Label: Inside Out Music
Genre: Progressive Metal
Release Date EU: January 20th, 2023
Mariusz Duda – vocals, basses, electric and
Piotr Kozieradzki – drums
Micha? ?apaj – keyboards and synthesizers,
Rhodes piano and Hammond organ
Maciej Meller – electric guitars
Friend or Foe?
Big Tech Brother
The Place Where I Belong
I’m Done With You
Riverside started in 2001 and hails from Warsaw, Poland. The progressive metal outfit premiered with ‘Out of Myself’, an album that was independently released and led to a deal the band inked with Inside Out Music.
The band was on a successful journey through the hemisphere of multi-layered music and unleashed pretty successful records. Then came 2016, a year that changed a lot. Founding member and guitarist Piotr Grudzi?ski passed away at the age of 40. This was a shock for the band and fans, followed by a period of uncertainty if to continue or not. After a period of grief, Riverside decided to continue as a trio and it took them till 2020 to add a fourth member. Maciej Meller joined the band on guitar and is part of the newest longplayer ‘ID.Entity’.
Work on the new album started with bandleader Mariusy Duda asking himself a few questions – personal ones, questions about the current times, and also about the band. The two main strengths of Riverside are melodies and performing live. Now, the latter wasn’t that possible during the last two years and so the band decided to give their newest album a live feel, reflecting the dynamics of live performance. What comes with this ambition is the fact of ‘ID.Entity’ is less melancholic and dark compared to some of the latest releases of the band.
‘ID.Entity’ is a kind of fresh start for the band, leaving the dark days behind. Together with strong lyrics, the seven songs on this album are a stellar example of excellently crafted multifaceted music. Riverside shows its best and it all starts with ‘Friend or Foes?’. Bigger soundscapes and the interaction of keyboards and guitars is a great examples of contemporary music with style with lyrics that symbolize an unreal world in which nothing seems to be as it looks.
‘Landmine Blast’ takes a similar road before ‘Big Tech Brother’ brings another topic into the spotlight. The spoken word consent notes that start the songs, remind us of the pop-up windows on every website and herald a song about the ignorance and naivety towards the digital world that surrounds us.
Lies and truth, that is what the band thematize ‘Post-Truth’. The music underlines the message of the songs with the band focusing on their ability to create complex music that sounds, with the help of great melodies, easily accessible. This gift also creates the platform for ‘The Place Where I Belong’. The song clocks in at 13 minutes and is the musical centerpiece of this longplayer. This epos combines all Riverside trademarks, resulting in a great composition, which is a treat for the ears and mind.
‘Self-Aware’ is the last song on this album and it’s another delight. I felt a bit reminded of bands like Rush when I heard the track. Again, it’s hooks and melodies that create the common threat of this song, which varies when it comes to details. There are constant twists and turns which adds excitement on the listener’s side since there is constantly something new happening.
‘ID.Entity’ is a fantastic album by a band that kind of re-started after a period of darkness and grief. Riverside in 2023 is as strong as in the early days and put its sound to the next level. The quartet proves that progressive music isn’t only about the capabilities of musicians. It’s about how to use this savvy for writing and performing excellent songs. Riverside is a master in this craft, making their newest longplayer a real highlight.
Written by: Markus Wiedenmann