RIVERSIDE — Wasteland

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RIVERSIDE - Wasteland cover
3.56 | 12 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2018

Filed under Metal Related
By RIVERSIDE

Tracklist

1. The Day After (1:48)
2. Acid Rain (6:03)
3. Vale of Tears (4:48)
4. Guardian Angel (4:24)
5. Lament (6:09)
6. The Struggle for Survival (9:32)
7. River Down Below (5:41)
8. Wasteland (8:25)
9. The Night Before (3:59)

Total Time 50:49

Line-up/Musicians

- Mariusz Duda / Vocals, Bass, Guitars
- Michal Lapaj / Keyboards
- Piotr Kozieradzki / Drums

About this release

Label: InsideOut Music

Release Date: September 28th, 2018

Thanks to DippoMagoo for the addition and adg211288 for the updates

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RIVERSIDE WASTELAND reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Kingcrimsonprog
Polish Prog Metal band Riverside suffered the terrible loss of their lead guitarist Piotr Grudziński less than half a year after their superb sixth full-length studio album; Love, Fear & The Time Machine.

After the difficult decision to carry on without replacing him, their next and at time of writing newest album was released in 2018 via InsideOut Music and met with deserved acclaim (and surprisingly in this day and age, sold relatively well for a prog album, continuing their streak of gold albums in their homeland).

It can’t have been easy carrying on without such a key member of the band, who’d been there since the very start, but somehow they managed to create a beautiful, affecting, and very interesting album with no loss of quality, while also not losing their ‘sound’ or ‘spirit’. If they had understandably chosen not to continue after 2016, they would have been leaving us with a wonderful catalogue. As it stands however, on Wasteland they do a masterful job of continuing their genuinely near-flawless discography and only solidifying their legacy as absolute masters of the genre.

The actual playing and vocals are top notch. The production and mixing and have a tasteful, stripped back, classic-sounding, raw feel that perfectly suits the material and the place in the band’s discography.

The real magic of the album however, comes from the material here, which is simply wonderful from start to finish. There isn’t one track I would lose, edit or alter. Nine perfectly balanced no-fat tracks over 50 minutes and not outstaying its welcome.

Its so good all the way through it could be difficult to choose highlights, but if you like the band at their proggiest, then check out nine-and-a-half minute “The Struggle For Survival” which features a bit of a 21st Century Schizoid Man/Heart Of The Sunrise/The Necromancer vibe with a lot of instrumental muscle flexing with some brilliant bass and keyboard showing off (and Maciej Meller’s guest guitar solo is especially quite entertaining in a Fripp sort of way). If however you prefer the band just writing good songs; then the varied ‘Veil Of Tears’ and the haunting and touching semi-ballad ‘Guardian Angel’ for example are two of the best songs the band have ever released to date.

This is a record with a lot of up front charm and instantaneous gratification, but a lot of mood, atmosphere and subtle depth as well and even the tracks that don’t drop your jaw right away become favourites in time (I like “River Down Below” more every single time I hear it for example, and I do mean every single time, I can’t say that for many other bands). As with all the Riverside albums to date, I can’t recommend it enough.
The Crow
After the sad passing of the guitarist Piotr Grudzinski, I'm sure that Wasteland was not an easy album to make.

For this reason, I consider this record a transition one while they let another guitarist to take part (hopefully) on their next record and bring some new ideas and sound. Because one of the first facts that we can clearly hear in Wasteland is that a true guitarist is missing. It's obvious that Mariusz Duda is not a professional guitar player, and because of that in almost all the songs the complex guitar work of previous albums is sadly gone, and the pedals used are also not the most adequate, making the guitar riffs sounds hollow and cheap.

And curiously the same can be said for the drums, which sounds too high pitched, lacking the deep and strength that the heavier parts of the album so desperately need! Why? I just don't know, because the Piotr Kozieradzki's drumming is awesome in other records from the band.

But apart from the production, the musical quality of the album is also a bit irregular. Some outstanding songs like Acid Rain, Veil of Tears and River Down Below are mixed with other average tracks like the not so exciting Guardian Angel, the repetitive The Struggle for Survival and the risky but not really successful Wasteland (I love the western influences though!)

This irregular songwriting makes the hearing of the album on its integrity a bit dull sometimes, and that's the first time that I feel something similar with a Riverside record. Is not a drama, but talking about one of the best prog-rock acts of the last decades, is some kind of a letdown.

Best Tracks: Acid Rain, Veil of Tears, Lament, River Down Below.

Conclusion: I must admit that the band has managed to overcome the death of their guitarist with a good album, which shows both the heaviest and mellowest sides of the band while maintaining the spirit of innovation that this musicians always had, diplaying some very good new ideas like the gothic and obscure Lament and the cinematic but flawed title track.

But in comparison to works like Second Life Syndrome and Anno Domini High Definition, Wasteland just pales.

My rating: ***

This review was originally written for ProgArchives.com

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