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Riverside - Eye of the Soundscape CD (album) cover

EYE OF THE SOUNDSCAPE

Riverside

 

Progressive Metal

4.04 | 90 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars It was about a year ago that vocalist Mariusz Duda had a meeting with the band and presented the idea of doing an Electronic album. Electronic music is nothing new to the band if you've checked out some of the bonus tracks that RIVERSIDE have used over the years. And even Mariusz's solo project LUNATIC SOUL is heavily Electronic at times. Anyway the band's response was nothing but positive towards this idea and the late guitarist Piotr Grudzinski who passed away from natural causes last February texted Mariusz with these words "I really can't wait for this release, I have always had a dream for RIVERSIDE to release such an album". This of course is dedicated to the late guitarist with these words from the band "This is our last journey together so we dedicate this album to you, Brother. In our hearts you will stay forever." And so we have the last performance from this amazing guitarist as he and the band created several new tracks in studio at the beginning of 2016 while also using many of those bonus tracks that date back to 2007. Duda described the experience of recording and composing this album as "We were working with smiles on our faces, genuinely excited, knowing that this time it wasn't just a bonus disc or an addition to something bigger but a fully fledged, independant release with that kind of music, full of space, trance, melodies and electronics".

I'm not a huge Electronic fan but I have a deep appreciation for this sub-genre and love listening to soundscape music while driving or biking especially. At first I didn't think there was much guitar on here but there's plenty. Duda does sing but often it sounds like he's in the distance, obviously the emphasis is on the instrumental work here and his voice is like another instrument as he also uses vocal melodies to great affect. We get two discs worth just over a hundred minutes of music. While some of these song titles might be familiar they really have changed these songs completely to the point of not even recognizing them.

Our journey begins with "Where The River Flows" and man the atmosphere is incredible early on. Drums just before 2 minutes then the guitar joins in. An electronic beat arrives before 4 minutes and suddenly this is electronic music all the way. Catchy too. It settles right down 7 1/2 minutes in as the guitar is strummed with little else going on. Some distant vocals after 9 minutes, keys too to the end. "Shine" was the first track to get an official video from the band. Electronics to start then some heaviness before a minute, guitar too. So much going on with all these sounds including drums, lots of depth here. "Rapid Eye Movement" features spacey and drifting music with some experimental sounds that come and go. An electronic beat kicks in after 3 minutes then the guitar starts to cry out. So good! It starts to settle back after 7 1/2 minutes and check out the bass 9 minutes in. It starts to pick back up as the drums join in and we get some vocal melodies before 12 minutes.

"Night Session Part One" sounds really good as we get this melancholic vibe and it's very spacey. Lots of atmosphere and it's sparse sounding until an electronic beat joins in at 2 1/2 minutes then eventually guitar as well. I really like this one. It starts to calm right down after 8 1/2 minutes. "Night Sessions Part Two" is interesting as we get sax on this track changing the flavour somewhat. Percussion too as the sax comes and goes then guitar before 3 minutes. Vocal melodies follow as it slowly builds. The sax is back around 5 1/2 minutes then it's sax only before 7 minutes with lots of atmosphere. Spacey winds a minute later. This is quite ambient.

Disc two begins with "Sleepwalkers" which might be my favourite of the bunch. Sounds echo and ping as almost spoken vocals then guitar join in as it builds, an electronic beat as well. "Rainbow Trip" is spacey with a beat, bass, keys and more. It's building and check out the guitar starting before 5 minutes. "Heavenland" is another killer track which is very spacey with vocal melodies that come and go. So much atmosphere around 2 minutes as the soundscape almost vibrates.

"Return" again is filled with atmosphere as experimental sounds come and go. A beat around 2 minutes followed by guitar but man that atmosphere! It turns louder before 5 1/2 minutes. "Aether" is like the previous two tracks with the atmosphere and I like the bass as cymbals join in. A beat then electronics arrive and eventually they will dominate. Cool track. "Machines" opens with keys before these beats take over. "Promise" features some beautiful acoustic guitar, emotional stuff for me(RIP Piotr) with all that atmosphere too. "Eye Of The Soundscape" ends it and this is one sparse and ambient piece. Very spacey with sparse sounds that will come and go over the 11 1/2 minutes.

Duda has had a rough year with the passing of his great friend and band mate Piotr and he also lost his father who passed away late in the spring this year, plus he was dealing with some other personal stuff. I hope for nothing but positive vibes towards this awesome band. They said they will hire a guitarist as they need one, they will not replace what cannot be replaced. Piotr was one of a kind.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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