RIVERSIDE — Shrine of New Generation Slaves

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RIVERSIDE - Shrine of New Generation Slaves cover
4.27 | 51 ratings | 12 reviews
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Album · 2013

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1. New Generation Slave (04:17)
2. The Depth of Self-Delusion (07:39)
3. Celebrity Touch (06:48)
4. We Got Used To Us (04:12)
5. Feel Like Faling (05:17)
6. Deprived (Irretrievably Lost Imagination) (08:26)
7. Escalator Shrine (12:41)
8. Coda (01:39)

Total time 50:59


- Piotr "Mittloff" Kozieradzki / Drums
- Piotr Grudziński / Guitars (lead)
- Mariusz Duda / Vocals , Bass , Guitars (acoustic)
- Michał Łapaj / Keyboards

About this release

InsideOut Music Records
January 21st, 2013
Artwork by Travis Smith
Produced by Riverside, Magda and Robert Srzedniccy in Serakos Studio, Warsaw

Thanks to bartosso for the addition and adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

The Crow
Four years after the outstanding Anno Domini High Definition and with another incredible EP in the middle (Memories in my Head) the best prog rock band from Poland released Shrine of New Generation Slaves.

This album is some kind of return to the origins for the band in songs like The Depth of Self-Delusion and We got Used to Us (much in the vein of the most intimate moments of Out of Myself and Second Life Syndrome) while they also explored some new territories in tracks like New Generation Salve and Escalator Shrine where they made their particular homage to the 70's rock with even some Deep Purple-sounding keyboards.

Sadly, some other tracks like the boring Deprived and the too commercial Celebrity Touch are not so inspired, but the overall quality of the album is high. I would highlight the very missed Piotr Grudzinski's work on this album, maybe his best and most ambiental, and the general lyrical concept of the album where the band shows an acid criticism towards the enslaver work rhythm of modern society, making this album some kind of conceptual sequel to Anno Domini High Definition (not so much musically)

Best Tracks: New Generation Slave, The Depth of Self-Delusion, We Got Used to Us, Escalator Shrine.

Conclusion: Shrine of New Generation Slaves is a conservative and innovative album at the same time, offering some typical Riverside songs while they also dared to explore new territories with strong outcomes, but sadly making a pair of mistakes in the process.

Nevertheless, this is another true excellent album of this incredible band which surely should be in every prog-rock collection.

My rating: ****

P.S.: this review was originally written for ProgArchives.com
"Shrine of New Generation Slaves" is the 5th full-length studio album by Polish progressive rock/ metal act Riverside. The album was released through InsideOut Music in January 2013. It´s the follow up to "Anno Domini High Definition" from 2009. Although Riverside have released a couple of minor releases in their intermediate years, it´s the longest time between album releases yet in the band´s discography.

To my ears the long break has done the band good. Maybe they´ve had some time to reflect on the direction of their music because "Shrine of New Generation Slaves" is a more mellow and subtle release than "Anno Domini High Definition (2009)" was. It´s also a more tasteful release and the full blown progressive metal sections on "Anno Domini High Definition (2009)" are not present on "Shrine of New Generation Slaves". Riverside are still capable of playing more metal oriented sections, but they are typically delivered in a 70s influenced hard rocking style that reminds me of Deep Purple or Rainbow, rather than the more contemporary progressive metal sound on the predecessor. I think it´s an important step back to what Riverside really excel in. Paired with their neo progressive Marillion influence and the alternative/progressive rock influence from a band like Porcupine Tree, "Shrine of New Generation Slaves" works really well to my ears. I don´t necessarily think, they are the most original sounding band, but they are really successful in making all their influences work together and thereby creating an impactful sound.

One of their greatest strengths is the emotional delivery and strong voice of lead vocalist/bassist Mariusz Duda, but the band are generally very well playing. Add to that a detailed and organic sound production and "Shrine of New Generation Slaves" really comes off as a high quality release. I´d call the whole album one big highlight, but hard pressed I´d chose tracks like "We got used to Us" and the 12:41 minutes long epic track "Escalator Shrine" as some of the standout tracks on the album. I know other people are far more impressed by "Anno Domini High Definition (2009)" than I am, but to my ears "Shrine of New Generation Slaves" is a welcome back to form and all in all a very enjoyable listen. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.
Shrine Of New Generation Slaves, from 2013, is the fifth full-length studio album by the superb Polish Progressive band Riverside.

