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Riverside: ID.Entity

ID.Entity is the first Riverside album for just over 4 years and it’s also the first proper with guitarist Maciej Meller playing a full, active role since he joined the band after the tragic death of Piotr Grudzi�"ski in 2016. Those events are a lot for any band to take in and with that in mind it should maybe be more understandable that this latest offering from this Polish outfit feels like it lands somewhere between evolution and reinvention. Don’t get me wrong, ID.Entity sounds like Riverside and no mistake and yet there are flavours here that we haven’t heard before and in opening cut, “Friend Or Foe”, maybe even an 80s synth-pop surge that we may never have expected. Once you make the adjustment, it becomes one of the strongest outings on an album brimming with excellence. Michal Lapaj’s keys are immediately more vital and driving in the band’s sound than you might expect and the vocals from Mariusz Duda, who obviously plays bass on the album and adds a little extra guitars, are at this point closer to those of Morten Harket than I ever thought possible!

The off kilter beats from Piotr Kozieradzki that blend seamlessly with the full on bass flirtations that make for the hard hitting yet dreamy “Landmine Blast” feels much more familiar, Duda’s soothing vocals the perfect accompaniment to the harsher music. From there some kind of keyboard oompha dance takes us into “Big Tech Brother”, revealing for me the key here, Riverside have decided that in a more blatant and less nuanced world, so they should be attacking things head on, whether that be musically as this track evolves into a heavy riffing monster or through some ‘to the point’ lyrics that I haven’t quite made my mind up on as to whether they are just a little too ‘this is what we mean’, or a perfect comment on our times. Hence that we get song titles like “Post Truth” should be shock to no one, even if we’re dealing with one of the more darting, elusive songs in terms of approach, swirling riffs bouncing off stabbing guitars, Duda’s unmistakable world weary voice and some pin-point snare smacks and tom tumbles taking you deep into this song’s world.

Coming in at over 13 minutes, “The Place I Belong To” again alludes to the misplaced trust we put in the modern world - the feeling of what you see being far from what you get wrapped up in a song that maybe reveals influences such as Pink Floyd and Deep Purple in a way this band haven’t for many a year. That said, it all comes together in a way deeply ingrained in the Riverside ethos and the band appear equally interested in the messages they want to get across as they are in making sure you take every twisting musical turn with them. It’s worth mentioning here that Meller’s guitar solo is a true thing of beauty, with his fluid style possibly one of the most obvious new paths being explored as the band incorporate each of the four member’s strengths into their sound.

Not maybe quite as angry at its outset as you might expect, “I’m Done With You” becomes a masterclass in dynamics, biting and snarling in turn with some passages that soothe and caress. I’d guess that with its lulling howl this is destined to become a favourite as the band bring their new songs into the live arena. All of which leaves “Self Aware” to close things out, the unexpected step of Riverside adding some reggae rhythms to their armoury interesting, if not exactly where I personally want to hear them. However, combined to the band’s ever in effect otherworldliness - and a few guitar tones that even remind of Alex Lifeson in places - it almost takes us back to the 80s inspired feel that brought us into ID.Entity in the first place.

Riverside are back and while they absolutely know who and what they are, they are asking you to question everything you encounter. With ID.Entity they’ve provided the perfect soundtrack to your awakening.

Track Listing
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

Added: January 19th 2023
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Riverside online
Hits: 6891
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Riverside: ID.Entity
Posted by Frank S. Castro on 2023-01-23 18:14:16
My Score:

2023 looks promising in terms of new releases and ID.Entity doesn't disappoint. 'Friend or Foe' gets indeed better with each additional listen. 'Big Tech Brother', 'The Place Where I Belong' and 'I'm done with you' were also the tracks I enjoyed the most. Thanks for the review, Steven!




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