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Riverside: Love, Fear And The Time Machine

Shrine Of New Generation Slaves (or SONGS, if you will), brought me right back into the Riverside fold, the Polish proggers hitting their stride in full and harsh style; a brashness and boldness not previously heard in their sound as engaging as it was startling. And yet, it sounded like no one else other than Riverside.

That final statement is true once more, Riverside a band who know exactly how they want to sound and able to leave no one in any doubt who they're listening to from first note to last. Interestingly however on Love, Fear And The Time Machine (LFATTM doesn't work so well…) Riverside have, for the first time truly allowed their influences to infuse their sound - and it isn't necessarily what we'd expect. Think prog and we all, in almost default setting, think Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, ELP and so on. Here however Riverside, while still sounding like no one other than themselves, are revealing a side linked to Gary Numan and even a-ha. Indeed those are pop references, but anyone who has ventured beyond "Cars" or "Take On Me" will understand that these acts (and many others from the same era) have some real depth and complexity to their less celebrated contributions.

Take "#Addicted" for example, a song which can only be Riverside and yet, if I played it to the unexpecting, they'd swear it was Morten Harket and the boys, Mariusz Duda using his unstrained falsetto to add melancholy to a darkly melodic piece, while "Caterpillar And The Barbed Wire" thrives on a roaming baseline and crawling keyboard-guitar trade off. Yes, there's a "riff" involved and yes it's catchy, but in a deep, dark manner. After all, you wouldn't expect Riverside to sound upbeat and chipper, would you? However there's an argument that Love, Fear And The Time Machine does two things - firstly, it wears its heart on its sleeve and if that heart sounds gently upbeat, then so be it and secondly it harks back to the striking debut Out Of Myself, an album which stubbornly refused to be anything other than what it was - well constructed songs, with little flash or thunder that got under the skin and remained there ever since. The feel here is the same, the almost happy strains of "Saturate Me" hypnotising and seductive; the short, fragile keyboard and voice of "Afloat" beautiful and captivating. "Discard Your Fear" possesses an irresistibly memorable guitar line and almost sing-alongable chorus, yet commerciality couldn't be further from its mind, while the lengthier "Towards The Blue Horizon" dances morosely on a chiming guitar line alongside piano and keyboards, while the understated drumming can't help but catch the ear. "Time Travellers" brings that isolated, claustrophobic air that only Riverside really know how to create, as "Under The Pillow" comes dangerously close to being "lively", but thankfully backs off from a full on grin. Which leaves the opening and closing numbers, "Lost (Why Should I Be Frightened Of A Hat?)" (possibly song title of the year) and "Found (The Unexpected Flaw Of Searching)" (possible song title of the year runner up) to bookend this loosely conceptual piece in quite remarkable style.

For some this turn away from the metal side of prog, right back to the foundation of this band of hitting hard through not hitting hard will be an initial shock. Yet from an outfit that have flitted from this style to that via electronica, the real surprise would have been if Love, Fear And The Time Machine sounded anything like Shrine Of New Generation Slaves - or indeed any different…

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
1. Lost (Why Should I Be Frightened By a Hat?)
2. Under the Pillow

3. #Addicted

4. Caterpillar and the Barbed Wire
5. Saturate Me

6. Afloat

7. Discard Your Fear

8. Towards the Blue Horizon

9. Time Travellers

10. Found (The Unexpected Flaw of Searching)

Added: December 13th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Riverside online
Hits: 3980
Language: english

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Riverside: Love, Fear And The Time Machine
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2015-12-13 22:17:33
My Score:

Sometimes it is difficult to put feelings into words. Writing reviews can be a challenge to convey the necessary emotions one feels upon hearing music. The latest Riverside album Love, Fear And The Time Machine gave no such problems as it is one of the most emotional musical experiences I have had this year.

There was a lot of chatter on the web when this album hit the airwaves. Riverside has lost its edge, the heaviness has been diminished and Duda had decided to go in a much different direction, more mellow and introspective. Well, upon listening to the album a few times now I can't really argue with any of those assessments. The question is how does the album stand up to their past works? I for one feel this is one of their best albums to date and am mightily impressed. So much so it cracked my top ten best of list for 2015. In fact, I probably could have rated it even higher than the number nine spot it currently holds. With Love, Fear And The Time Machine it is all about emotion and feel. Duda has never sounded better vocally than he does here. Every song is packed with his impassioned vocals; the entire album drips with a lingering longingness, a rainbow of emotions and feelings I can't shake long after the last cut has played. A sign of any great record is the lasting impression it leaves on the listener and in that regard this is surely one of their greatest achievements.

The first track "Lost (Why Should I Be Frightened By a Hat?)" begins with wonderfully serene organ and vocals and when the chiming guitar chords enter the music totally drew me in. The guitars get heavier, the drums more forceful but still subtle, perhaps more refined than they have ever been before. The lead guitar is soaring and atmospheric and the melody is absolutely beautiful. In "Under the Pillow" repeating guitar notes, organ and darker riffs reveal a shadier tone. The riffs are fluid and slightly heavier and the bass pulsates with refined intensity. The cleverly titled "#Addicted", with lyrics as compelling as the music, settles into a fine bass/drum groove as the soundscape reveals guitars with a little more crunch and keyboards adding moodier textures. Duda's bass is ever present in "Caterpillar and the Barbed Wire" and as swells of keyboards and organ slowly rise the guitar is more razor sharp and the drums more eminent. More tastiness ensues with "Saturate Me"; drums, bass, guitar and keyboards working together and retaining a heavier edge. The keyboards become spacier and the groove heavier with Duda's vocals the perfect complement to the crunchier wall of sound.

That's the first five tracks. The next five are just as good with not a dud in the bunch. Riverside has shown they are not afraid of change, but really the directional shift is not a drastic one and fans need not be worried in the slightest. If an immersive listen is what you seek look no further than Riverside's latest gem.

An InsideOut Music production.

Band members:
Mariusz Duda (vocals, bass, acoustic guitars, ukulele)
Piotr Grudziński (guitars)
Piotr Kozieradzki (drums)
Michal Lapaj (keyboards, Hammond organ)

Riverside: Love, Fear And The Time Machine
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2015-08-26 08:04:19
My Score:

If you jumped on the Riverside bandwagon years ago due to their more metallic earlier releases, chances are you'll be in for a bit of a shock at the more textured, atmospheric, and dare I say 'pop' sounds that permeate their latest InsideOut album Love, Fear And The Time Machine. Without a doubt this new one is the Polish act's most melodic release to date, and while there are still the occasional heavy riff or blazing guitar & organ solo, this is an album more dedicated to wonderful layers of bright colors, sumptuous melodies, and lush instrumentation. While tracks like "Under the Pillow", "Lost (Why Should I Be Frightened By a Hat?)", "Saturate Me", and "Caterpillar and the Barbed Wire" rock somewhat heavily in spots, much of the album floats along like the more pop laden material of Steven Wilson's band Porcupine Tree as well as some of the early '80s new wave/pop acts like The Cure or even a touch of modern day Marillion & Anathema. Throughout it all, bassist/vocalist Mariusz Duda is the true star; quite frankly his vocals have never sounded better, and he's quietly become one of the most charming singers on the progressive rock circuit.

Though I miss the more 'metal' side of Riverside's output, there's just enough of it here to keep me satisfied, but it's those killer melodies, fantastic vocals, and layers of instrumentation that will surely make me forget all that as time goes on. Riverside might be morphing into something completely different, but I think in the long run it's going to be a good thing.

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