness generated by the guitar and organ. Mariusz Duda occasionally likes to use some light effects to help texture is voice and does so on this track. If anything, it seems like it weakens the impact of the lyrics, in my view, and he does this also in "The Depth of Self-Delusion". This track is steadier and flows more like a straightforward sound with a hint of smooth, fusion texture, not unlike the sound of The Pineapple Thief on one side of the extreme to Opeth on the other side, who I often find a lot of similarity with in some cases, Riverside is a band that resides comfortably (and quite successfully, I might add) in between the poles of these bands. The song continues to utilize dynamics very well by throwing in instances of acoustic guitar and high percussive tones (similar to xylophone). You can expect an emotional guitar solo in there too, which is always a great draw to their music. The music is quite melodic and pleasant, but still retains it's dark and moody atmosphere.

"Celebrity Touch" is a bit heavier, and also is more akin to a classic progressive sound, a la "Kansas" or "Styx", but still with a more current overall feel. The melodic and catchy electric guitar riff and the nice layer of organ help to generate this sound. "We Got Used to Us" is a shorter, almost radio-friendly track showing a more mellow side of the band that also give a chance for the guitar to shine a bit, but mostly driven by lovely piano chords and notes. "Feel Like Falling" takes us into a different territory for the band with a synth heavy riff, a bit bouncy even. Of course, there is the underpinnings of heavy guitar to support the track as the rhythm pounds merrily along, only breaking for a short interval after a short instrumental break. "Deprived (Irretrievable Lost Imagination)" takes us back to a longer form at over 8 minutes as we return to the band's form of moody and emotional dark tinged songs. This track focuses on one of the band's strengths of well-written, almost poetic lyrics. The music is nice and pensive, but with a flowing rhythm, again reflecting Opeth at their most mellow (as in the "Damnation" album). Around 5 minutes, things become a bit more intense as a tricky beat generates a solid sound and preps for a nice, melodic guitar solo with twinkling piano backing it up. Then, a nice surprise when guest Marcin Odyniec provides a stellar and captivating soprano sax solo before the song is brought back to its original, pensive sound.

"Escalator Shrine" takes the prize as being the longest track on the album at over 12 minutes. A drone stays in the background as an echoing effect on the guitar gives a nice touch to a Spanish style to the introduction. The classic prog touch is evident again with a nice flowing bass line and moody keys that remind one of The Doors. Just before 5 minutes, a bass introduces a tasty, new driving rhythm and soon the entire band joins in with some great organ and then synths and guitar lines bring it all into an awesome instrumental passage. At 6 minutes, things suddenly get heavy and dark with a thick riff and vocals joining in before finally passing into an atmospheric section with a throbbing bass and layers of keys, synths and atmospheric guitars. This harkens to the melodic instrumentals of Pink Floyd, but done with the Riverside flair. After 8 minutes, the music returns to the original theme, but with some nice variation in the instrumental support. After 10 minutes, a new riff is introduced and the music develops off of this to take the track to the end. This track is what you listen to progressive music for, nice complex compositions that give the listener the challenge they need without making things too complex. It's a well-composed track that testifies to the band's creativity and talent. "Coda" finishes off the CD at this point with a short track, soft and mostly acoustic, it acts as a coda to the album, not the previous track.

If you are lucky enough to have the vinyl version, there is another disc included with a two part track called "Night Session", Parts 1 and 2. Each track is over 11 minutes long, so for Riverside fans, it's a must have. Part 1 is a nice instrumental track that utilizes the band's talent for song development, yet it has more of an improvised sound, and it utilizes a lot of synth loops which allows the band to be more creative on an individual basis, as the fill the spaces with heavenly notes and textures. This seems to pay homage to Tangerine Dream in a way, but also travels to different textures and beat through the track, never staying stuck on a single loop for too long. There is a bit of ambience and a bit of electronica in this one, pretty unlike most of the band's output. Part 2 takes on a more experimental vibe. As a soft noise drone sounds in the distance, the guest saxophonist returns (with the alto sax this time) and provides a real solo, with only the droning sound as back up. Looped percussion comes in and synths ebb and flow making things atmospheric while the soft sax continues. Things turn away from the dark feeling at the start and actually start to sound cheery with just the right shot of jazz inflection coming in and some soft, airy vocals swirl around. It almost seems that you are not listening to Riverside now, but it's nice and it shows the bands ability to be not only versatile, but to do it in an improvised setting. Things go back to a more pensive and ambient state as in its last few minutes, but you are left with a pleasant and relaxing mood.

This is an all around great album that shows the many sides of the band that many had previously thought of as being more one-sided, and even more so if you have the bonus vinyl tracks. But you even hear that in the main album too. It is easy to see why this band is a favorite among lovers of progressive music, mostly those that like the heavy side, but still love the atmospheric and moody edge that this band provides. The album is well-polished. It is one that most people will not regret having. There is no ground broken on the album, but it still satisfies that need to have great progressive music that you don't necessarily need to invest a lot of time in to appreciate it.

Report this review (#2315019)
Posted Monday, February 10, 2020 | Review Permalink

RIVERSIDE Shrine Of New Generation Slaves ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of RIVERSIDE Shrine Of New Generation Slaves

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives