I have to give Iris Hidding a huge amount of credit for getting me into Riverside thanks to her blogsite, Grendel Headquarters. Formed in 2001 in Warsaw, Poland by Maruisz Duda, Piotr Grudzinski, Piotr Kozieradzki, and Jacer Melnicki, they both had a love and share of both the Progressive Rock and Heavy Metal sounds. They have released five albums going back from 2003 to 2013. Last year they released their sixth album entitled Love, Fear and the Time Machine on the InsideOut Music label in the fall.
It is also the last album to feature guitarist Piotr Grudzinski who sadly passed away this year in February of a sudden cardiac arrest. It’s a sad loss for Riverside. They are going to release a 2-CD set on October 21st entitled Eye of the Soundscape which is going to be a compilation with new mixes from 2007 to 2008 from their two previous albums and unreleased material that Grudzinski did between January and February of this year. While it is very sad that it is hard to believe that Grudzinski is no longer with the Riverside family, the sixth album which is now reissued in a CD/DVD format with a 5.1 mix done by Bruce Soord of The Pineapple Thief, it is to honor and dedicate the memory of Piotr Grudzinski.
The opener, Lost (Why Shouldn’t I Be Frightened by a Hat?) begins with the first 2-minutes and 34-second of organ-driven sounds, harmonizing background and scat vocals followed by an acoustic rhythm before it comes a heavier sound kicks into overdrive with a Floydian-sque sound by Grudzinski. Under The Pillow features a clean guitar rhythm through a delay/reverb effect.
It has a psychedelic sound and featuring a darker melody as the lyrics with dealing of being you own worst enemy. Both Mariusz and Piotr work well like an electrical spark of high voltage on Bass and Guitar while keyboardist Lapaj brings forth the moog and organ to create the nightmare sequences throughout his improvisation. #Addicted is a haunting composition.
Beginning with Mariusz’s sinister bass riff as the lyrics talk about the obsessive behavior of social networking and the price we pay from it of our 15-minutes of fame. But it also deals with wearing the mask as it becomes your protective shield and not knowing who you are behind the mask you are wearing underneath it. The first 2-minutes of Saturate Me is an instrumental introduction as Riverside have complete control.
With heavier guitar distortions and bass riffs, it moves into a spacey/electronic melody. Riverside deal on the lyrics throughout the melody of being invisible from the public eye and not feeling you are one anymore. Afloat reminisces Tool’s Lateralus-era as Mariusz channels not just Justin Chancellor, but Riverside honoring both Mike Oldfield and Italian Prog-maestros Goblin.
The DVD contains both the sessions in which the band were working, music video for Found (The Unexpected Flaw of Searching), trailers for the album which have an eerie David Lynch atmosphere and Twilight Zone-sque, and the music video which is on the DVD, has this homage to the late Storm Thorgerson as if Riverside wanted to honor and stay true to the vision of Storm’s vision and they nailed it on Found.
The 5.1 mixing that Soord on here is amazing. It contains five tracks during the Day sessions as a bonus audio track in hi-res stereo mix, and I can hear the instruments flowing in both sides as he nailed it down one by one. I wish I could go on about it, but it’s not just a great album, but one of the strongest, emotional, haunting, and spectacular albums I’ve listened to.
While it was a sad loss of the death of guitarist Piotr Grudzinski and this was his last album with the band, it is a moving farewell to him. If you want to delve deep into Riverside’s music, then this is the album to get you started. And it's worth recommended.