Tuesday, September 8, 2015

RIVERSIDE: Love, Fear and the Time Machine (2015)

  I've spent the last 2 hours trying to figure out a way to "approach" the new album of the Polish Prog-Metal band Riverside, named 'Love, Fear and the Time Machine'.
 Before continuing this post, I should say that this is not a review. I feel that I really can't write a decent review for this album, that's why I'll write some of my thoughts about it instead.
  The first time I heard about Riverside was almost 5-6 years ago, and the first album I ever listened was their debut one 'Out of Myself', which I think was a great one. Now I got all their albums, so I think I have a rather "spherical" opinion about their music.
  Before starting writing this post, I read many reviews and most of them are characterising it as a modern masterpiece. 'Why I can't see that'? I wondered to myself. I've listened to it again and again, in order to be able to "discover" the masterpiece everybody's talking about, but I'm afraid I couldn't. What I'm hearing is a very well structured album, with good production, and some nice ideas and melodies every now and then. Also, it includes some good and interesting songs. But that's too far from characterising it as a "masterpiece", right?
  Another fact is that I've always considered Riverside as a band influenced mainly by the sound of Tool. (In their first 3 albums at least). Later on, they tried to develop their sound and make it more "personal", especially  in the albums 'Anno Domino High Definition' and 'Shrine of the New Generation Slaves'. In my opinion ADHD was an etremely technical but not so inspired album, and 'Shrine of the...' kind of a bad and boring one. So, when I listened to this album for the first time I was really surprised by this major change in their sound. Upon listening to the album, I found myself trying to figure out what their new sound is reminding me off. The first 2 names that came to my mind are the ones of Steven Wilson and Gazpacho.
 But let's take a look what we have here. 'Love, Fear and the Time Machine' is an album that it probably will define the sound of Riverside in the following years, which as it seems it is going to the opposite direction than the one we were used to so far. It has a low tempo in general, with many melodic passages, and a sad and melancholic overall feeling. Also, the strong bass sound and the wild guitar riffs are replaced (on many occasions) by keyboards, and this is a sign of what we should expect from now on.
 Concluding this, I should say that Riverside's new album is something completely different in many ways than their previous works, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Many people will be surprised for sure, and many more will find it brilliant. 
 But speaking for myself, I can't give over 3 out of 5 stars for it...