2004 (The Laser’s Edge)
The debut album in 2004 of the Polish prog metal band Riverside is unparalleled. It’s the talk of the town in the entire prog community and if you didn’t get it; you can take it from me indiscriminately. Everything is right about the album. “Out of Myself” is full of lyrical melodies, intense atmospheres, controlled power and virtuoso efficiency. How beautiful music can be. Not too exuberant reviewer, Riverside has a kind of modesty in its expressions. Actually, you don’t want to compare the band to anything, but that doesn’t change the fact that you hear music on the cutting edge of Porcupine Tree and a dark Pink Floyd.
The album opens overwhelmingly with the epic The Same River that sweeps you of your feet in its first seven instrumental minutes with delicious guitar playing by Piotr Grudzinski. The drums of that other Piotr sound nice and loose with some dragging rolls or breaks, while the virtuoso bass guitar of Mariusz Duda takes you to another beautiful level. Meanwhile, the predominantly chord-like keys of Jacek Melnicki build up the tension and then move on to a vocal block of almost five minutes. The song ends with a glorious guitar melody that sounds so incredibly monumental that you start to wonder how long the band can keep up this level.
In the subsequent short title track they show you they can. Although the atmosphere is a lot grimmer, it is unmistakably the Riverside and nothing indicates that the show is over. That’s not going to happen either, the band continues to fascinate until the end.
“Out Of Myself” has two quiet songs, I Believe and In Two Minds. They receive nice support from the acoustic guitar played by Mariusz Duda. I really like the melodic vocal line of In Two Minds, it sounds warm and deep. Duda makes a strong impression vocally anyway over the entire album. Sometimes his surreptitious singing is somewhat reminiscent of the way Tim Bowness (No-Man) sings, sometimes absolutely not, then it’s more David Gilmour or something like that.
Speaking of the vocals: the album has a beautiful instrumental diptych, called Reality Dream. Especially the first part is of phenomenal proportions. Here the band frolics with neo-prog given the voluptuous keyboard and guitar moments. In this way, the song gets a blissful look towards Pendragon halfway through. The strength of this composition is that the typical Riverside characteristics are nowhere far away, as is very clear in the guitar-oriented second part.
The album also contains the rippling Loose Heart and the two sizzling closing songs The Curtain Falls and OK. Yet listening to this album since February 21, 2016 is no longer the same. On that date, guitarist Piotr Grudzinski died unexpectedly in his sleep of a cardiac arrest. It will always hurt to hear him play.
© Dick van der Heijde 2022