Review – Riverside – Wasteland – by Progradar

“The darkness of the ultimate light is better than the lights of the ultimate darkness.”
― Mohsin Ali Shaukat

One cannot truly appreciate the light unless one has first walked in the dark. We talk of the light at the end of the tunnel, you see this through the dark and it is the ultimate goal, you must, however, travel through the dark to reach the light.

The tragedy that befell in February 2016 called into question the very existence of Riverside. The co-founder and guitarist of the band, Piotr Grudziński, died suddenly just before his 41st birthday. The band cancelled all the concerts planned for that year and dedicated the album “Eye of the Soundscape”, released in September 2016, to their late friend.

To begin a new chapter of Riverside, they would have to record an album from the point of view of someone bereft, someone who has survived a tragedy. The fact that the album would be recorded without their guitarist might result in having to experiment musically a little more than usual but, most of all, it might translate into deeper symbolism and carry a more profound meaning. “I had a feeling we would be alright and we could make something beautiful and exceptional,” recalls vocalist and main composer Mariusz Duda.

In the spring of 2017, Riverside resumed playing live. During the “Towards the Blue Horizon” tour the band were joined on stage by Maciej Meller who officially joined RIVERSIDE as their live guitarist. Why has he not become the official fourth member of the band? “It’s not so simple,” Duda explains, “To catch up with 15 years takes time. I love Maciej but everything has to have its place and time. For now we are a quartet only live.”

So that band is coming back this year with their seventh studio album called “Wasteland”, recorded as a trio: Mariusz Duda – vocals, guitars and basses, Piotr Kozieradzki – drums and Michał Łapaj – keyboards and Hammond organ.

The band entered the recording studio in December 2017 and Duda assumed the duties of the band’s guitarist. “We recorded a demo. It turned out alright and we had come to the conclusion that I would manage to play all the rhythmic parts, all the melodies and some of the solos. Naturally, to enhance the sound of the album, we left some space for guests.”

And so on the new album, you can hear a few guitar solos by Maciej Meller, as well as one by Mateusz Owczarek, a young, talented guitarist, who played with the band during their Warsaw memorial concert for Piotr. For the first time in their music, there are also violins played by Michał Jelonek.

Touted by the band as the spiritual successor to ‘Second Life Syndrome’, the new album is a much heavier and emotive proposition than fan favourite ‘Love, Fear and the Time Machine’. From the opening strains of Duda’s a-cappella vocals on The Day After and the segue into the sparse, industrial riff of Acid Rain, this is immediately apparent. An underlying feel of apprehension and darkness takes over the first few tracks on the album, for an album whose theme is attempting to survive in a world after the Apocalypse this is, perhaps, quite understandable.

This opening may surprise long term fans but it is superbly well crafted and delivered music that seeks to find a way through an increasingly turbulent world full of new divisions and conflicts. The closing couple of minutes of Acid Rain seem to bring a feeling of light and hope but that is immediately dashed by the granite heavy, staccato riff that delivers Vale of Tears onto an unsuspecting world. A powerful and imposing track that is delivered in one serious and heavy manner. So far ‘Wasteland’ and its predecessor are proving to be polar opposites.

The symbolism of the album refers not only to the post-apocalyptic visions of the world, but also to the death of Piotr Grudziński, to the band’s attempt to find themselves in new circumstances. The wistfully heartbreaking Guardian Angel with its understated vocals and delicate piano and guitar is calmness personified among the dark, post-apocalyptic feel of the earlier tracks. There’s a melancholy feel and a longing at its heart that brings a lump to your throat, a sepia tinged look back in time perhaps?

The elegant acoustic guitar that opens Lament gives no indication of what is to follow, Duda’s keening vocal heralds the entrance of the heaviest riff on the album so far, one that Mikael Åkerfeldt would have been proud of. A song that will inevitably draw comparisons with Opeth (well, I’ve done it!!) with its spacious and melodious verse and thunderous chorus. It’s the song on the album that really hits home with me, emotionally and musically, and Mariusz Duda’s solo just bleeds passion.

There’s a slight change in feel on the album as we head into the ying and yang of the 9 minute-plus instrumental The Struggle For Survival, a feel of the fight to pull away from the hold of the darkness and fight to get to the light. An invigorating first half where Duda’s bass line orchestrates proceedings with a deftness of touch is replaced by the more frantic and chaotic guitar and keyboard heavy second part where Łapaj comes to the fore. The graceful River Down Below sees the seeker getting closer to the light but there’s still a slightly forlorn edge to the music and a fragility to the vocal, a touching and truly moving song that wears its heart on its sleeve.

