I don’t really write reviews unless somehow I am motivated. I am motivated in this case because Riverside is back. I mean really back. Following the death of guitarist Piotr Grudziński in 2016, it was unclear how or even IF Riverside would continue. The band initially decided to proceed as a trio with guest guitarists assisting them. This seemed like a tentative step forward but made sense for sure.
In 2018, they released “Wasteland” which just didn’t click with me. They clearly missed Grudziński and his sense of melody. The guitar work was mostly handled by Mariusz Duda and it was good but they were like a car with only three wheels. Even current guitarist Maciej Meller’s solos didn’t really fit. But he was subsequently asked to join the band. I wasn’t sure it would work but thankfully it has. The new album “ID.Entity” shows that the band has indeed gelled and Meller is the right person for the job.
Musically this sounds more like classic Riverside to me. Think a mix of “Second Life Syndrome” and perhaps “Rapid Eye Movement.” The album looks at how technology is taking over our lives and musically it’s more aggressive than “Wasteland.” The band sound more confident as well. The songs are just a strong batch. When the first two singles are the last two songs on the album, you know this is a VERY strong album musically. Both the heavy “I’m Done With You” and the closing track “Self-Aware” are killer. The latter is much longer on the album which needs to be heard. A great ending.
“Friend or Foe?” leads the album off and sounds different than really anything they have done and I love the track for that reason. But by the time the second song “Landmine Blast” it sounds like the aforementioned classic Riverside. The opening voice on “Big Tech Brother” is annoying but the song makes up for that. That’s probably the only downside of the whole album. “ID.Entity” has a timely (and intelligent) theme running thru it lyrically and this is some of the best variety of music that Riverside have ever done. There’s something for every Riverside fan on this album.
Label: Inside Out Music
Release Date: 20 January 2023