Hailing from Poland, Riverside have been putting out consistently great music for many years now. It’d be nearly impossible to define what category of “prog rock” they exactly fall under, but that’s what make them stand out from the crowd. They are one of those bands that have such a unique sound that it is easy to immediately identify them, an increasingly rare talent these days.
So upon receiving a copy of their new album Shrine Of New Generation Slaves, I knew I was in for something special, something that would challenge me. But have they delivered once again or did they fall fail to live up to their past greatness? Read on below for my thoughts!
Opening with “New Generation Slave”, the album begins slowly with gentle passages interspersed with dynamically heavy moments. Then, halfway through, things slam into full force and it’s straight into heavy prog rock territory.
The current single, “Celebrity Touch”, is a great example of the changes of the album. The opening and verse have a very Kansas-esque feel, albeit a tad heavier. The bridge then delves into some gorgeous Porcupine Tree territory and while a guitar solo during the song could easily be mistaken as a guest appearance from David Gilmour.
“We Got Used To Us” might be considered the ballad of the album, featuring heartbreaking delayed piano chords, silky smooth bass lines, and sexy guitar leads. Meanwhile, the opening to “Feel Like Falling” sounds like it came right out of an 80’s John Carpenter score. And the introduction to “Escalator Shrine” has a strong, old-Eastern European flair to it,
The thing that I noticed with this album is that as each track progresses there are more styles and influences. There is jazz, hard rock, classic prog rock, modern prog rock, metal, and more. From moments of intensity to sheer beauty to seductive smoothness, this album ebbs and flows with the greatest of ease from one style to another.
Serious props need to be given to vocalist/bassist Mariusz Duda for being so dynamic and creative with the bass. He shifts from using the bass as a lead instrument to diving back into the pocket with such effortlessness that it’s mindboggling.
The Final Word: If you want an album full of mystery and seduction while tickling all your prog rock desires, Riverside’s Shrine Of New Generation Slaves is one of the best releases for you. This is an album that kicks off 2013 in all the right ways.
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