Review Summary: In old, but new boots.
Polish prog act Riverside have been around since 2003 and have released six records and several EPs. From first album to the second, we heard a major change in musical style. Going from smooth and spine chillling melodies to heavy metal inspired riffs, Riverside proved to easily master different genres. And from the second to third release, they once again moved on from one place to another. And so forth, and so forth... What I'm saying is that Riverside have constantly evolved from one sound to another. I think vocalist/bassist Mariusz and his gang got nostalgic and moved back on old ground.
Atmospheric, dynamic and melancholic are perfect words in describing their newest release Love, Fear and the Time Machine
. It's quite similar to their first album, only with a more mature sound, stronger techninal complexity and a wider range of studio techniques and instruments. However, they still retain the classic Riverside sound with a shining, clean guitar and loud Hammond organ. Songs like "Under the Pillow" have the perfect, soothing and modernized sound that they have adopted over the years. It features no fast and heavy riffs, but calming passages and guitar solos, rocking Hammond riffs and overlapping music. On the other hand, you have more radio-orientated songs such as "#Addicted" which is more upbeat and funky, but with twists like when the song is abruptly split up with a one-minute acoustic outro similar to "02 Panic Room" .
Mariusz' voice has also evolved over the years. Instead of becoming abrasive (like many do), his voice has become clearer. He's not half-screaming like he's done ocasionally or singing slightly low, no, it's more prominent and better than ever. His bass guitar got a rounder sound this time around. Unfortunately, it's tuned down just a tad (I love loud bass), but you can still hear it without problems throughout the album. The two Piotrs are also doing fine work. Piotr the guitarist maintains his classical, shrieking sound, but with a more delicate and clear sound. He is perhaps the most featured player here, and his work can always be heard whether electrical or not. Piotr the drummer is more laid-back and less "metal" than before. Despite this, his drumming does not drag down in any way, in fact, all these things work spectacularly well all together when blended into each other.
What's very interesting about Riverside is that they never seem to release anything bad. All of their music has excellent quality. Love, Fear and the Time Machine
delivers it all. Just like its album cover, it's atmospheric and ethereal. Just like "Afloat", it's floating and flowing through a pleasant stream of chill music. I would describe this album as a mix of 70s Pink Floyd, and strangely enough, Steven Wilson's Hand. Cannot. Erase.
. Almost all tracks seem to be placed neatly and carefully, and the music very rarely gets tiresome. The longest song "Towards the Blue Horizon" manages to bring out everything that's nice with Riverside. Go and buy this album, get lost, get trapped.