Thursday, January 17, 2013

Riverside - Shrine of New Generation Slaves (2013)
The melancholic prog titans have returned with what may be their best effort yet. Borrowing liberally from Pink Floyd, Deep Purple and others, Riverside have no qualms about showing off every ounce of musical talent they possess on this album. Whether it's the complex keyboard-guitar interplay on "Escalator Shrine" or the infectious riffs of "Celebrity Touch," this is a band whose musical skills are a true force of nature. But the real strength of the band is Mariusz Duda's hypnotizing, mournful vocals which anchor the songs and give them a real sense of direction. The lyrical theme on the album is that of alienation from modern life due to technology and globalization so in that sense this very much feels like a concept album. But even more important than the question of it being a concept album is the question of how it ranks quality-wise. I can say that this ranks extremely high both in the band's discography and relative to other prog artists, and that it will easily fall into my "Best of 2013" list.

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