(9/10) Polish prog rockers Riverside is a well-known and well-respected prog metal outfit that launched six longplayers before a stroke of fate hit the band. It was in February 2016 when guitarist and founding member Piotr Grudziński died of a sudden cardiac arrest. From one moment to another things haven’t been anymore like they were before. A planned tour was cancelled and basically things stood still in the Riverside camp.
To honor the lost band member and friend, Riverside released an album the same year, entitled ‘Eye of the Soundscapes’. The album is a different but great. It is a compilation of old and new material that also includes the last takes of Piotr Grudziński.
At the same time Riverside announced that they will continue as a trio. On stage they get support by Maciej Meller, who also added some solo parts on this album, but the band stays a trio for the time being. As Mariusz Duda described “everything has to have its place and time”.
Two years after tragedy hit Riverside, the band returns and is back in the game with a new album. The longplayer is entitled ‘Wasteland’ and features nine new songs. It’s hard to compare this release with the previous ones since ‘Wasteland’ stands for the beginning of a new era. It’s almost as if the band would unveil another debut. In general I can say that the seventh Riverside offer includes excellently composed music that mixes emotional depth and musical skills to a great total. And, Riverside is still Riverside.
The overarching vibe though became darker and more melancholic. Furthermore the album has a wider approach when it comes to music. Being heavy and even harsh on the one hand is balanced with calmer and almost fragile moments, showing the entire spectrum of Riverside’s music.
The a-capella intro ‘The Day After’ is an unusual beginning and frames, together with the piano-based ending ‘The Night Before’, the entire album. These are very soulful moments and ‘Guardian Angel’ is another one while songs like ‘Acid Rain’ and ‘The Struggle for Survival’ show the harder side of the album.
A song you should have heard is ‘Lament’. It’s my personal highlight on ‘Wasteland’. It has an exciting flow by jumping between harder and softer sequences. Last but not least it’s the mind-blowing chorus that creates fascination and it’s the addition of violins that adds an extra touch to this moving song.
Like said earlier, Riverside stays Riverside and still the drastic situation in 2016 impacted the prog masters. ‘Wasteland’ is a first chapter in a new era of the band that can be as exciting as the previous one.
1. The Day After
2. Acid Rain
Part I. Where Are We Now?
Part II. Dancing Ghosts
3. Vale Of Tears
4. Guardian Angel
6. The Struggle For Survival
Part I. Dystopia
Part II. Battle Royale
7. River Down Below)
9. The Night Before
Genre: Prog Rock
Release Date EU: September 28th, 2018