Title track Wasteland has a world-weary aura, a feel of an ending to a journey of extreme hardship but also one of hard fought knowledge collected along the way. The song drifts along with a lightness of being that can only come from the triumph over adversity. There’s a break into a frenzied instrumental section that fights to overcome the calm before sanity finally regains control. This gives an epic and cinematic feel to the song, an allegory of the fight between darkness and light which has been at the crux of the whole album. For me, the best is saved till last, the wonderful The Night Before where the sparsity of just piano and vocals gives humanity and reality to the song. It’s sublime, almost intangible grace seeps into your very soul until the song finishes and all is left is the vacuum of total silence.

Simply put ‘Wasteland’ is two things, a triumph of the light over the dark and a fitting tribute to Piotr. A compelling and engrossing musical journey through darkness, grief and loss to emerge into the light. A spiritual catharsis that sees a new chapter in the life of Riverside and puts them back at the forefront where they truly belong.

Released 28th September 2018

Order the album from Burning Shed here

 

RIVERSIDE – Reveal “Wasteland” album artwork and first release details!

Polish Rock masters RIVERSIDE are pleased to announce that their upcoming seventh studio album ‘Wasteland’ will be released via their longtime label partner InsideOutMusic on September 28th, 2018.

The album will once again feature artwork designed by longtime visual partner Travis Smith (Opeth, Devin Townsend, etc.) and the record’s main track-listing reads as follows:

RIVERSIDE – “Wasteland”:
1. The Day After
2. Acid Rain
3. Vale Of Tears
4. Guardian Angel
5. Lament
6. The Struggle For Survival
7. River Down Below
8. Wasteland
9. The Night Before

RIVERSIDE’s Mariusz Duda checked in with the following comment about the album’s overall concept: I’d been thinking about exploring “post-apocalyptic” regions for a long time. I read books, watched films, played video games, all connected by stories about an attempt to survive in a world that had just ended. But writing such a story myself didn’t make much sense until now. RIVERSIDEare starting a new chapter and after our recent experiences, a story like that has gained more meaning. “Wasteland” is mostly about what’s happening in the world these days but it also makes a reference to the tragedy that befell the band in 2016. Musically, we’ve returned to darker sounds but we have also turned a new page and recorded the album in a different style. It’s still RIVERSIDE but expressed in a much deeper and more mature way. Most artists say the same thing while promoting their new releases: that they have just created their best work to date. I won’t say that because everything we have done so far has been consistently very good and unique. But I will say that we have never had such an incredible emotional load on any of our previous releases, and it’s not likely that we will ever make such a charged album again. “Wasteland” is an epic, multidimensional, poetic and very deep album. Perhaps of the once in a lifetime kind.”

RIVERSIDE’s “Wasteland” marks the first studio album effort with newly composed music after the tragic passing of founding member and guitarist Piotr Grudziński on February 21st, 2016.

Attention: More album details, its pre-order option as well as a first single will be launched on July 27th, so stay tuned for more news soon…

After having just performed on a string of European festivals including the prestigious Night Of The Prog festival at the historic Loreley Amphitheater in Germany last weekend, RIVERSIDE are next embarking on the “Wasteland 2018 Tour” throughout October/November to support the release of their upcoming album. See an overview of all confirmed upcoming dates below:

RIVERSIDE – “Wasteland 2018 Tour”:
12.10.2018 Gdansk (Poland) – B90
13.10.2018 Poznan (Poland) – Tama
14.10.2018 Wroclaw (Poland) – A2
16.10.2018 Katowice (Poland) – Miasto Ogrodów
17.10.2018 Lódz (Poland) – Magnetofon
18.10.2018 Torun (Poland) – Od Nowa
20.10.2018 Kraków (Poland) – Studio
21.10.2018 Warszawa (Poland) – Hala Kolo
30.10.2018 Berlin (Germany) – Kesselhaus
31.10.2018 Schorndorf (Germany) – Manufaktur
03.11.2018 Lisbon (Portugal) – LAV
04.11.2018 Madrid (Spain) – MON LIVE
05.11.2018 Barcelona (Spain) – Salamandra 1
06.11.2018 Lyon (France) – CCO
07.11.2018 Paris (France) – La Machine
09.11.2018 Manchester (UK) – Academy 2
10.11.2018 London (UK) – The Electric Ballroom
11.11.2018 Sint-Niklaas (Belgium) – Casino
12.11.2018 Utrecht (The Netherlands) – TivoliVredenburg
14.11.2018 Hamburg (Germany) – Markthalle
15.11.2018 Oberhausen (Germany) – Turbinenhalle 2
16.11.2018 Pratteln (Switzerland) – Z7
17.11.2018 Neunkirchen (Germany) – Gloomaar Festival
Tickets: https://riversideband.pl/en/gigs

