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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Shrine of the New Generation Slaves (Limited Edition)
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 21 January 2013
Shrine Of New Generation Slaves, from 2013, is the fifth full-length studio album by the superb Polish Progressive band Riverside.

If you haven't heard Riverside yet, but are a fan of Prog, Neo-Prog or Prog Metal and especially if you are a fan of bands like Pink Floyd, Marillion, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Pain Of Salvation, Tool and Karnivool, then you really ought to at least check them out. They blend familiar sounds from many types and eras of progressive music into a distinctive and fresh sound all of their own, and manage to write great songs in the process.

To call Shrine Of The New Generation Slaves a departure from the band's established sound may be a little bit of an overstatement, but its certainly no repeat of anything they've done before either. Don't get me wrong, the band are still playing creative, interesting and thoughtful progressive music that is accessible but with a bit of depth, and that owes as much to the 1970s as it does to both the 80s and modern Prog and Prog Metal bands like they always do, but the mood of the record is very different.

Its a lot brighter, bouncier and almost happy sounding, which is not something you would usually associate with the band, save perhaps 2009's ADHD album. Its definitely closer in spirit to ADHD than it is to 2011's Memories In My Head EP, but then again its really not all that sonically similar to ADHD either when you get right down to it.

It feels like the band just want to mix it up a little and avoid becoming stale. The main riff from the lead single `Celebrity Touch' for example sounds more like something from a stoner rock band, or perhaps even Coverdale era Deep Purple.

The title track; after a powerful intro reminiscent of the band's Second Life Syndrome material, is a similarly fun and 70s sounding track. There are really heavy bits punctuating it, but the track is primarily constructed from fun bendy riffs and playful keyboards.

`Feel Like Falling' has an off-beat and synthetic tinge to it that is very reminiscent of the 1980s. Its fun, but fun in a completely different way. `Deprived' by contrast is moody, hypnotic and jazzy sounding.

Then there's the twelve-minute `Escalator Shine', which at first sounds like a modern reimagining of Gentle Giant's `In The Glass House' doing a tour of different moods before it goes off on various tangents. At points, its the closest the band have ever come to sounding like Jethro Tull in a strange, small way but other sections are drenched in keys that remind you of Animals era Pink Floyd, then theirs fast bits that go a little Dream Theater-esque, vocal styles the band haven't tried before and it even kicks off into big groove at one point.

The record ends on an acoustic number, which the band have done before, but this one has a much brighter, sweeter and more positive sound than any they've written in the past.

If you love the band's early stuff already, don't be scared off by reports of a drastic shift in sound and style. Its not so much a band reinventing themselves but rather the same bad in a different mood. They undeniably do try new things but their core sound is still detectable. There are still lots of proggy moments, bits that calm down into spacey moods and Mariusz's distinctive voice and bass sound still anchor's it to the band's core sound.

Regardless of style, the quality of the material is superb. Its brilliant, genuinely fresh and exciting progressive music that isn't too basic, or indeed too dense. There's a mixture of acoustic, electric and electronic components, brilliant clear vocals conveying a mixture of emotions, additional instrumentation in small non-novelty bursts. Everything is tastefully woven together and it flows well as an album. You get small twinges of everything the band have done before and new ground as well. Really, you couldn't ask for more.

I'm not sure if this would make a great first Riverside album for a new fan or not, its certainly pretty accessible and very enjoyable indeed, but at the same time perhaps try it in addition to one of their other studio albums as well just to be safe.

For existing fans, give it a try. It is a very good and enjoyable record indeed. As long as the stylistic shift doesn't put you off, the incredible quality of the music should convince you. The only real flaw anyone could level against it is that the experimentation results in less cohesion than Riverside albums usually offer, but that' really down to personal taste.

Personally, I love this record. It delivers enough heaviness, enough subtleness and enough fun little touches here and there to draw me in. It balances enough of what I already liked and enough surprises to really captivate me as a fan and I haven't been able to take it off repeat since I first heard it.