If you haven’t heard Riverside yet, but are a fan of Prog, Neo-Prog or Prog Metal and especially if you are a fan of bands like Pink Floyd, Marillion, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Pain Of Salvation, Tool and Karnivool, then you really ought to at least check them out. They blend familiar sounds from many types and eras of progressive music into a distinctive and fresh sound all of their own, and manage to write great songs in the process.

To call Shrine Of The New Generation Slaves a departure from the band’s established sound may be a little bit of an overstatement, but its certainly no repeat of anything they’ve done before either. Don’t get me wrong, the band are still playing creative, interesting and thoughtful progressive music that is accessible but with a bit of depth, and that owes as much to the 1970s as it does to both the 80s and modern Prog and Prog Metal bands like they always do, but the mood of the record is very different.

Its a lot brighter, bouncier and almost happy sounding, which is not something you would usually associate with the band, save perhaps 2009’s ADHD album. Its definitely closer in spirit to ADHD than it is to 2011’s Memories In My Head EP, but then again its really not all that sonically similar to ADHD either when you get right down to it.

It feels like the band just want to mix it up a little and avoid becoming stale. The main riff from the lead single ‘Celebrity Touch’ for example sounds more like something from a stoner rock band, or perhaps even Coverdale era Deep Purple.

The title track; after a powerful intro reminiscent of the band’s Second Life Syndrome material, is a similarly fun and 70s sounding track. There are really heavy bits punctuating it, but the track is primarily constructed from fun bendy riffs and playful keyboards.

‘Feel Like Falling’ has an off-beat and synthetic tinge to it that is very reminiscent of the 1980s. Its fun, but fun in a completely different way. ‘Deprived’ by contrast is moody, hypnotic and jazzy sounding.

Then there’s the twelve-minute ‘Escalator Shine’, which at first sounds like a modern reimagining of Gentle Giant’s ‘In The Glass House’ doing a tour of different moods before it goes off on various tangents. At points, its the closest the band have ever come to sounding like Jethro Tull in a strange, small way but other sections are drenched in keys that remind you of Animals era Pink Floyd, then theirs fast bits that go a little Dream Theater-esque, vocal styles the band haven’t tried before and it even kicks off into big groove at one point.

The record ends on an acoustic number, which the band have done before, but this one has a much brighter, sweeter and more positive sound than any they’ve written in the past.

If you love the band’s early stuff already, don’t be scared off by reports of a drastic shift in sound and style. Its not so much a band reinventing themselves but rather the same bad in a different mood. They undeniably do try new things but their core sound is still detectable. There are still lots of proggy moments, bits that calm down into spacey moods and Mariusz’s distinctive voice and bass sound still anchor’s it to the band’s core sound.

Regardless of style, the quality of the material is superb. Its brilliant, genuinely fresh and exciting progressive music that isn’t too basic, or indeed too dense. There’s a mixture of acoustic, electric and electronic components, brilliant clear vocals conveying a mixture of emotions, additional instrumentation in small non-novelty bursts. Everything is tastefully woven together and it flows well as an album. You get small twinges of everything the band have done before and new ground as well. Really, you couldn’t ask for more.

I’m not sure if this would make a great first Riverside album for a new fan or not, its certainly pretty accessible and very enjoyable indeed, but at the same time perhaps try it in addition to one of their other studio albums as well just to be safe.

For existing fans, give it a try. It is a very good and enjoyable record indeed. As long as the stylistic shift doesn’t put you off, the incredible quality of the music should convince you. The only real flaw anyone could level against it is that the experimentation results in less cohesion than Riverside albums usually offer, but that’ really down to personal taste.

Personally, I love this record. It delivers enough heaviness, enough subtleness and enough fun little touches here and there to draw me in. It balances enough of what I already liked and enough surprises to really captivate me as a fan and I haven’t been able to take it off repeat since I first heard it.

*** If you can, and if its reasonably priced, try and get yourself the special edition of the record. It contains a second disc with two bonus instrumental tracks called ‘Night Session’ parts one and two, which collectively come in at around twenty-two minutes. They’re in a completely different style than the album itself, but are a great addition. ***

**Oh, and if you found this review by search engine, when you discover it again on Amazon it is me posting it. It hasn’t been copied and pasted off here by a stranger, I post my reviews on Amazon as ‘Gentlegiantprog “Kingcrimsonprog.”’ So please don’t unhelpful-vote it because you thought it was stolen from me.**
Riverside is a band that always have two reactions from the audience, love or hate. Just a few people stay in the middle of the road. I'm a Riverside fan. They're one of the few bands that I actually have all of the albums including two special editions. It's been 4 years since Anno Domini High Definition (2009), their last studio album, was released and Shrine Of New Generation Slaves (2013) is the name of the new album.

