“I remember the moment when we officially announced that we would continue as a trio, We were doing a photoshoot at the Polish seaside. I said to the guys, ‘Let’s remember that this is just the beginning. Many of our fans can’t imagine an album without Grudzień and for some of them the band ceased to exist when he died. We have to prove that we are able to survive not only by playing concerts but, most of all, by recording a new album.”
Riverside is moving on as a trio, after the tragic passing of their guitarist- Piotr Gruzdiski. After listening to their new album, I feel that this album is an introduction to the band’s new identity, and a very powerful statement. The role of a guitar player in a prog band is pretty big, and the sound of Gruzdinski definitely helped define the signature sound of Riverside. So, I was pretty curious to see where would the band go next. After hearing this album I can say that it really does mark a new chapter in the band’s life. I feel that Piotr is missed in certain moments but overall I really like the atmosphere that this album creates.
This album really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting to hear this kind of Riverside. It is a good thing that, after 6 albums, a band can surprise in such a way. I was expecting the album to be heavy, and more similar to “Rapid Eye Movement”, or “Second Life Syndrome”. The album was actually entirely different, probably from anything that they have ever done. sure, it has its heavy moments, but I’d say it’s like a combination of their 2 previous releases with heavy moments here and there.
The guitars on this album are obviously different but are still able to create a whole atmosphere around the song and pull the listener in. The album has many deep moments and is very intense at times. You can hear there’s a lot of emotion put into this record which takes the listener into an emotional roller coaster. I think it also breaks new ground with certain songs that we never heard anything like them before from Riverside- like “The Struggle for Survival” which is the album’s epic track. The song is a 9 minute instrumental that takes the listener to all these different places and is really interesting! Riverside has never written a song like that.
To tell you the truth, I love Riverside and it’s hard for me to be objective. I loved the album, but at the same time I know it’s not the return to their heavier sound. If you liked their latest album “Love, Fear and the Time Machine”, I think you’ll love this one. It’s similar but with a twist. It has heavy moments and things that are totally different.
So let’s go over the tracks:
- “The Day After”: It’s a cool opener to the album. Not very long, but I think it sets the mood for the album just right. They played an extended version of it live. I actually really like the extended version and think it’s better than the regular version. Tt can be heard here:
- “Acid Rain”: It’s a heavy song, and it resembles the heavier moments of their 2 previous albums more than the heavy moments of “Anno Dominici”, or “Second Life Syndrome”. Still, I love this style and think the presence of the guitar in the song is pretty cool. You almost expect to hear Piotr’s guitar, but it is still great.
- “Vale Of Tears”: The first single. it has a great vibe to it. I think it has a different feel to it when you listen to it as a part of a whole album. You’ve probably all heard it. if not here it is:
- “Guardian Angel”: This song is one of my favorites. It actually reminds me of Lunatic Soul. it’s a soulful ballad, very atmospheric and very touching. I don’t know why but that song really stuck with me.
- “Lament”: An amazing song, featuring a great combination of heavy moments with sad melodic ones. The whole song is pretty melodic but they managed to spice things up with cool heavy parts and a great guitar solo.
- “The Struggle For Survival”: As mentioned above, this song was a real surprise. It’s not like Riverside never wrote instrumental songs before, but I think this one is an exception. First of all, it’s the longest song on the album. When I saw the running time and track listing I was sure this was going to be the usual epic of the album (like Second Life Syndrome), but it’s very different. It has different parts with completely different themes. Since it takes you away to all of these different places, I guess it is the epic of the album. I really liked it, but it took a few listens to completely get what they were trying to achieve with this song. Now, it’s one of my favorite songs in the album.
- “River Down Below”: LOVE this song. It pulled me in from the very beginning. Can be heard right here:
- “Wasteland”: The title track. This song is actually really interesting. It’s hard for me to describe the feel I’m getting with this one. It has a specific structure of letting things build up, and then fall down only to be built up again. also, like most of the album it’s very melody-driven.
- “The Night Before”: Probably the most emotional track on the album. It’s mostly just piano and vocals. A great conclusion to this album, very fitting.
To sum things up, this album is an appropriate continuation to their latest work. I feel that the band was trying to reinvent themselves in a way with this album. Most of the time it’s the same Riverside we know and love, but sometimes it sounds completely different, and that’s impressive. It’s a very bold statement, showing their fans that they’ve decided to move on, and create something new.