RIVERSIDE – Festivals 2019:
04.-09.02.2019 Tampa to Key West & Cozumel – Cruise To The Edge
More dates to follow soon…

Look out for more news on RIVERSIDE in the coming weeks…

RIVERSIDE – Sign new deal with InsideOutMusic; Announce new studio album and European tour!

Progressive Rock masters RIVERSIDE have just signed a new deal with longtime partners InsideOutMusic and are pleased to announce their upcoming seventh studio album “Wasteland” as well as its corresponding first European tour for October/November.

RIVERSIDE checked in with the following words:

Well, we’re back in the game! We’re happy to tell you that our seventh album will be called “Waste7and” (Wasteland) and will be released at the end of September this year. It will be our first album recorded as a trio. Our music has become more serious and more mature, so get ready for a manly and emotional album. “Waste7and” is going to be a really accomplished one. It combines the emotional character of the first two and the production maturity of the latest two releases. If everything goes according to plan (as we’re still recording), the new Riverside album will simply d e s t r o y you 🙂

Also this year we’re going on the “Wasteland 2018 Tour” to promote the new album. Below you will find a list of the cities we’re going to visit in the autumn of 2018. Tickets go on sale this Friday, June 1st. More info soon!“

In regards to the extended co-operation via a new deal between RIVERSIDE and InsideOutMusic, Thomas Waber, label manager/A&R international InsideOutMusic, checked in with the following comment:

“We have been working with Riverside for a long time now and there is a lot of personal history. The InsideOutMusic family would be very different without them, so I am extremely pleased that the family is staying together. We all miss Piotr dearly, but i am looking forward to this new chapter. You are still with us, Grudzień!”

Here is a list of the upcoming shows by RIVERSIDE announced so far:

RIVERSIDE – Festivals 2018/2019:
21.06.2018 Konin (Poland) – Progressive Evening
23.06.2018 Valkenburg (The Netherlands) – Midsummer Prog Festival
13.07.2018 St. Goarshausen (Germany) – Night Of The Prog Festival XIII
04.-09.02.2019 Tampa to Key West & Cozumel – Cruise To The Edge

RIVERSIDE – “Wasteland 2018 Tour”:
12.10.2018 Gdansk (Poland) – B90
13.10.2018 Poznan (Poland) – Tama
14.10.2018 Wroclaw (Poland) – A2
16.10.2018 Katowice (Poland) – Miasto Ogrodów
17.10.2018 Lódz (Poland) – Magnetofon
18.10.2018 Torun (Poland) – Od Nowa
20.10.2018 Kraków (Poland) – Studio
21.10.2018 Warszawa (Poland) – Hala Kolo
30.10.2018 Berlin (Germany) – Kesselshaus
31.10.2018 Schorndorf (Germany) – Manufaktur
03.11.2018 Lisbon (Portugal) – LAV
04.11.2018 Madrid (Spain) – MON LIVE
05.11.2018 Barcelona (Spain) – Salamandra 1
06.11.2018 Lyon (France) – CCO
07.11.2018 Paris (France) – La Machine
09.11.2018 Manchester (UK) – Academy 2
10.11.2018 London (UK) – The Electric Ballroom
11.11.2018 Sint Niklaas (Belgium) – Casino
12.11.2018 Utrecht (The Netherlands) – Tivoli Vredenburg
14.11.2018 Hamburg (Germany) – Markthalle
15.11.2018 Oberhausen (Germany) – Turbinenhalle 2
16.11.2018 Pratteln (Switzerland) – Z-7
17.11.2018 Neunkirchen (Germany) – Gloomaar festival
More dates to follow soon…

RIVERSIDE had previously announced guitarist Maciej Meller to complete the band’s line-up for shows after taking a longer break from any live performances due to the tragic passing of founding member and guitarist Piotr Grudziński on February 21st, 2016.

