Riverside
ID.Entity


2.7
average

Review

by Robert Garland STAFF
January 22nd, 2023 | 66 replies


Release Date: 01/20/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pearl-clutching at the fabric of the past.

For me Riverside will always be one of those “I’ve got to be in the mood for it” bands. That’s not a slur, I just prefer hearing Shrines Of New Generation Slaves and Anno Domini High Definition where they would have the most pensive impact. With that in mind it would make sense that my attention (regrettably) would wane with the passing of lead guitarist Piotr Grudziński. The band’s soul became noticeably torn, and Piotr’s pivotal creative input felt distinctly left behind. There was respect in picking up the pieces and pushing forwards, but Riverside and the coinciding Wasteland felt like a hollow shell of itself—memory and placation stumbling over the finish line as the band and its subsequent fans mourned together. Looking back, I was perhaps a little harsh, left raw by the nostalgic appreciation of the Riverside of old. More modern Riverside albums simply lacked the baser impact I preferred and that’s my cross to bear.

In looking a little closer to the ‘now’ and it would seem that ID.Entity would return to the original formula, both in title wordplay (S.O.N.G.S. and A.D.H.D. being prime examples) and in musical style. The missteps are still here, but ID.Entity is a tentative step in the right direction while citing relatable lyrical poise (especially if you’re still feeling the repercussions of that pandemic we still seem to be having) and brooding instrumentalism. In parts, ID.Entity is spectacular, a visage reminiscent of the band’s better days. Grand compositions are simply bolstered by technical flamboyance balanced with musical restraint. A paradigm of noises made both to amaze and simply carry the listener on this voyage of musical self-discovery only to turn modern day grievances into songs played over and over again. Unfortunately, that’s exactly where ID.Entity begins to run into issues.

ID.Entity itself is a mixed bag caught in a conflicting need to be musically expressive and lyrically relevant. As pretty and on point as the band’s musicianship is (occasionally dipping its pointed little toes into a synth-led soundscape more commonly found on a The Flower Kings album), it’s the story-telling that blurs the lines, messes the canvas and otherwise prevents ID.Entity from being the record long-time fans deserve. Don’t get me wrong—Riverside’s 2023 piece isn’t a write-off. ID.Entity, or rather vocalist Mariusz Duda is just confused as to how to get all the words out. Vocally, he’s gently caressing, a trait found consistent across the band’s larger discography—but here, the delivery is clearly lacking, either stumbling into an unready stanza or simply not belonging to the music it’s composed over.

Even the voice samplings, like the more prominent example found in the beginning of “Big Tech Brother” sound misplaced. Sure, contextually it hits the proverbial nail on the head, identifying modern day catches and possible ramifications of blindly accepting just how dependent on technology society has become but they’re a cringe, overstuffing the motif before a single lyric is sung. It’s a shame because the messages themselves are poignant and on point. “Self-Aware”, the record’s closing track also falls into similar trappings. Duda croons “unsubscribe the ones who make us hostile” to a nth degree finding too many syllables to articulate a sense of hook, adverse lyrics kill all sense of flow and direction. The music is beautiful. These lyrics are not.

Perhaps I find myself being a little too harsh at an album just trying to establish an identity after the loss of a more prominent songwriter. Wasteland itself is more likely the last flashes in a pan left over from such an example. For Riverside themselves there’s both a lot to work with and a lot working for them—lyrically however they’re hurting. Longtime fans will rejoice in the fact that they are trying, fingers tight curled around their past in the hopes that just maybe Riverside will surface anew. Unfortunately, Riverside themselves will search a little longer for their new ID.Entity.



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3.5
great
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 22nd 2023


17517 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

This review was meant to go up a week ago. You're welcome.

Trifolium
January 22nd 2023


34459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh no voice samples! Great review, my expectations are low but who knows!

Willie
Moderator
January 22nd 2023


19319 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4 | Sound Off

The review is well written and well argued... but I disagree. This is probably my favorite Riverside album since way back with Rapid Eye Movement.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 22nd 2023


17517 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

Have you been listening to this on and off since the promo came out Trey? My initial perception really changed the more I listened to it. It's got some real lyrical fatigue.

Shiranui
January 22nd 2023


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Big Tech Brother has got a lil' bit of Queen in there, me thinks.

Willie
Moderator
January 22nd 2023


19319 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4 | Sound Off

I have been listening to it since the promo came out. I was going to review it if you decided not to, so I wanted to be familiar with it. Some of the lyrics are stupid, for sure, but I've always been one to take a song in as a whole and rarely ever focus on lyrics.

TalonsOfFire
Emeritus
January 23rd 2023


20509 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Pretty much agreed with the review, lyrics were cringy and awkwardly delivered. He's generally been quite a good singer. Easily my least favorite Riverside, but still one of the best modern progressive rock and/or metal bands of mid 2000s to the mid 2010s. The instrumental bonus tracks are very good tho, especially Together Again.

I feel like most prog bands should maybe give up trying to have singing and lyrics. Why is it that the better the instrumentalists are in a band and more complex the music, the worse the lyrics and/or vocals have to be. I guess that's a law of life.

Kopkiwi
January 23rd 2023


69 Comments


Great review, if not completely....wrong. Could not disagree more.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2023


17517 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

I'd love to see someone with a different take to this. Personally after Wasteland I was hoping they'd fall back in line with something like s.o.n.g.s but it simply didn't happen for me.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2023


28867 Comments


I never heard this band before and what i heard of this album didn't really grabbed me.

Great rev though, always happy to read you brother.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2023


17517 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

If you're looking for a place to start, definitely give Shrines... a go.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2023


28867 Comments


Oh sweet it was released on January 2013 so it fits perfect on my maniac listening plan. Will give it a check!

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2023


17517 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

Consider that my rec then. Lazy, but considered : ]

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2023


49769 Comments


I think Shrines is one of two albums that we have both reviewed lol. Do I bother with this one?

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2023


17517 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

How well do you cope with pretty voices and syllables in the wrong places?

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2023


49769 Comments


My gf gave me an adorable hiphop CD for Christmas but something tells me this is different fish in a different kettle
Imma do fry?

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2023


17517 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

I would definitely maybe find the time for a casual listen, but I would not call this essential to the year of 2023 music listening.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2023


28867 Comments


Also how long are gonna be avatarless lol we look like we just joined the damn site

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2023


17517 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

Still a bunch of 1970 staff writers we are.

Trifolium
January 23rd 2023


34459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah I thought I accidentally clicked a list instead of an album thread at first because of all the avatarless staffers.



Rooting for you!!!



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