Riverside
Shrine Of New Generation Slaves


3.5
great

Review

by johnny of the Well USER (38 Reviews)
January 27th, 2013 | 17 replies


Release Date: 01/21/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Where quality and interest part ways

Riverside had ideas for this album; that much is clear from a glance at the song names (and album name), which immediately suggests a common theme (disillusion with the modern lifestyle and an attack on how civilisation has become vapid and purposeless). On first listen, it’s clear that they knew how they wanted to communicate those ideas musically; the album is well-structured, cohesive and consistent. There is a lot here that typically ticks all the boxes for me when I listen through a new album; variety, ambition, excellent vocals and skilled songwriting. However, at the end of Shrine of New Generation Slaves, I can’t help but feel like something’s missing. Thinking back over it, there are no obvious major faults – the lyrics could have been better, but their delivery was easily convincing enough for me to overlook that – but it nevertheless feels underwhelming. And then it hit me; despite the quality of the album, it simply isn’t interesting enough to leave a lasting impression.

This might seem like a very harsh statement, and slightly nonsensical given the praise I’ve already given the album, but when considered carefully it makes perfect sense; at its worst, the album almost falls flat – the whimsical regret of We Got Used To Us, the power and energy of Feel Like Falling and the epic introduction of New Generation Slave are all executed well, but somehow avoid being engaging at all – and at its best it creates a captivating art-rock-inspired atmosphere that entrances the listener while he/she is actually listening, but fails to leave much of an impression after listening (The Depth of Self-Delusion and Escalator Shrine are prime examples). The exceptions to this are the single Celebrity Touch, which contains a monster riff that acts as the album’s single hook and maintains an upbeat feel throughout that is enhanced by varied dynamics, and Deprived (Irretrievably Lost Imagiation), which features an intriguingly mysterious vibe that is maintained throughout, a fascinating bridge, and excellent saxophone solo that allow the song’s atmosphere to linger with the listener after it ends.

Although it has a definite lack of memorable features, there is some good that can be said of Shrine of New Generation Slaves. As I mentioned before, vocalist Mariusz Duda is solid throughout, contributing a performance that avoids the emotionless dreadfulness that seems to permeate so much of modern prog. The musicianship is solid as well on all fronts, with tasteful solos and effective melodies in display throughout the album, and a frequent use of the Hammond Organ, which adds a vintage vibe to the album. Finally, the band’s songwriting abilities are excellent; their ideas are all structured and presented very well and each song feels like it runs its course naturally. Although none of these factors are enough to make the album particularly interesting, they do make it enjoyable while being listened to.

So, for an album that has virtually no replay value and seems to delete itself from the listener’s memory as soon as it finishes, Shrine of New Generation Slaves is pretty damn good. If you’re looking for an album that will stay with you for a while, look somewhere else, but if you want a take on modern prog that has its roots firmly in the past (outside of Wilson and Akerfeldt’s shameless 70s tributes), then you may well find this rewarding.

Top 5

1. Deprived
2. Celebrity Touch
3. Escalator Shrine
4. The Depth of Self-Delusion
5. We Got Used to Us

Quality: 4/5
Impression: 2/5
Verdict: 3.5/5



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3.9
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Comments:Add a Comment 
johnnydeking29
January 26th 2013


9077 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Was tired as fuck when I wrote this and couldn't be bothered to check it

Digging: Dark Tranquillity - Character

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2013


16023 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Still need to listen to this, great review pos.
Dont like the ratings bits you put at the end of your reviews man, they are strong enough to stand on their own without that.

Digging: iamthemorning - Belighted

tiesthatbind
January 26th 2013


7374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Solid review man, though this has had great replay value for me. But you really should get Second Life Syndrome if this is your first Riverside album, I guarantee you'll feel differently about that one.

Digging: xSPONGEXCOREx - How Tough Are Yah?

Underflow
January 26th 2013


2563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, SLS is the shit.

Yazz_Flute
January 26th 2013


18783 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

And then it hit me; despite the quality of the album, it simply isn’t interesting enough to leave a lasting impression."


Use a colon instead of a semi-colon there.

I pretty much agree with all of your points, except that the riff in Celebrity Touch is terrible.

Digging: Battles - Mirrored

CaptainDooRight
January 27th 2013


29131 Comments


what an excellent rev, pohsd

Digging: Kangding Ray - Solens Arc

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2013


4424 Comments


Really good write-up, Johnny. POS'd. I'm enjoying this album myself.

johnnydeking29
January 27th 2013


9077 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"Dont like the ratings bits you put at the end of your reviews man, they are strong enough to stand on their own without that."
Normally I only rank the top 5 now, but I thought it was important to emphasize the difference between quality and interest once more

" But you really should get Second Life Syndrome if this is your first Riverside album, I guarantee you'll feel differently about that one."
Yeah, I'm defo going to check that sometime


MeatSalad
January 27th 2013


14538 Comments


Not a fan of this band at all, but good review man

greg84
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2013


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I definitely don't agree that the album isn't engaging enough. It's a solid review though. Have a pos.

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

OmairSh
January 27th 2013


11053 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Meat you should definitely give this band more listens, there's loads of quality on offer

Digging: Leprous - Coal

Mad.
January 27th 2013


3828 Comments


I thought Celebrity Touch was one of the weaker, more emotionless tracks...

tiesthatbind
January 27th 2013


7374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Deprived
The Depth of Self-Delusion
Escalator Shrine/Coda
Feel Like Falling
We Got Used To Us
Celebrity Touch
New Generation Slave

That's how I'd rank the album right now.

MeatSalad
January 27th 2013


14538 Comments


I'll try omair but I couldn't really get into sls

OmairSh
January 28th 2013


11053 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hammond Organ FTMFW! Michal kicking ridiculous amount of ass as always

I understand what you saying Johnny, pretty much how I feel. New Generation Slave's really friggin
enjoyable.

MaidenUFO
June 20th 2013


153 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

From the first listen, i was expecting a better album....But, lets see...

OmairSh
August 25th 2013


11053 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Bonus tracks are actually pretty good, some great keyboard work



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