Look out for more news on RIVERSIDE in the coming weeks…

 

Review – Riverside – Lost ‘n’ Found: Live In Tilburg – by Kevin Thompson

So let’s face the elephant in the room straight away.

This is always going to be emotional on so many levels and affecting people to different degrees. The album was recorded in Dutch Club 013, Tilburg, in the autumn of 2015 and features Piotr Grudzinski who is sadly no longer with us. Not a subject I intend to dwell on and this should be seen as a glorious celebration of the man’s talent at the top of his game.

Every ten years Riverside add an exclusive release to their discography, and ‘Lost ‘n’ Found: Live in Tilburg’, is the latest. The double CD with graphics designed by Travis Smith was to be available only at this year’s shows on the “Towards the Blue Horizon Tour”. This raised an amount of consternation and unrest amongst those who would not be able to attend, no doubt fuelled further by enhanced emotions due to the sad loss of Piotr.

I was lucky enough to attend the concert at The Marble Factory in Bristol on May 20th, last Saturday in fact, and a copy was bought for me which has enabled me to write this review.

Closing the door on the above and opening the one saying ‘Backstage Only’ I stride down the corridor toward the stage where all the action is to take place on these discs. It would be the obvious thing to do, going through the tracks individually and commenting on them. But those who love Riverside’s music don’t need telling how good the songs are, or to be advised on the quality excellent musicianship of the individuals.

Better to look at this as a ‘Live’ experience. So what separates a poor live band from a great one and a quality ‘Live’ album from a dismal disc that ends up on your coffee table as a coaster? Every individual may differ in their opinion, but there are certain things that I like/dislike on ‘Live’ recordings.

It is a feeling, the ability to raise the hairs on the back of your neck with the electrical charge sparked between the band and their audience. It takes you back to that night if you were there, if not it transports you through the speakers to plant you, front row amidst the heaving throng of swaying bodies, as one in unison with the music pumping from the speakers.

A quality sound is imperative, too muddy or overproduced and it will be ruined. A fine line and delicately balanced it’s not easy to achieve the right mix and excellence whilst retaining the ‘Live’ atmosphere. The one that puts a smile on your face as you sit listening, a slave before your master, the sound system. The first applause introduces the arrival of the band on stage and the notes of the introductory track kick in, you close your eyes and raise your arms in supplication to the gods of your living room.

Your head nods and you mouth the lyrics to yourself, by now blissfully unaware that no one else is in the room (except the pets) and if the magic is taking a hold, then neither are you.

This brings me to another possible pitfall, the applause and running dialogue betwixt band and discerning crowd, or should I say, distinct lack of it on some so called ‘Live’ recordings. It saps the very energy from the atmosphere like a music hating succubus. The vampire intent on draining every last bloody drop of musical theatre from the sound. It has always puzzled me the urge to eradicate any and all components that allow a ‘Live’ recording to breathe naturally, nurturing the adoration and adulation blossoming from the performers and watchers alike.

It is the lifeblood which links the individual tracks, the pitfalls, dropped notes and reciprocal banter, in stilted attempts at the local dialect causing a warm felt humour. The band tune and retune whilst taking the opportunity to introduce the individual musicians, allowing you brief respite to settle back in your armchair whilst staying connected, before unleashing the next eagerly anticipated adrenaline injection of melody through the speakers.

By now the cat and dog have left the room, convinced you have lost a grip on reality and you don’t even notice the twitch of a whisker. You have no need to rise from your seat as the multi-disc player slides into the second CD, carrying you away on waves of euphoria, the bliss of release from day to day strife falling away as time slips by without a care in the world. All that matters is the here (or there) and now. Nothing can pull you from the crowd, eject you from your respectful reveries as your mind applauds an imaginary stage.

All too soon they reach the final song then leave the stage, the ecstatic crowd baying for more, clapping, stamping cheering and whistling. You are participating in the temporary auditorium created among the sofa and coffee table, with the closed curtains across the bay window shutting out the light, enhancing the illusion.

You, along with the attendant throng will the band to return for just a little while, play some more, don’t let go, not yet. Wetted appetites are slated as the members wander casually back into view, towels caressing well earned perspiration from weary but satisfied brows, in the knowledge that the final line is in sight and they will cross to the winner’s enclosure.