With the same line up as always: Mariusz Duda (vocals, bass, acoustic guitars and ukulele), Piotr Grudziński (guitars), Piotr Kozieradzki (drums) and Michał Łapaj (keyboards). The album was recorded, mixed and mastered at Serakos Studio in Poland between March and October 2012 and was produced by the band together with Magda and Robert Srzedniccy. The band often refers to the album as SONGS (the short version of the album's name). If it was intentional or not I cannot say. What I can say is that SONGS turned out to be the best album by the Riverside so far.

In the beginning of the composition process they said that this album would be different from the previous one, and that's true. Shrine Of New Generation Slaves (2013) is different but with all the band's elements included.

The opening track 'New Generation Slave' has a Hard Rock feeling mixed with a Blues sentiment to it. You can also feel that the band went back to the 70's sound in terms of guitar distortions. It's heavy, but not in the Metal way. In fact, the overall sound on SONGS is just perfect. Basses, guitars, drums and keyboards with the best tones possible, everything ending in the great songs.

'The Depth Of Self-Delusion' begins and I realize once again how good Mariusz Duda voice is. Clean and full of emotion. The first single 'Celebrity Touch' is a heavy brick on the window! Fast and heavy riff with Hammond Organ, the cherry on the cake. And then the trip continues through the beautiful piano and melody of 'We Got Used To Us', the 'modern-retro' beat of 'Feel Like Falling', and the space feeling in 'Deprived'. The longest song on the album is 'Escalator Shrine', and you gotta love the bass lines of Mariusz, always clever and out of the common place that the bass found itself in the last years of Prog Rock. This track is also the most Pink Floydish in SONGS, mainly because of the good Michał's keyboards.

To finish the album there is a short 'Coda'. Just acoustic guitars, vocals and keyboards with the melody of the first track. Perfect ending to the possible best album of 2013.
A tour de force of compelling concepts and brilliant musicianship, a triumph of Riverside.

Riverside are one of the most exciting dynamic prog artists to come out over recent years. On this latest release 'Shrine of New Generation Slaves' (abbreviated as SONGS! Don't you love it?) Mariusz Duda is as masterful as ever on crystal clear vocals, and pulsating bass. He is joined by the incredible guitars of Piotr Grudzinski, the keyboard finesse of Michal Lapaj, and the piledriver drums of Piotr Kozieradzki. When I first listened to this album I was not really worried about whether the band would sound like previous albums as I have found that their albums differ greatly from one another over the years, and they are still able to maintain interest simply due to the virtuoso musicianship and innovative compositions. So I ventured into this without any prior knowledge of what to expect, conceptually or otherwise, and had not looked at a single review, and forgot the clip available of 'Celebrity Touch'. This was a good move because the album absolutely transfixed me from beginning to end, without prior expectation. It is an incredible album, and one of the best so far in the early stages of 2013; one of the top ten masterpieces of 2013. I am delighted that this is the case as I have really grown to love this band over the years and they never disappoint which is a rare thing these days.

'New Generation Slave' (4:18) opens with distorted vocals and a powerful prog riff crashing through. It builds to a fast fractured rhythm reminding me of Soundgarden's 'Spoon Man', or indeed the riff on 'The Same River' from Riverside's 'Out of Myself' debut. The heaviness is densely layered with Lapaj's shimmering Hammond. There is a fiery guitar and bass tempo and it is all refined by the glaze of Duda's pristine vocals; a towering start to the album and an absolute sure fire killer intro to the band for those who had not heard previous songs. The lyrics focus on the hate of the new generation, the lost hopes and broken dreams that pervade this dark world; 'Into this world I came, Filled with fear, Crying all the time, I guess my birth, Left a great scar on my heart and mind, Now I hand-pick cotton, And struggle to sing "I am happy and I do what I like", But my voice breaks and I start to hate my singing and simply everyone.'

'The Depth Of Self ' Delusion' (7:40) has the acoustic vibrations of Grudzinski's guitar, and Duda's melancholy vocals are executed with passion. The lead break and driving tempo is built gradually over an uplifting melody. It is bookended with more finger picking acoustics capping off a beautiful song with a compelling structure. The lyrics by Duda are all about feeling like a wall is being built up, similar to Pink Floyd's hypothesis, and it really touches a chord with me; 'I could be foreign forevermore to your neverland, One little brick then another and I will build that wall anyway, You can find me there rested and calm without mask, This is where I will stay.'

