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Riverside: Wasteland
Riverside - Wasteland Music Review

Riverside: Wasteland

Melodic Progressive Rock

Poland's Riverside returns to face new challenges in a new chapter of their musical life. Wasteland, their seventh studio album, is the first since the untimely death of founding member and guitarist Piotr Grudzinski. The band will carry on as a trio, but with Maciej Meller as their fourth member and live guitarist. Additionally, for this album he does offer some guitar solos.

Riverside Band Photo Click For Larger Image


If you suspect Wasteland to be something of a concept album about their feelings about the death of their friend, you would be partially right. Having an affinity for apocalyptic literature (Cormac McCarthy, et al), principal songwriter Mariusz Duda has written songs about a post-apocalyptic life (The Day After, Acid Rain, The Struggle For Survival, Wasteland). But the concept is also a metaphor for life after loss, the death of Piotr Grudzinski. (Enjoy the band bio and Wasteland one-sheet for more information.)

Musically, then, Wasteland is typical Riverside: melancholy melodic progressive rock. Ergo, music fits theme, and vice versa. As usual, for this listener, I enjoy most any Riverside composition, provided I'm not having a "blue" day (or god forbid, being subject to a daily dose of Zoloft). Most songs turn upon the usual suspects: acoustic guitar, twists of light to heavy riffs, steady bass groove, modestly heavy drums and, of course, Duda's emotional and melancholy voice and vocal arrangements. Lilting through and often culminating a Riverside arrangment is keen guitar licks and soaring solos, which hit my musical sweet spot (and most often give me a Pink Floyd feeling). Yet the larger sweet spot is those guitar lines in the context of Riverside's effortless use of compositional harmony and melody through the acoustic guitars and Duda's voice. If any of this echoes with your appreciation of Riverside, then you will thoroughly enjoy Wasteland. To briefly mention some favorite songs, I had an ear for the mostly instrumental The Struggle For Survival; the solemn Lament with its voice over acoustic guitar, and fine violin outro; and, the mellow acoustic rhythm and fine guitar solo of River Down Below. - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

The Bottom Line

Wasteland finds Riverside, after the loss of guitarist Piotr Grudzinski, as a threesome yet with guest musicians to help them deliver another fine album of their melancholy melodic progressive rock.

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