Every last drop of remaining emotion is wrung from the instruments, vocals accompanied by audience participated backing voices, from dry throats tortured to burning point by the smoke machines. Louder they get, to near hysteria levels, the ultimate note is struck and there is the briefest of silent pauses before realisation dawns that the band have played their last. Tumultuous waves of sound  from suffering air-pipes erupt in fervent appreciation for the unforgettable evening that has been bestowed upon the dedicated listener. The band leave the stage throwing drumsticks and plectrums to the hands reaching out and they’re gone.

Animated and enthused the multitude filter into the cold night air, steam rising from the heated bodies, wisps fading like the the lights, into the night.

It’s done and you rise flicking on the light switch to bathe the room in a warm glow, time to make a cup of tea and let the pets out into the garden. But don’t be too despondent as you can relive the event when and as often as you like.

‘But he’s hardly mentioned Riverside‘, I hear you cry.

Look again dear reader, they are there in every good word, every sentence to raise plaudits, every vowel, noun and space, for this is Riverside ‘Live’ in Tilburg. They have realised the dream and created moments to remember, scenes that will live forever in the mind. If you want a true ‘Live’ album then look no further, for the fan a must buy, for those interested a great introduction to one of the foremost modern bands on the scene.

Out of the darkness comes light and Riverside are bathed in it. Catch them on tour, you never know, you might even be on the next ‘Live’ release.

Available exclusively from each date on Riverside’s ‘Towards The Blue Horizon’ tour.

 

 

 

 

Review – Riverside – Eye Of The Soundscape – by Kevin Thompson

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This was meant originally as a preview, but time and tide, as they say… By now many of you may already have this and be making your own minds up. So here is my review…..

Tragedy when it hits is never expected and the devastation, after initial shock, rushes out like waves and ripples flooding over all it touches. Seeping like damp into everyone’s hearts it leaves you cold and numb. Many bands have faced upsets in their lives, some have survived others not. Many losses are through age and/or self abuse taking it’s toll, but when you lose someone before their expected time, it hits hard. Over the last few years Riverside have become one of my favourite bands and watching them ‘live’ last year we got the feeling they were on the verge of breaking through to the next level and greater things.

But fate is a cruel mistress and I was surprised the sudden passing in February of guitarist Piotr Grudziński affected me so emotionally. Then going online to find the outpouring of sympathy from other fans and the support for the other band members, families and friends was overwhelming. Bassist/vocalist, Mariusz Duda then lost his Father in May and further personal issues have dogged him since. He, along with drummer Piotr Kozieradzki and keyboardist Michał Łapaj, could be forgiven for wanting to take some time away, but it is to their credit and the measure of the men that they have decided to continue as a trio and have started to make future plans as well as continuing solo projects in the wings.

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The band have already issued “Love, Fear and the Time Machine” in 5.1 and last Friday (21st October) they released the double disc instrumental “Eye Of The Soundscape”, a fitting homage to their  friend Piotr.

To misquote from Star Wars, ‘this may not be the Riverside you are looking for’. It is a collection of  ideas the band have composed and accumulated over a number of years, some of which have already appeared as bonus tracks with other albums. There are traces of the Riverside we know and love and the beautiful strains of Piotr’s guitar haunts the melodies, but this extensive work  has more in common with the likes of Tangerine Dream mixed with hints of Kraftwerk and Pink Floyd.

You may be accustomed to my reviewing album tracks on an individual basis, but in this case I feel the album works better if listened to as a whole. It will not be for everyone and with the best will in the world, you will find the direction and length of this formidable album (though the tracks on the second disc are generally shorter) tests you and it may be that only the hardcore Riverside fan will persevere and last the distance.

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The ambient mood and atmosphere of this album floats you down a dark river of keyboards and effects, the bass and drums causing the eddy and flow, with the guitar propelling “Eye Of The Soundscape” along a dreamy and immersive journey, some of which will engage you whilst other tracks will wash over you like liquid velvet. Jazz infused saxophone passages echo in the night-lit jungle as you drift along, the large bright moon of sound casting fleeting shadows of effects through the dense foliage of music.

 Piotr’s fluid (at times Gilmoresque) fretwork is quite sublime if understated in places, on what some may see as an album of pleasant enough background music, soporific or even uninteresting. Before the devout following tear me to pieces, I hasten to point out I do not fall into those categories as I am also a fan of Tangerine Dream and Pink Floyd and own many of their recordings in my collection along with other ambient classics and instrumentals.