'Celebrity Touch' (6:48) opens with killer driller riffs that have an intricate time sig. Duda's vocals are crystal clear and work well with the electrifying keyboard and guitar driven punctuation. It is a heavy song with some magnificent syncopated rhythms. There are some higher vocals in the background too that augment the tranquil atmospheres generated in the quieter verses. It has an infectious melody in the chorus and moves along at an energetic pace. This is a very nice composition with layers of musicianship of the highest quality. It really grew on me with that bassline and crunching guitar riff. I love Duda's lyrics on the dangers and hypocrisy of celebrity status, the lies and fabrication of maintaining a false fa'ade that will please the masses but in in the end is an empty existence; 'In the center of attention, TV, Glossy magazines, My private life is public, I sell everything, Days are getting shorter, They'll forget about me soon, So I jump on the bandwagon, With no taboos.' This sentiment could represent any celebrity who is trapped by public attention, something that is craved but when it is gained the celebrity abhors being the subject of hysteria as their life becomes a tomb, their home a prison, it is a sobering thought. It is little wonder celebrities become cynical and crazy, jumping on a bandwagon with no taboos, as sometimes they are given little choice as products of consumer hell.

'We Got Used To Us' (4:12) is a song that has a measured tempo and some effective lead guitar motifs over layered harmonised vocals. The timbre of Duda's voice is always a drawcard for me, he is able to create the most powerful sensuous moods as he pours out the reflective lyrics. Once again Grudzinski's lead guitar break is present but this one is more subtle with Lapaj's moody piano augmentations. This sombre song sent chills through me, it is simple compared to other tracks on the album but it has such a haunting melody and some very potent lyrics that strike to the heart; 'I know we got used to new life, And I don't want to be there, No, I don't want to be there, Where we are, Silence fallen between, All the doors are locked, All the words unsaid, And we're still afraid of time, Started to keep ourselves, At a distance that we could control, Not too close, Not too far.' The protagonist is trying to come to terms wth the loss of his loved one, perhaps a good break up song as it captures the turmoil of emotions felt, the emptiness that drives nails into the heart, love being replaced by bitterness and the cold feeling that it is over. It ends with the pleading phrase echoing, 'so walk away with me'.

'Feel Like Falling' (5:19) is a real surprise eclectic package beginning with 80s retro synths buzzing, reminding me of the rhythm of 'Candy Man' by Suzi Quatro, one of my favourites. It is enhanced by 1968 style Hammond pads from Lapaj. The rhythm is quirky and similar to the style of Muse and high register vocals again backing to add a further dimension of harmony. A heavy guitar riff comes in with a half time feel, and some glorious effervescent Hammond quavers. It closes with an instrumental break with Grudzinski's muscular guitars in an odd time sig and some wah-wah pedal lead embellishments. This is one of the highlight tracks undoubtedly. The time sig is complex at times and I wished it would have gone on longer as it is one of Riverside's best compositions. The lyrics focus on the protagonist bouncing back after the loss felt from the broken relationships, expressed in metaphors; 'Could have been a tree of dawn, Rooted deeply in the ground, Bearing fruits, Far away from falling into blank space.' The blank space is that nothing box that has been opened when one's world has turned to despair and life is like a blank slate with nothing written on it. It is like starting over from scratch now that his lover has moved on, and he tries to forget but the memories are still too raw. Thatis why he feels like falling over the precipice, to rid himself of the burning pain. But these emotions will soon subside as long as he hangs on to what he has.

'Deprived' (Irretrievably Lost Imagination) (8:27) follows with Riverside in a more contemplative mood with reverberating guitars, violin strings and an ethereal atmosphere. Kozieradzki's drums maintain a strong tempo and Duda's vocals are more estranged and laid back. This has a lovely saxophone sound, or clarinet jazz break out, and it cascades over the music with astonishing power. There are a number of tempo changes The lyrics are the dreams of the protagonist that have become fractured over time in a life that has become deprived of so many things; 'I live surrounded by cherished memories, I have a weakness for collecting them, Alphabetize, As far as I recall my childish rituals, Icons of that world always filled my shelves and heart.' I love the section where the sadness and loneliness is conveyed by poetic beauty; 'In a world of synonyms and handwritten notes, My own puppet performances, Endless bedtime stories, I could touch the moon and switch off the sun, I could have my dreams and dream about better times.' Perhaps this is the ray of hope now, the next phase of his life is beckoning and he is moving out of a depressed state to embracing what may come in the future.