*** If you can, and if its reasonably priced, try and get yourself the special edition of the record. It contains a second disc with two bonus instrumental tracks called `Night Session' parts one and two, which collectively come in at around twenty-two minutes. They're in a completely different style than the album itself, but are a great addition. ***
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on 30 March 2013
When Riverside hit the record stores back in 2003 with their debut 'Out of Myself' this seemed like a Prog Rockers dream. Fusing elements of Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath this was (along with Porcupine Tree) Prog Rock for the new millenium. However as if to garner the young 'Kerrang!' readship's praises they seemed to gradually become 'heavier' and more 'metallic' and after 3 great albums the very disappointing (to me at least) Anno Domini was more like Metallica than Pink Floyd. This isn't to disparage Metallica and others who play outright metal mind you, but with Riverside the strengths of subtley, emotion and intelligent (not overtly 'clever') chord structure seem to be submerged when they play a TOO metallic style. As if to realise that a more subtle approach is their forte this album features (as do the early ones) 'heavy' moments, but you never feel they are trying TOO hard to impress. Listen for example to 'The Depth of Self-Delusion' a mixture of almost 'jazzy' verses with some heavier moments. 'We Got Used to Us' though is a return to the simplicity that made 'Conceving You' from 'Second
Life Syndrome' so good. There are fewer instrumentals on this album than some of their other albums and some will feel that this is a good thing. Sound quality is, as with all Riverside albums, exceptional and the rich harmonics of Mariusz Duda's restrained vocals and Piotr Grudzinski's excellent guitar playing shine through. Either way the songs are very good and it's high time this band were given the credit (and success) they deserve.
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on 23 February 2016
Fantastic cd cannot complain at all.That's 6 riverside cd's I have now.Who would have thought.
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on 25 January 2013
Great new album from Polish prog masters Riverside. I see this as a bit of a return to the light and shade of their first few albums but it's been given a modern twist with a slice of accessibility. Think Porcupine Tree with some Floyd and touches of Marillion. Throw in some classic rock and some Jon Lord-inspired Hammond organ and you are getting there. Not as heavy as some of the previous albums but it is a real grower and wets the appetite even more for the UK gigs in March and I for one will certainly be there in Glasgow. Spread the word.

14.03.2013 London (UK) - O2 Islington Academy
15.03.2013 Sheffield (UK) - Y-Prog 2013
16.03.2013 Glasgow (UK) - Classic Grand
17.03.2013 Leamington Spa (UK) - The Assembly
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on 23 January 2013
Agree with the enthusiasm of other posters but do not get the retro references. There is nothing 80's about this sound. The only real 70's influence is some great Hammond style soloing but it is so contrasting in this setting that it is a stark surprise. This is a dense but accessible, complex yet listenable experience. It rocks, riffs and rolls. The sound and production is current in a good way. You will recognise it as Riverside yet it takes them in further in the direction of tighter song structures with more complex arrangements. You can head bang to some of it, dance to other bits and drift away on others. One of only a few bands moving the rock agenda forward and still attaining high quality. the bonus disc is almost ambient house. Stick with it. Some great Sax playing.
Only thing I do not like is the title of the album. For a genre that suffers due to perceptions of pretenciousness, and a band with such direct lyrical approach, it idoes not help nor reflect the content.
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on 22 January 2013
Absolute excellence! Musically speaking, conceptually brilliant; lyrically and vocally, just what the doctor doesn't usually order but what every good patient needs, I keep my appointments here always. There’s no cure for great music, but yet more great music. Riverside for some reason hit the nail right on the head every time, this one is no exception. The experience just gets better all the time. Perhaps this is because with each new release there is always more to run about the corridors of your mind.

While I can’t recommend this latest release highly enough to newcomers or anyone already familiar with this band, each of the previous albums are just as important.

The way I have come to look at Riverside as a collective and the experience of listening to them is this: The music is like a magical box; contained within a box shaped like a CD case or record sleeve you remove the box from the box and let it play, once it plays all kinds of magical things happen. If you will knock on their door, through the sound box you won’t be disappointed. Brilliant work and I can also highly recommend all Lunatic Soul albums with an equal amount of due respect.
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on 24 January 2013
The polish progressive rock at it's very best! I have been following Riverside for a few years now buying each sucessive album and they simply keep getting better and better. Shrine of New Generation Slaves throws a full spectrum of emotions at you, it is beautiful and almost haunting one minute and heavy and angry the next; it is a real homage to 70s progressive rock in it's arrangement, long guitar solos and lots of layers to the music but at the same time Riverside's unique style manages to make it sound modern and original. Buy it! you will not be dissapointed.
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on 9 May 2013
I have got all their cd's and I have to say this is by far the best. This band are so underrated . Can't stop playing it. Some beautiful songs by some great musicians.
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on 27 January 2013
Just wanted to give this another 5 stars. I never look forward to new albums from any band as I'm often disapointed, but this came out and was blown away by it. I've followed them for several years and this is their best album so far; much more accessable and mainstream (I must be getting old).
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on 17 February 2013
Others have written eloquently about this album, so I will keep this short. I was eagerly anticipating this album and it hasn't dissappointed. The single "Celebrity Touch" is an instant like, but I found the more I listened to this album the more it grew on me with some killer hooks buried in the soundscape these excellent musicians produce. At the start of 2013 it has clearly set the standard for Album of the Year. A must buy for anyone with an interest in intelligently written progressive music.
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