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Riverside – ID. Entity

Riverside
ID. Entity
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 11 January 2023, 3:25 PM

From their EPK, “Who are you in these strange times? Are you still yourself or have you started playing the role of someone else? Or maybe you're living a double life and HERE you are someone completely different than THERE? Certainly, the concept of "identity" is multifaceted and it would be impossible to fit all of its aspects in a 53-minute long story. On their new album "ID.Entity," RIVERSIDE are trying to answer some of these questions beginning with the one about…their own identity.” The album has seven songs.

“Friend or Foe” is the first track. Electronics open the song, with a jovial jaunt. The guitar riff plays along with the second, lower keyboard notes. The drums kick in and it’s a steady beat from there, with thick bass tones. It sounds delightful. Mariusz’s vocals are warm and inviting. Am I crazy here in likening this to some famous 80’s Pop bands, like TEARS FOR FEARS? The melodies are clean and plain but very competent at making their mark in the alert and conscious part of your brain. But darkness eventually creeps in towards the end. “Landmine Blast” is a shorter song with a more concise sound. The progressive elements are smooth and subdued, but are just enough to let you know they are there. This song is a bit darker but still quite catchy.

“Big Tech Brother” is a bit of a jazzy romp at first, complete with trumpets. Old school keyboards kick in when the song slows. As his voice drops, so does the mood. “I have nothing to hide, I simply hate your style” he sings. The sound rebounds as layers are added and the mood grows more unsatisfactory. In the end, it never quite reaches anger however. “Post-Truth” talks about paradoxes and similarities at the same time, reminding you that it’s all about your perspective. Two opposing truths can be equal, depending on the person who is looking at them as well as how. There are actually very few “truths” in life. The mood is grey again, not fully dark, with occasional peaks of light.

“The Place Where I Belong” is a beastly 13-minute track. This song simmers for a while before it reveals too much. There are tense tones in the beginning, followed by cautious bass notes. Funky tones come out, and the tension is washed away by clean, bright strokes. It mellows from there, with occasional peaks and valleys, through then end, almost as if he found his happy place, and is finally content. “I’m Done with You” begins with a meaty bass line and some electronic. A steady beat develops from there. He talks about a friend betraying him. Tension rises through a harder part of the song, and the sound dips and rises several times. He lashes out just when he needs to. “Self-Aware” closes the album. It has a good mixture of keys and guitars and some positive tones. There are even some reggae tones in the song. The guitar solo flirts with influence from Alex Lifeson. The ending has more of those deep space sounds from the first song. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but very enjoyable.

RIVERSIDE is a band that I have been aware of for some time. I passively know a few of their songs and have always regarded Mariusz as one of the better Progressive songwriters out there, much like Steven Wilson. But I have never really listened to one of their albums very intently before. Now that I have, a few observations. Unlike Steven Wilson, Mariusz isn’t one for a whole lot of experimentation, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t surprises. Like any good Progressive albums, there are some. But much of the album is smooth and warm. There are moments of anger and indifference, however. In the end however, I’m still not sure I know the identity of the band.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Friend or Foe
2. Landmine Blast
3. Big Tech Brother
4. Post-Truth
5. The Place Where I Belong
6. I’m Done with You
7. Self-Aware
Lineup:
Mariusz Duda – Vocals, Bass, Guitars, Keys
Record Label: InsideOut Music
     


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Edited 04 February 2023
 

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