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Riverside - Second Life Syndrome CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.26 | 1590 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Looking for something along the lines of Dream Theater, I purchased this album because it was so highly regarded by the members of this site and categoried in the same Progressive Metal genre. What I expected and what I got were two different things. These guys don't sound anything like DT. Once I got over that surprise I hunkered down and started to open my ears to what they were doing. And now I'm glad I got it. First of all, the vocals are distinctive and somewhat reminiscent of John Wetton. "After," the first cut, is mysterious and moody as it showcases Mr. Duda's experimental side with countermelodies and harmonies intertwining around a mantra-like sound. "Volte-Face" was my first encounter with the dreaded Death Scream that I wasn't really prepared for. I'm not a big fan of the technique but, thankfully, he doesn't overdo it and I learned to accept it as a dynamic accentuation rather than a constant annoyance. The guitarist is very, very melodic and tasteful in his playing and it works to make memorable melodies while still managing to create huge metal sounds.

"Conceiving You" is a great change of pace song and it haunts you long after the cd is over. "Second Life Syndrome" and "Artificial Smile" are heavy and rockin', still maintaining the atypical mystical and occidental musical influence that permeates the album. "I turned you down" is another slower piece that is a highlight. And when Michal Lapaj interjects his incredible piano skills into the instrumental "Reality Dream II" it elevates the song into another stratosphere. Truly inspired. "Dance with the shadow" manages to spotlight every member of the group and then "Before" ends the journey much in the same way it began with a song that starts like a chant, then builds to an explosive end. The biggest problem I have with this endeavor is the fact that often the drums get drowned out in the mix and that's not good at all. Drums are so very essential to progressive rock that they need to be out front with the music surrounding them. From what I can tell Pietr is a fine percussionist but his work is sometimes hard to decifer. Hopefully their next release will rectify that problem. I did notice in the liner notes that the drums were recorded a month before everything else was so maybe that took away some of the spontaneity that I feel is missing at times. But this is only their second album so I'm going to give them a whole lot of slack and just enjoy what turns out to be a very good collection of songs from some musicians/composers who will undoubtedly continue to just get better with time.

Chicapah | 3/5 |


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