 Some may only listen to “Eye Of The Soundscape” once and place the album on a shelf, leaving it to collect dust or brushing it off occasionally to attempt further understanding and convince themselves they do like it; you don’t have to. It will split opinion with it’s diversification but I feel  it stands as a fitting tribute from the band and on behalf of everyone Piotr’s presence touched, to a sadly missed and greatly loved friend.

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There have been better Riverside albums musically, but none more emotionally charged from a band who truly have remained as positive as possible in the face of adversity. Never losing touch with their fans, sharing visions and hopes and updating everyone with every tentative step along this personal journey, they humble us. The quality of the instrumentation from the band is also first class.

I would recommend you listen before buying to ensure it is for you and those with a taste for the more chilled side of music give it a try, even if Riverside’s previous output has not been to your taste. There is light through this dark tunnel which will see this band emerge to you either as a bright new butterfly or a dull coloured moth, I know which I will follow as it flutters over the musical landscape.

On this occasion it seems only fitting to leave the last words in this review to the band as a parting farewell to Piotr:

“This is our last journey together so we dedicate this album to you, Brother. In our hearts you will stay forever.”

Released 21st October 2016

Buy ‘Eye Of The Soundscape’ from InsideOut Music

Riverside – Eye Of The Soundscape – releases 21st October 2016

riverside-new

Following RIVERSIDE’s sixth and highly successful studio album release, “Love, Fear and the Time Machine” and its recently launched 5.1 edition, the Warsaw, Poland-based Progressive Rock innovators return with a very special complimentary instrumental release dubbed “Eye Of The Soundscape”.

“Eye Of The Soundscape” features 13 experimental and highly atmospheric compositions, previously used as bonus material for the “Shrine Of New Generation Slaves” (2103) and “Love, Fear and the Time Machine” (2015) albums, alongside rare cuts (e.g. a new mix of “Rapid Eye Movement” and the single “Rainbow Trip”, so far only released in Poland) as well as 4 new songs (“Where The River Flows”, “Shine”, “Sleepwalkers” and “Eye Of The Soundscape”) into a massive +100 minutes 2CD/3LP package, which showcases RIVERSIDE’s ambient electronic side.

RIVERSIDE’s Mariusz Duda explained and introduced this rather unorthodox and experimental release as follows:

“I had a feeling that the sixth RIVERSIDE album might be the last chapter of a story. That the future releases might have a different sound, a different character… Unofficially, I called our latest three albums “the crowd trilogy”. Each subsequent title was longer by one word – four, five, six. Six words were long enough as a title and I thought that was the one to finish it off with…

Before we started a new chapter, perhaps a “new trilogy”, I had an idea to release a complementary album. An album in between. An album we had always wanted to record. It wouldn’t be just new music but in our case and in such configuration it would definitely be a new quality because we hadn’t released such an album before.

For years, we have accumulated a lot of material, a part of which was released on bonus discs. I know that some of our listeners still haven’t heard those pieces and do not realise that Riverside, basically right from the start, have been experimenting with ambient and progressive electronic music. And that’s always been a part of our music DNA.

So I presented the idea to the rest of the band and the decision was unanimous. We decided to make a compilation of all our instrumental and ambient pieces, and release it this year as an independent album. Some of the songs would be re-mixed to make them sound better, but most of all, we’d add new compositions.

At the beginning of the year, we locked ourselves in the studio and we started to compose. We even published a picture on our facebook page, in which Grudzien is holding a small keyboard as a joke. That was that recording session. We were working with smiles on our faces, genuinely excited, knowing that this time it wasn’t just a bonus disc or an addition to something “bigger” but a fully fledged, independent release with that kind of music, full of space, trance, melodies and electronics. The day before I got a text message from Grudzien, “I really can’t wait for this release, I have always had a dream for RIVERSIDE to release such an album.”

The release of “Eye Of The Soundscape” therefor also honours late RIVERSIDE guitarist Piotr Grudzinski, who tragically passed away of natural causes on February 21st, 2016.

“Eye Of The Soundscape” is composed of material created between 2007-2016 and concieved in 2015/2016 at Serakos studio in Warsaw with Magda Srzednicka, Robert Srzednicki as well Mariusz Duda as producers, and the release comes packaged in artwork by RIVERSIDE’s longterm design partner Travis Smith (Opeth, Katatonia, Nevermore, etc.).