'Escalator Shrine' (12:41) is the longest song so I was hoping for layers of intricate musicianship and the band to launch full tilt into the heavier prog rock I loved so much on 'Anno Domine High Definition' and some of the songs on earlier releases. It surpassed my expectations and is perhaps the definitive track to check out if you are still wondering what all the fuss is about. This song absolutely blew me away. It begins with subtle quiet vocals and soft Spanish guitars over an ominous drone. The guitar takes on a complex signature and keyboard chimes sounding like The Doors' 'Riders on the Storm'; was Ray Manzarek in the studio? I loved this soundscape generated and the unusual signature works so well with the very innovative lyrics about feeling isolated in a crowded city, moving aimlessly along with the human traffic, as people move to places of mass consumption and buy things they don't need, and the protagonist feels more empty as nothing is real or still, and he is bitter and more convinced that everyone around him is putting on a fa'ade to hide their true feelings, that they too are as lost as him but are too self obsessed with the trivialities of life to admit it; even wrapping themselves in the cocoon of syber technology, laptops, mobiles and ipods, as they converse with faceless entities to compensate for friends, and pretend thay are not alone, 'We are stairway drifters, Made of cyber paper, Google boys and wiki girls, Children of the self care, We come to pray every single training day, Looking for a chance to survive, Buying reduced price illusions, Floating into another light, Melting into another lonely crowd.' Then it builds with a grinding Hammond harking back to the 70s era, and a hammering tempo blasts in like a tempest. The Hammond is given a workout and is an absolutely stellar performance from Lapaj. Guitars jump in and out of the keyboard freakout, a tantalising skin crawler, one of the best keyboard passages on the album. The pace locks into a crawl with beautiful guitar reverbs and Duda's echoing vocals. The time sig changes into the slow measured cadence similar to Pink Floyd's spacey atmospheres. The lyrics breathe out vehemence against the throwaway society we have become, and exude that our years are wasted trying to chase unattainable dreams as we drift from day to day; 'Dragging our feet, Tired and deceived, Slowly moving on, Bracing shaky legs, Against all those wasted years, We roll the boulders of sins up a hill of new days.' This builds into some powerful riffs with Grudzinski's heavy guitar emblazoned with stirring dramatic keyboard creating a wall of sound. At the end of this I was convinced I had heard a masterpiece track of immeasurable quality; simply a stunning achievement from Riverside.

'Coda' (1:39) is the brief closing track, that glistens with sparkling acoustics and Duda's vocals with the same melody as the opening. He concludes with the sentiment that he has come to the point where he no longer wants to fall into blank space; a ray of hope at last; 'Want to be your light, Illuminate your smiles, Want to be your cure, Bridge between self and us, Want to be your prayer, Wipe the tears from your eyes, When the night returns I won't collapse, I am set to rise.' It feels like the end of Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' with the brief coda that wraps up the album.

SONGS is an amazing album full of dark and light shadows, and poetic beauty. It has some of their greatest songs, namely the chilling 'New Generation Slave', 'Feel Like Falling' and 'Escalator Shrine'. Those three songs alone are awesome, but the album also has the more subtle quiet moods that will appeal to the now generation. The one thing that really impressed me is that the album is progressicve in every sense of the word with intricate time sigs, shifting tempos, comtemplative lyrics, dynamic musicianship and innovative layers of sound. There are many bands coming out that sound like they belong on the radio and they are only interested in cash cow singles. Riverside stay true to the prog roots that progheads adore and they do it in style with inventive ideas and some of the most incredible melodies and riffs; though it is more symphonic than metal, with Deep Purple or Uriah Heep sounds, a bit like Opeth's 'Heritage'. The Hammond flourishes are amazing over the heavy guitar textures. The album also grows on the listener as I noticed on subsequent listens certain songs are drawn to the ear with their beautiful meloides, for instance on my third listen in a row 'The Depth of Self Delusion' soon became one of my favourite songs, it has a relaxing serene atmosphere and Duda's vocals are wonderful speaking to our spirit. 'We Got Used To Us' likewise strikes a real chord with me, the melancholy touch and overall melodies are absolutely mesmirising. There is not a bad song on the album, even after multiple listens nothing feels like filler. In fact each track is complimenting one another with a magical entrancing resonance, until we get to the magnificent finale; the crescendo of power captured in the tour de force 'Escalator Shrine' epic.

