Poland Strikes Again!

Riverside – Second Life Syndrome

About two years ago, I stumbled across this Polish band on the Internet. I found a few songs, liked them, ordered the album Out Of Myself and was blown away! I still rate this debut album as one of the best Prog-Rock-albums of all times.

Earlier this year, the band released an EP with some new songs and live tracks from the debut. Voices In My Head was a great cliffhanger to keep us fans interested and it sure made appetite for the next “proper” album.

And now, Second Life Syndrome has finally arrived. This album is the middle part of what will be a musical trilogy, with Out Of Myself being the “Introduction”. So where do we go on this second act? First thing you notice is that there’s a heavier attitude all over the album. More uptempo songs, more heavy guitars and a few more growls. But despite that, Riverside manage to keep the melancholy alive. After the intro and the in-your-face-rocker Volte-Face, the band delivers a fine semi-ballad with Conceiving You, a dark piece of suffering and torn-apart feelings. They keep that mood alive in the first part of the 15 minute long title track which is a real monster and shows the great capabilities of all band members.

Artifical Smile is another great rock song that leaves no breathing space. It is only with I Turned You Down, the second wonderful ballad, that you will find some time to relax… but only for a moment! Excellent instrumental track Reality Dream III (a sequel to the ones on Out Of Myself) once again shows what these guys are capable of. The song then leads over to 11-minute-epic Dance With The Shadow, before the album concludes with the wonderful, almost positive Before (and positive in Riverside-terms doesn’t mean happy!).

So what do I think about Second Life Syndrome? I think the band did everything right. They have added a much heavier tone which helps to differ this one from its predecessor, but at the same time they managed to keep that special, dark mood alive. It’s a much more angrier album, and I’m already wondering how they will conclude this trilogy. In the meantime, I can enjoy two great albums that will keep me busy for quite a while!

You can find some songs from the first album here… enjoy!

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