Riverside
Shrine Of New Generation Slaves


4.0
excellent

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
January 21st, 2013 | 147 replies


Release Date: 01/21/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The fifth Riverside album showcases the ongoing evolution of the outfit integrating a new set of blues and hard rock influences into their superbly performed brand of progressive rock.

The first letters of the words in the title of Riverside's new album form the word 'songs' and aptly so. Decidedly the most popular Polish progressive rock band has always been concerned about crafting actual songs rather than overly complex compositions that require plenty of time to decipher. Shrine Of New Generation Slaves is no exception in this respect delivering a collection of accessible progressive rock tunes. However, the album also makes substantial alterations to the outfit's core sound. While their previous full-length delved into progressive metal that was primarily inspired by Dream Theater, this endeavour merges their signature art rock with classic hard rock and blues influences. Not only have bluesy, often psychedelic riffs become an integral part of the quartet's sound, but also numerous songs feature extensive Hammond organ segments. On top of that are improved vocals of Mariusz Duda whose penchant for powerful melodies feels more apparent than ever before.

The discernible shift in style propels the first single “Celebrity Touch,” which juxtaposes a sturdy, Southern rock-ingrained groove with perfectly paced, atmospheric art rock passages to startling effect. “Feel Like Falling” comes as another highlight blending infectious vocal harmonies with stomping bass lines and heavily distorted guitar play featuring great kaleidoscopic soloing. In result, this rocker sounds like nothing Riverside have done before referencing both Peter Gabriel and Rush in the process. No matter how impressive the other tracks are, “Escalator Shrine” is evidently the pinnacle of the record. In its over 12-minute running time, the epic intricately advances from a blues jam built around terrific guitar licks and muddy keys to an expansive progressive rock anthem, culminating in a nearly pastoral section with grandeur.

For every attempt at dynamic songwriting, there's a cut that encompasses an inclination towards subtler, more contemplative arrangements being perfectly in line with the foursome's pre-Anno Domini High Definition work. “The Depth Of Self-Delusion” definitely stands out among other significantly less enticing ballads. The song begins with a hypnotic Tool-echoing rhythmic pattern only to give way to Mariusz Duda's plaintive voice and splendidly arranged accompaniment enriched with acoustic guitar, strings and cymbals. It's a shame that “We Got Used To Us” and “Deprived” fail to make an equally strong impression settling in the safe confines of ethereal art rock. The latter is slightly more alluring drifting into ambient and a fine saxophone solo in its second half.

Thematically Shrine Of New Generation Slaves revolves around the enslavement of an individual in the course of ongoing technological progress. While the lyrics generally convey this concept rather well, the clunky lines occasionally pop up. The main offender seems to be the opener which is overly straightforward tackling its timely subject matter in a heavy manner. This shortcoming hardly affects the quality of music though. At its core, the fifth Riverside album showcases the further evolution of the outfit integrating a new set of classic rock influences into their superbly performed brand of progressive rock. Even though the record would definitely benefit from more consistent song craft, the new direction taken by Riverside is nothing short of enthralling resulting in songs that impress as much with intricate arrangements as with a permeating sense of levity.




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user ratings (216)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Austin (4)
...

johnny of the Well (3.5)
Where quality and interest part ways...

Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (4)
Chances are, it will grow on you....


Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
January 20th 2013


7421 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The video for "Celebrity Touch":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAqU-RDnYyY

Digging: Dope Body - Lifer

cb123
January 20th 2013


2031 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

gotta get on this

greg84
Staff Reviewer
January 20th 2013


7421 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It really grows on you. I thought it was a 3.5 on my first spin, but then I realized I can't stop listening to it.

cb123
January 20th 2013


2031 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice, better than ADHD? thought that was a fairly weak effort after their first 3 which i loved

greg84
Staff Reviewer
January 20th 2013


7421 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I enjoyed ADHD just fine, but I slightly prefer this to it. Their first two records were really good. The third one not so much imo.

Tyrael
January 20th 2013


20901 Comments


Yesssssssssssss

getting this now

FearThyEvil
January 20th 2013


12629 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Definitely looking forward to listening to this.

tiesthatbind
January 20th 2013


7377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, I definitely need to listen to this asap. I'm glad to hear they brought back some of the subtlety of the early albums, that's what I was hoping for the most with this album.

Digging: Poets of the Fall - Signs of Life

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
January 20th 2013


7098 Comments


Yes, also, Feature this. Been jamming this for a couple of days now. about a 4.5er. Gregs right it does grow on you.

TheCrocodile
January 20th 2013


257 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Feel Like Falling is so good. Great review too.

bloc
January 20th 2013


34925 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Eh, I ain't getting the same vibe as you, Greg.

PistolPete
January 20th 2013


3630 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Heeeyyyyyy dis is good newz!!!

Digging: O'Brother - Garden Window

PistolPete
January 20th 2013


3630 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

man when "escalator shrine" really picks up, things get a little sexy!

greg84
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2013


7421 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys. Feel Like Falling, Escalator Shrine and Celebrity Touch definitely rank among their very best tracks imo.

@bloc:
I was very skeptical at first, but this won me over in time. I suggest giving it some more spins.


menawati
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2013


16057 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"bluesy, often psychedelic riffs become an integral part of the quartet's sound"

Got me interested there, their earlier albums always seemed impressive but I never ever listen to them. Your comparison with DT seems correct bcos it all seemed a bit dry and soulless. Wasnt going to bother with this but will give it a try after reading your review. Pos.

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

greg84
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2013


7421 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I have a feeling you'll like it man. It has some really cool psychedelic and blues influences on top of art rock ingrained in their first two albums.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2013


28659 Comments


congrats on the feature

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

OmairSh
January 21st 2013


11557 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Eh, I ain't getting the same vibe as you, Greg. [2]

And dammit you beat me to the review

Digging: Mono - Hymn To The Immortal Wind

johnnydeking29
January 21st 2013


9235 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Looking forward to hearing this

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

OmairSh
January 21st 2013


11557 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Your comparison with DT seems correct bcos it all seemed a bit dry and soulless"

Ouch mena, ouch

Glad to see a Riverside review featured, props Greg



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