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




Progressive Metal

4.07 | 1039 ratings

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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).

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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