Riverside - Shrine of New Generation Slaves
Label: InsideOut Music
Reviewer: Sama Shahrouri - 2013-06-17
Highlights: Deprived, The depth of self-delusion
When you look at the modern rock scene, you can notice how Progressive music has been fighting for its rightful place amongst its other contenders. What used to be the underdog of the infinitely growing metal world genres is now making a name for itself unlike any time before. The prog generation is growing, and it’s all thanks to modern prog bands like Riverside. With their anticipated fifth record “Shrine of New Generation Slaves”, Riverside delivered more than any fan could have expected from the Polish group. They presented a musically-driven atmospheric journey dragging the listener from track 1 to track 8 with absolute ease and sophistication. How you might ask? Well dear friend, it’s by using overly polished simple guitar-keyboard melodies to tease your most sentimental of feelings out. Over-polishing is never a bad thing in progressive music. Because that’s the whole point of the genre; creating a 3-dimensional soundscape. And as you can obviously notice while listening to album, multiple effects have been added to the sound to create this well-rounded world of SoNGS.
“Shrine of New Generation Slaves” is reminiscent of Riverside’s first album “Out of Myself”, since it is much softer than its prior Anno Domini High Definition. It also reflects images of “Out of Myself” with the comeback use of piano and organ melodies. As heard on the opening track “New Generation Slaves” the organ is a strongly present element in this piece of work. It adds a sense of ‘funk’ to the songs, which is not half bad. Keeps you asking for more.
As “The Depth of Self-Delusion” begins, the opening bass line flirts with your feelings telling you that this is a song about a love that was never meant to be. It has this Spanish feel to it as well. Its musical ensemble keeps playing in your head at night as you try to fall asleep. It’s in its own way haunting, and no one ever complained about a beautiful tune taking over their minds. The music is so rich on this track, that no matter how loud you play it, it’s never loud enough to satisfy your taste, it’s such a beautiful tease! Simple guitar strumming takes you on to the end of the song, and as it fades, you are introduced to the record’s first single.
“Celebrity Touch” was first released in December of 2012, and its video in January of 2013 (you can watch the video here). Compared to the rest of the songs on the record, this is one of the heaviest tracks on the album, that’s probably why it was chosen as the first single. The rest of the album like the next song “We Got Used to Us” is much calmer, and has a more romantic flavor both lyrically and musically.
There is one song that stands out in the album though, “Feel Like Falling”. The first time I heard it I jotted down the following: “ELECTROPOP?!?” YESS!! This is Michal Lapaj’s 15 minutes on the album. You can hear several different techniques being used on the keyboard, he experiments with different sounds, different chords, a different feeling altogether from anything else presented on the record so far! This song is just ‘fun’. Not your typical prog-rock song. And I am pretty sure that it’s not a fan favourite! I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s just not Riverside. Musically speaking it’s too …’fruity’ to be a Riverside song. I think it’s the low of the album, but there is never harm in experimentation and Riverside make up for any inconveniences they might have caused by presenting the next track.
“Deprived (Irretrievably Lost Imagination)”.
... dot, dot, dot.
Could you just look at that name? Irretrievably Lost Imagination?? What?
This song is puure progressive music. A beautiful 8-minute plus track that incorporates keyboards, guitars, drums, and most importantly vocals together to take the listener on a journey from point A to point B so swiftly that he never knows what hit him. It is a song from the depths of the artists’ hearts. A melancholic sound that is sad and dark enough to be the best song on the entire album. And here’s the thing, the secret to Progressive music is having an element of surprise. And what a surprise the listener is in for on this one... Not only is it Duda’s absolute vocal high on the album, but at the end as the music takes over, a sexy sax solo is heard. Whaaat? That is the main reason why I love progressive music so much, it is so unexpected, and absolutely everything and anything can do. Imagine how just like that, as the song reaches its musical climax right after the guitar solo, its takes the most brutal of jazzy and bluesy turns by presenting a beautiful Saxophone solo that just plays around in your head to smash any left-over feelings you might have left from the 7 previous minutes. Bam. Prog-Rock ladies and gents!
This bluesy/jazzy sound still lingers onto the first half of the next track “Escalator Scale”, but then retreats giving Rock the stage again. This epic 12-minute track sums up the whole record; all members of the band here show what they’re made of. Whether it was keyboards, drums or vocals, the members send their ending goodbyes to their listeners as the record comes to a close. Duda’s ending “la la la” vocal harmonies are ones to remain in memory. And the closing ballad “Coda” is a welcoming and heart-warming song that ascertains a new hope coming through an open door, the end of darkened days and a new found faith.
Riverside did a great job on this record. They presented a good example of what modern progressive rock music sounds like. I might even take it a step further and call them the Ambassadors of the genre of 2013. I would much recommend you give this piece of work a listen if you’re into the more sophisticated sound engineering side of music. And I’m pretty sure this album will please Riverside fans of all different opinions, because it contains different elements of what Riverside was, is and will become in the future.
Riverside will be touring around Europe during June of 2013 on their “New Generations” tour for promoting the album. It was an enjoyable listen. Two thumbs up.