With so much quality displayed and with the layers and depth of musicianship executed here, I can only conclude by awarding this with the highest accolades. It is awe inspiring that Riverside maintains such a consistent high quality from album to album. 'Out of Myself', 'Second Life Syndrome', 'Rapid Eye Movement' and especially 'Anno Domini High Definition' are treasures of prog, and now 'Shrine of New Generation Slaves' is the pinnacle of their master class musicianship; a genuine musical epiphany. I hoped this would be an excellent album but I didn't expect it to have this much impact and resonate with me to such a degree. Strike this one down as another top notch brilliant masterpiece from one of the greatest prog modern artists on the planet.
Riverside, or as I like to call them...the fine line between Opeth and Porcupine Tree.

Ok...I have claimed to have call the band that in the past, and to be honest, was the reason I got into the band...but...can we really pigeon hole the band with a tag like that. Well...yes and no.

With the bands first 3 albums, they did have a a very Porcupine Tree/Opeth feel to them, with a heavy prog sound accompanied by an almost Gothic tone. But, their last 3 albums, including this album, seem to adopted a more prog rock tone, and the metal/heavy elements have been toned down to suit the bands more experimental needs. So in my verdict, with every experiment these guys partake...the better a band they become. And this album proves it.

Musically, these guys have seem to have crafted an album I always wanted them to craft. A prog rock album, with actual songs, experimental sections, a heavy sound and also...they seem to be having a lot of fun as well, which really helps, because if the band are having a good time making this music, then the audience will enjoy the album a lot more.

The album, being a concept album, deals with a lot of interesting topics, such as modern society, pop culture and one of the biggest themes...the idea of who we are and everyone's feeling of loss in today's world. Now, being a Polish band, sometimes their lyrics aren't the best grammatically speaking, but I always enjoy when a foreign band writes in a different language to their own, mainly because a foreigner can always use language in a different way to us English speakers.

Musically these guys have never been better. Some of the instrumental sections are incredibly impressive, and now and then you can hear traces of influence, but they are enable to incorporate a lot more personality, which leaves the listener always on his toes. The only problem I've had with this band is Mariusz's vocals. I'm not saying their bad...but they aren't the best. But, on this album,it seems that Mariusz sees his flaws, and instead of making them better, he works more on what he can do, then what he cant.

1. New Generation Slave - An odd and rather exciting way to open the album off. One of the bands most grooviest songs, with some pretty kick ass riffs throughout. 9/10

2. The Depth Of Self-Delusion - An interesting almost ballad like song. Has some interesting lyrics now and then and has some nice moments throughout, but I do feel that this song could have been cut down a little length wise. 8/10

3. Celebrity Touch - The single from the album (check out the music video by the way, it's good). One of the albums obvious catchy and most memorable moments. A brilliantly arranged songs, with some interesting progressions throughout. 10/10

4. We Got Used To Us – A beautiful ballad on the album, with some beautiful piano arrangements. One of my favorite songs by far from this band. 10/10

5. Feel Like Falling - One of the album's most catchiest songs. A great chorus and some nice groovy moments. 9/10

6. Deprived (Irretrievably Lost Imagination) - Probably my favorite song on the album. A very 'Radiohead Ok Computer' meets Dark Side Of The Moon style of a song, with some nice melancholic moments. The saxophone in this song is brilliant, and Mariusz's vocals in this song even surprise me a little at times. 10/10

7. Escalator Shrine - It wouldn't be a Riverside album without an “epic”. Now this does usually follow the usual Riverside epic structure, being in 2 parts and all that, but...this is probably my favourite epic from these guys. Part 1 shows some nice almost pop like moments, while part 2 is more of a prog/ theatrical style. The epic prog bit is seen in part 3, and boy is it epic. Also, this song ends on one of these guys' most kick ass riffs, and overall, shows how amazing instrumentally this band can be. 10/10

8. Coda - The return of the “Feel Like Falling” motif. Brilliant ending to the album. 10/10

CONCLUSION: Usually Riverside don't impress me too much and I usually end up pushing them to one side. Because of this album, I now take back all negativity I had towards them. This album surprised and really impressed me. This by far is their greatest achievement to date, and I await another masterpiece from these guys soon.

