RIVERSIDE – Second Life Syndrome

RIVERSIDE - Second Life Syndrome


Release date: October 31, 2005

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Only a year has passed since Polish quartet Riverside debuted with the highly acclaimed Out Of Myself, and expectations have been sky high in front of their conceptual follow up, Second Life Syndrome. Meanwhile, they have replaced their keyboard player and taken live audiences by storm.

The Music

The band admits the success of the debut came unexpectedly and that pressure was indeed felt during the making of the oh-so-difficult second album. However, they decided to remain true to their original conceptual idea: an album trilogy focusing on a man who has lost himself.

Out Of Myself put Riverside in the Art category of Progressive Rock. This new album takes it a step further, and a lot more darkness and aggression/frustration is added with a beneficial outcome. The common comparison to Pink Floyd is at best limiting, although Floyd’s influence is in the core of Riverside’s music. Some will also find parallels to Anathema and Tool, but more than this, Second Life Syndrome is a manifest from a band with a unique identity and huge potential.

Songs like the opener “After” and the conclusion “Before” are obvious favorites, but the massive title track, “Second Life Syndrome,” and the cleverly evolving “Dance With The Shadow,” are definite highlights. Yet, there are five more songs that all peak into the superlative end of the scale.

The Band

A natural focal point is bassist and singer Mariusz Duda. His dynamic and honest voice is velvet-like or barbed wire depending on the mood. His capacity as a bassist is humbly displayed through a number of tiny, smart melody lines, often used to start or define a movement in the song.

Michal Tapaj, who is their new keyboard player, is also a remarkable character. Except for his snarling Hammond organ grooves, he serves up everything from poetic piano passages to soothing ambient moods.

And where would Riverside be without Piotr Grudzinski on guitars? Listen to the tone in most of his passionate solos and surrender. Worth mentioning is also the dynamic interplay between him and Michal Tapaj, contributing to a very natural or live sound.

Piotr Kotzieradzki knows his drum kit well, and handles all songs with the greatest ease. However, the production is not always in his favor. But, the album is dominated by superb sound and innovative drumming, so this is easily forgiven.

The Verdict

The album doesn’t need much time to grow on you, but there are plenty of details to discover nearly each time around. Even if the story is a little far-fetched at times, the interplay between words and music is rarely clever. Thus, this is a safe buy for Progressive Rockers of all ages.


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

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