© 2016 by Inside Out Music – All Rights Reserved

Progradar’s ‘Best of 2015’ review – by Progradar

David

A scary picture to get things started, it’s that time of year again when everyone puts out their ‘Best of 2015’ album list and I’m no different to every other music journalist, budding or otherwise.

Lists like these are very subjective, after all, one man’s poison is another man’s wine but they’re fun to do and give a real retrospective of some of the great music that has been released over the past 12 months or so.

BEM logo

First off, the usual disclaimer, I won’t include any Bad Elephant Music releases as some people might say I’d be slightly biased. However, once again, this tiny independent label has given us some mighty impressive music from the likes of The Room, Tom Slatter, Simon Godfrey, The Fierce and the Dead and Twice Bitten, among others, all of which can be sampled at the link below:

Bad Elephant Music

I tried to get it down to a top 15, never mind a top ten, but that proved too difficult so, here it is, Progradar’s top 20 albums of 2015. Don’t see the position as being too indicative as, really, albums 20-6 could be in any given order on any given day, the quality is that close. The top 5, however, are my definitive top 5 albums for 2015.

Enough pre-amble, here we go……

20 – Transport Aerian – Dark Blue

A deeply dark, disturbing and highly original work of art from this talented, serious musician. Well worth a listen but, be afraid, very afraid!

19 – Steve Rothery – The Ghosts of Pripyat

Marillion’s guitarist is venturing further afield with his solo work and it’s simple, faraway beauty is quite inspiring. Put your feet up, get your headphones on, lay back and relax.

18 – Barock Project – Skyline

An unexpected highlight of the year, hopefully the fourth album by this extremely talented and still relatively young band will see them break into the mainstream of the progressive rock market. I for one think that, with music as deeply enjoyable and illuminating as this, that they definitely deserve it!

17 – The Aaron Clift Experiment – Outer Light, Inner Darkness

A new release full of sophistication and depth and powerful, thoughtful songs that resonate deeply with you. An album about duality, darkness and light and imbued with intricate compositions, complex arrangements and virtuosic performances, you will want this delight in your collection, trust me…..

16 – Mystery – Delusion Rain

2015 saw Canadian prog-rockers Mystery return with  a new album and a new lead singer and it was as if they’d never been away. Jean Pageau has a voice that fits perfectly with the melodic progressive rock that the band deliver with aplomb. The epic track The Willow Tree is a superb, intricate and emotional hit of passion and takes the album from merely good to very good indeed.

15 – Hibernal – After the Winter

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdPh-mbJh0c

Mark Healy’s cinematic and evocative soundscapes waft over a post-apocalyptic spoken word storyline to deliver an immensely visceral listening experience.

14 – Built for the Future – Chasing Light

‘Chasing Light’ is one of those rare albums that grabs you immediately AND keeps on getting better with every listen. Built for the Future’s debut release is a thing of rare wonder that resonates with me on a personal level, their commitment to delivering music that connects deeply with the listener has produced a record that shines brightly.

13 – Sylvium – Waiting for the Noise

Superb progressive rock with tones of Porcupine Tree and Riverside. A musical experience that emphasizes emotions rather than the eternal quest for a perfect pop song.

12 – The Wynntown Marshalls – The End of the Golden Age

Scottish tinged Americana with powerful and haunting songwriting and outstanding musicianship.

11 – Echolyn – I Heard You Listening

Storytelling by music, getting to the heart of the matter and opening up small town America. A band I have heard little of in the past, this new album will definitely change that, a melting pot of sweet melodies and delicious harmonies.

10 – Tiger Moth Tales – Storytellers Part One

An album that is even better than the delights of ‘Cocoon’. My inner child is brought to the fore by the magic, charm and allure of ‘Story Tellers Part 1′, it takes me away to an inner nirvana where nothing can touch me or spoil my mood.

9 – Comedy of Errors – Spirit

Do you believe music has soul? I do and, when it is as deeply involving and emotionally uplifting (and draining to be honest!) as this, it becomes life affirming in many ways. All the songs were written by Jim Johnston but I’m sure even he would agree that they are given life by the whole of Comedy of Errors.

8 – Glass Hammer – The Breaking of the World

It could have been this studio album or the equally impressive ‘Glass Hammer – Live’, recorded at this year’s RosFest but, first, let’s get the Yes comparison out of the way, these guys do traditional progressive rock so well they have transcended that to stand in their own circle of praise. A highly impressive effort once again.