I honestly find so many of Riverside's releases to be kind of overrated, with only their debut really holding my attention. Shrine of New Generation Slaves has not prompted me to change my mind. This time around I can tell that the band are trying to work a few more Pink Floyd influences into their sound - I can tell because they keep using that "telephone" filter effect on the vocals which bands trying to mimic Pink Floyd can't seem to leave alone - but classic-era Floyd would be embarrassed to put out an album quite as riddled with cliches as this one. Strip away the Floydian affectations and many of the songs boil down to fairly typical hard rock ballads - ballads with hilariously sophomoric lyrics. Call me the buzzkilling king of all spoilsports, but I just don't get the appeal.
Kev Rowland
Somehow Riverside just seem to keep on getting better and better, with the new album being a case in point. As I write this it has had 73 ratings on progarchives and is rated as the second best album of the year so far. Now, I know it's only January but it won't be far from that mark at the end of the year I'm sure. The four musicians have now been together for a long time and it shows. Production is yet again just wonderful, and not only has the music grown in maturity and presence but so has Mariusz's vocals. This is a band that has really come of age and they mix up bouncy hard rock from the Seventies with a much more laid-back Floydian feel. For some reason I keep thinking of Opeth, although they are nothing alike, so it must just be due to approach as opposed to sound.

"Celebrity Touch" is a fun bounce along rock number with great Hammond that apart from the vocals could be classic Spock's Beard. This is a prog album that is guaranteed to make the listener smile from the first note to the very last and there is only one thing to do when it ends, and that is to play the whole thing again. The louder I played it the more I enjoyed it, as the guys really know how to hit that perfect vibe. Highly recommended. It doesn't get much better than this. www.insideout.de
Phonebook Eater

A Perfect Balance.

“Shrine Of New Generation Slaves” is the fifth album by Polish Progressive Rock/Metal act Riverside, one of the last decade’s most beloved European bands of the genre. They started off with a trilogy of albums, which begun in 2003 with “Out With Myself”, continued with “Second Life Syndrome” and ended with “Rapid Eye Movement”. These albums all had a very similar sound that combined heaviness with Pink Floydian atmospheres, with a greater dose of the latter. 2009’s “Anno Domini High Definition” was a complete direction-shifter, thanks to a sharper, more modern sounding production, more futuristic and advanced sounds, and more Metal. This last release stunned me completely, and I still keep it dear to my heart for it is now one of my favorite albums. “Shrine Of New Generations Slaves” at this point has quite a bit on its shoulders. Luckily, the band proves they are still in great shape, and that they can still amaze.

In many ways, this is the album that should have been midway between the trilogy and “Anno Domini”: the production is a good mix between the two, because while we still have the Floydian atmospheric sounds, there is still a lot of sharp, modern sounding Metal. Like also the trilogy, there is a lot organ playing to give thickness to the guitars and keyboards, and there are quite a bit of piano bits, synth pads, and some additional instrumentation such as the sax or the flute. In fact, this album is again another pleasantly varied piece of work, instrumentally speaking. But the variation doesn’t end here: in terms of mood, this is also quite a diverse album, as we find melancholic songs, but also fun, heavy ones, and some others veiled with a shroud of mystery. But it never feels like a mixed bag, everything is so perfectly in balance, and when a different mood does kick in, it comes in just in time.

The depth of “Shrine Of New Generation Slaves” is really outstanding, almost to the levels of “Anno Domini”, in the sense that the music brings you deep into a world, very similar to ours, but where a melting pot of emotions is an everyday thing, where social discomfort reigns, in a time where every one is closed in, and where everything happens from within and never coming from the outside. It is a very introspective album, and the flow of it almost feels like an unconscious stream of emotions, a strongly linear journey with a beginning, and with a pleasantly suffused ending.

Particular highlights that mark this beautiful journey are songs like the wonderfully complex “ The Depth Of Self-Delusion”, the meditative calmness of “Feel Like Falling” the more urgent, fun pieces like the single “Celebrity Touch”, or “Deprived”, and the second-to-last track, “Escalator Shrine”, which has the most powerful closing minutes Riverside has ever managed to write.

“Shrine Of New Generation Slaves” ought to be remembered as one of the finest examples of Progressive Metal, and to be part of that still-growing bulk of masterful releases coming out of this decade. Its approach is very new, the atmospheres are very innovative, and the level of sophistication is extremely high; with these attributes, there is no reason for this to not be part of the best of the best.
Lunatic Side of the River

Much can be said about Riverside but not that they repeat themselves. They indeed progress with every album and the newest record, whose name's gracefully abbreviated to SONGS, is not an exception.

