Polish progressive rock band Riverside has recently released an EP entitled “Memories In My Head” which is currently being sold on their ongoing “10th Anniversary Tour”. The 33 minute EP will be officially available for purchase by end of June 2011.
World renowned metal artist Travis Smith handled the illustration, design and layout of this mini-release.
1- Goodbye Sweet Innocence
2- Living In The Past
3- Forgotten Land
Running at 33 minutes with 3 songs, this is surely a sign of Riverside further experimenting with their sound. Reminiscent of “Second Life Syndrome”, “The Same River”, “Ultimate Trip” and other fan favorites, the songs on this EP incorporate extensive atmospheric parts and soundtrack-like ambiance that’ll surely be a great addition to their live shows.
After reaching huge success with their latest release “Anno Domini High Definition” in 2009, it seems quite odd that the band have decided to go back in time and revive past glories and whatnot. As a big Riverside fan myself, I expected them to take it to the next level, to make ADHD look like child’s play, to reinvent progressive rock as we know it. Perhaps I was expecting much from one of my favorite bands, but if you’ve listened to their previous releases, you’d also share this great anticipation of “the next masterpiece”.
While “Memories in My Head” may not be an instant masterpiece, it’s nothing but an exciting venture into atmospheric and melodic territories. There’s still that great bass tone and classy drumming familiar with Riverside fans, and there’s definitely a major Pink Floyd influence, even more than before. It’s also noticeable that Riverside’s sound is picking up that spiritual feel from frontman Mariusz’s side project Lunatic Soul. A good example of that is “Living in the Past”, a beautiful journey through alternate worlds and memories, with trademark soulful guitar layering and a huge focus on keyboards and its vast array of effects. My absolute favorite part on this song is the haunting and creepy children music run at the end which highlight the brilliant progressive structuring and musical creativity of Riverside, with their ability to connect to the listener as if one’s watching a movie of his past life (evident in the lyrics: “My future is living in the past”).
With memories being somehow confusing and unclear, the atmospheric and soundtrack-ish approach fit the album’s concept of recalling the past. “Forgotten Land” is a good example of that, especially with that extended effects section which runs through the entire second half of the song. The first half has a common verse/chorus structure with narrative-like lyrics of a father telling his son a story about the land’s wealthy yet corrupt past, which eventually lead to its present status as deserted and empty, filled with dust and the crying souls of greedy men.
On the other hand, “Goodbye Sweet Innocence” takes a while to get started… we’re talking 2:30 minutes of Pink Floyd 70’s atmospheric keyboard before the bass guitar kicks in. The song is surely positive both in lyrical meaning and musical delivery, especially in its optimistic chorus: “When something ends | Something else begins”. Mellow would best describe the first 6:30 minutes of the song, and intense would most fit henceforward. All in all, when atmospheric songs and positive moods are good mood setters, it’s when Riverside crosses over to the aggressive gloomy side that I begin to enjoy their passion and musical strength: quite easily my favorite track on this release.
This is another good release by Poland’s most renowned rock band, and while reviews and fans might probably have mixed opinions on the idea of recalling the band’s earlier days, this EP’s most certainly not a copycat of say “Out Of Myself” or “Second Life Syndrome”. After a few listens, “Memories In My Head” will find its way into a new category on Riverside’s already rich portfolio, backed up by Mariusz stating that “Memories in My Head is an album which appears out of nowhere, without much promotion; we hope, though, that its content can defend itself and that it will evoke a lot of positive emotions”. Riverside are summing up a decade of prog rock with a ‘has it all’ release, an avid collector’s EP and a big question mark on the band’s future direction.