Fifth studio album from Polish prog rock export number one, comes some three years after their pervious release, which might have been a solid record, but it never reached the creative height of its two predecessors.
Shrine Of New Generation Slaves (or simply SONGS), much like any other Riverside release, offers an interesting ride for the listener as well as an noticeable musical progress. This time around the band focuses far more on the very classic prog rock that is ispired tham to start playing this kind of music in the first place. This aspect has always been part of the band’s music, but never to such a degree as it is on SONGS. This is evident from the opener “New Generation Slave” where jamming sequences and nonetheless organ sound draw parallels to some of the most significant prog bands of the 70’s.
Solid album opener, however, is followed with a song, which displays the other side to this album – mellower and less classically inspired side. And this song, “The Depth of Self – Delusion” is a perfect display of this band’s métier and one of those songs that can stand proudly next to biggest musical accomplishments of their career. This song is one of those superior examples of a song where absolutely every aspect of it gels perfectly together and the result is musical and emotional entity that is simply flawless and as such it seamlessly sucks you in, into its world.
These first two songs are very good representation of the album. First off, the upbeat ‘70’s inspired songs are very well executed, good songs, but in all honesty, Riverside spirit has hard time shining through. It’s as if they feel too much like a good tribute to time gone by and less like inspiration and basis for Riverside songs.
Generally looking the album is far less upbeat and the heavier parts are very few to spot. The immediate complexity of the songs is also tuned down, but songs still have the progressive feel to them, especially when it comes to the arrangements.
And then there are quieter, more atmospheric songs, which are undeniably Riverside. These are the best moments on the album. Above mentioned “The Depth of Self – Delusion” as well as “We Got Used To Us” and “Deprived (Irretrievably Lost Imagination)” are nothing short of songwriting victories and listening to them the one feels like a deer caught in the headlights – mesmerized and surrendered to their magic.
SONGS might not quite match the magic of Second Life Syndrome and Rapid Eye Movement, but it comes close, very close indeed. Shrine Of New Generation Slaves is a another fine chapter in history of this band and very promising start for prog year 2013.