Riverside have already made an album eclectic to the extent of being inconsistent (RAPID EYE MOVEMENT) and while SHRINE OF NEW GENERATION SLAVES may be their second most eclectic release, they didn't make the same mistake again. There's a certain feel that makes itself noticeable from the first seconds of the opening track until the last notes of "Escalator Shrine". In the very core of the record resides the spirit of the 70s eclectic rock in the vein of King Crimson and Gentle Giant. Glowing with Deep Purple sparkle, the core was furthermore enriched with a big shard of Lunatic Soul (Mariusz Duda's side project) and some modern neo prog-pop elements known from 00s albums by Porcupine Tree. Not to mention some themes reminiscent of the band's debut release, OUT OF MYSELF. So, all in all, from these well known ingredients something quite unique has been created and the band deserves a big round of applause for what they pulled off here.

Riverside is first and foremost about music imbued with genuine emotions and true beauty that comes with it. This is what's been disarming me since their first album, something I've never felt while listening to Porcupine Tree, the band they're often compared to. I've even been able to turn a blind eye to occasional pretentiousness or overlook some more or less obvious similarities to Pink Floyd, Dream Theater or Opeth. They play stuff they love and this unparalleled, spontaneous affection for music has become their trademark. That's why they never let me down.

Members reviews

'Shrine Of New Generation Slaves' is Riverside's fifth studio album and the long awaited follow up to the highly rated 'Anno Domini High Definition' which was released way back in 2009.

The first point to note about SONGS is that it is overall more song based than previous albums. The album is accessible and melodic while it contains a diverse range of material from the riffy 'New Generation Slave' to the dreamy and reflective 'We Got Used To Us'. Longest track 'Escalator Shrine' which clocks in at over twelve minutes has hints of Floyd mixed with headbanging climax. Lyrically the album seems to be a concept about the disquiet of modern living and our inability to change our lives. The biggest change for me is the melancholic vocals of Mariusz Duda which along with some of the keyboards gives the album a very modern sound and reminds me of Steven Wilson. The band have clearly progressed but in a slightly less Metal direction.

I would think that 'SONGS' will appeal to fans of modern Marillion and Porcupine Tree while more traditional Metal fans might dislike the new direction. 7/10
Riverside – “Shrine of New Generation Slaves” 15/20

Riverside are a band who have always evaded me. Not for any real reason, but I haven’t really got into them. They were, in fact, one of the first prog bands I listened to, but the albums I have just sort of sit around and barely get played. But after the success of my 2012 lists, I decided to properly sit down and listen to this one. And I am so glad I did. This is a wonderful record, a hard-edged prog affair bordering on metal at times, but with focus primarily on melody and atmosphere, two of my personal favourite sides of music.

The album opens with the heavy rocker “New Generation Slaves”, which contains some interesting fusions of classic prog instruments (Hammond organ) and heavy distorted guitars, which becomes a regular occurrence, with Hammond/guitar solos on “Celebrity Touch”. But this song really serves just as an intro to the album, and specifically the almost 8 minute second track, “The Depth Of Self-Delusion”. The song reminds me of recent years’ Porcupine Tree, with Mariusz using that voice Steven Wilson does when he sounds like he’s talking through a phone. A smooth mixture of prog rock with occasional heavy guitars seems to be Riverside’s trademark sound, and it is pulled of well here.

My personal two favourite songs “We Got Used To Us” and “Feel Like Falling” show Riverside at their most melodic, with the former being a really nice ballad devoid of metal aspects. “Feel Like Falling” is my favourite song so far this year, and is honestly just an indie rock song with prog metal coatings on it. A strongly bass and vocal dominated song, with a wonderful hook line and a couple of great solos. The main vocal part reprises in “Coda”, a nice hint back to the best song on the album.

The ‘epic’ of this album is “Escalator Shrine”, coming in at almost 12 minutes. Many prog fans believe an album is not complete without an epic, and although I don’t necessarily like longer songs more, I have to agree that I do love a well constructed song. Another obvious feature of this song is that it is the only longer song on the album, which I prefer as a listener. I get rather frustrated when bands, specifically bands that don’t favour variation, put 4 or 5 long songs in an album (coughdreamtheatercough), and they begin to get boring and drawn out. Riverside here have kept “Escalator Shrine” concise and to the point, and it doesn’t warble about with meaningless solos like many prog metal epics.

Due to being a relatively new Riverside fanatic, I can’t compare this to their earlier work, but I do believe it to be far superior to the one I know best (“Anno Domini High Definition”), and it sounds like Riverside are just moving from strength to strength. This and Steven Wilson’s latest album are the only two 2013 albums I have heard thus far. And basing it around last year’s chart, both are looking at top 20 spots at the end of the year.

Originally posted at my facebook page/blog http://www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

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