7 – Karnataka – Secrets of Angels

The first album written specifically for vocalist Hayley Griffith’s voice, a symphonic prog- rock masterpiece with towering anthems and delicate ballads concluding with the epic twenty-minute plus title track.

6 – The Tangent – A Spark in the Aether

A return to traditional progressive rock, incredibly addictive, flippant and irreverent and, well, just darn good fun!

5 – Big Big Train – Wassail (yes, I know it’s only an E.P. but I like it!!)

You can put your heroes on a pedestal to be knocked off when they don’t reach your lofty expectations but, with ‘Wassail’, Big Big Train have just enhanced their reputation as purveyors of unique and sublime progressive rock which is founded on the elemental history of this blessed isle. A history that is fundamental to the everlasting allure of this captivating group of musicians.

4 – Arcade Messiah – Arcade Messiah II

‘Arcade Messiah II’ takes all that was good with the first album and enhances by taking the raw, coruscating energy of the first release and developing it into a superb sound that, while holding nothing back, is full of nuances and intelligence. A ‘Wall of Sound’ that makes Phil Spector’s look like a diminutive picket fence and it is quite possibly the best thing this highly talented musician has ever produced.

3 – Maddison’s Thread – Maddison’s Thread

Folk is rooted at the core of Maddison’s Way but this album is all about the music and the way Lee can diversify with aplomb is very impressive. A contender for album of the year for me and one that will stay with me for a very long time.

2- Subsignal – The Beacons of Somewhere Sometime

See, this is why these bloody lists are only subjective. I had mine all worked out and then I listened to the fourth album from German band Subsignal and it was blown out of the water. Arisen from the ashes of the great Sieges Even, the first three albums by the band failed to really hit the heights for me. Well, all is most definitely forgiven as ‘The Beacons of Somewhere Sometime’ has just hit me right on the correct spot and elevated them to a higher level. It has a real emotional depth to it and is one that is highly, highly recommended, nearly making it to the top spot…..

1 – Riverside – Love, fear and the Time Machine

So, after a tough fight it is Polish band Riverside that take the crown this year. I have always been a fan of this band without actually loving their work. All that changed with this years beautiful release. There is a depth and maturity to this release that resonates deep to the core. The fragile, breaking vocals and signature sound have taken the band to the forefront of the progressive rock genre and, in this album, they have left behind a musical legacy of which anyone can be proud.

 

 

 

Riverside Live at Islington Assembly Hall – 20th October 2015 – by Aidan Campbell

Providing the first live guest review is Aidan Campbell. Not a bad gig either, Riverside live at the Islington Assembly Hall…..

Riverside Live 2

This will be the third time I have seen the Polish prog-rock band live and, for some reason, this will be the third time they are in playing in a venue in the North London borough of Islington.  I saw them in 2013 and 2014 at the Academy but this time they are at the Assembly Hall, a venue just up the road and about 10 minute walk from Angel tube station.

The band come on stage around 9pm and launch straight into Lost, the opening song from their new album ‘Love, Fear and The Time Machine’.

Consisting of vocalist and bassist Mariusz Duda, keyboardist Michal Lapaj and founder members Piotr Grudziński on guitar and Piotr Kozieradzki on drums, the quartet are on fine form tonight. The undoubted star of the show, however is Michal, using a Korg Kronos for piano, he creates some wonderful, delicate passages on We Got Used to Us and some mighty Hammond organ on songs such as Hyperactive and The Depth of Self-Delusion.

It is when he gets onto the Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 that the real magic happens.  The pulsating arpeggios adding a futuristic element to the Riverside sound, a song like the superb 9 minute Egoist Hedonist would sound totally different without Michal doing what he does with that synth.

Song wise the highlight for me, probably, is Escalator Shrine. Divided into 3 parts with a mid-tempo first section, a fast heavy second section, with some excellent Hammond organ playing from Michal (he is a fan of the late Jon Lord), and a slow mellow third section.  As the 13 minute track finishes the crowd of 500 give it the biggest cheer of the evening.

Riverside only played 3 songs from the new album but that is not too much of an issue when you have so many great songs in their back catalogue and only 2 hours to play them!

The band end their set with Found, the closing song from the new album and a sister song to Lost, which, together, bookend a very fine album and one of my favourites of the year.  They finished at 10:50pm after playing for just short of 2 hours, everyone going home happy after a great show. I even managed to make it back to King’s Cross in time for the 11:30 train back to Peterborough!

Riverside Live 3