RIVERSIDE — Memories In My Head (review)

RIVERSIDE — Memories In My Head album cover EP · 2011 · Metal Related Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
[review originally published on http://thecennsor.wordpress.com/]

If this blog had readers, they would know the Cennsor usually don’t deals with EPs. So if I am, it must mean one or more of the following: I especially like the band; it’s really good stuff; it’s a nice way to get introduced to the band’s grander-of-scope works. Memories In My Head is actually all of them.

A few words about Riverside: it’s a very talented band hailing from Poland, a country, or so it seems to me, abounding (especially in recent years) with rock talent in general, and a penchant for both the most extreme styles of metal and, on the other side, the most challenging meanders of prog. Riverside belongs to the latter, and let me clear some ground here, if a bit hastily: in spite of what you’ll hear about them, they actually don’t have much to do with Opeth. Or so they sound to me (subjectivity in musical taste is never too much stressed on).

To be honest, I didn’t give many chances to Opeth after a few brutal disappointments, nor I’ve listened to any of their most recent work which, so I hear, marked a shift in the band’s style, not sure in which direction. But from my (tiny) knowledge of earlier Opeth and (deeper) acquaintance with Riverside, I can safely state they don’t have much in common. Or let’s put it this way: what Opeth do in a disorderly (some would say: “experimental”) way, Riverside do with grace and much more taste in melody. Relaxed to “depressed” to aggressive vocals punctuate a soft yet absorbing keyboard+(generally) soft guitar layer, woven into a solid (but never too thick) thread of “oniric” sound, if I may call it so. What Riverside are masters at, is to gently force you to a musical walk along the most impervious of all grounds, i.e. the human mind.

Again, they do it with grace: their music is nowhere near a crazy mess you might expect from such a concept. Instead, they kind of take you step by step, and even the extremes you find yourself taken to sound natural, just like the right evolution of the sounds you’re surrounded by. So it’s with a good pair of earphones and a relaxed context (read: lying on a bed, thinking of nothing) that you’ll get the most out of what Riverside can offer.

That’s also the case with Memories In My Head, and that’s why I deemed it “good stuff”. Personally, I also like the heavier direction they took on their previous full-lenght Anno Domini High Definition, a characteristic their sound has always had, also masterfully combined with their general softness and care for melody. But Memories In My Head, except for a good half of Living In The Past, has no massive presence of that. On this EP, the softer tones definitely prevail, and that’s partly also why it does a nice introduction to the band.

Affectionate listeners will likely point out the biggest differences with any previous Riverside work are to be found, like I said, on Anno Domini High Definition. For when you compare Memories In My Head to the older stuff, a safe sense of relief finds its way into you: the band’s not taken any “experimental” awkward new directions. Riverside‘s music is still the same old, never tiresome (I’m obviously appealing to like-minded fellow listeners here) journey into our conscious-with-whatever-prefix. Sometimes placid, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes angry, sometimes psychedelic in the good old way.

THUS SPAKE THE CENNSOR: The nice triplet Riverside has offered us (amounting to more than half an hour of music, which alone deserves high praise) on this Memories In My Head doesn’t go very far from what they’ve accustomed us to, which to me (and many of you, I’m guessing) is nothing but good news. When you’re feeling like you need to relax (or already are and don’t wanna let the feeling fade), and don’t mind exploring some well hidden recesses of your mind through music, Riverside is still the best choice possible. Memories In My Head will as much please the old fans as hopefully acquaint many new ones with them. 7/10
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