Second Life Syndrome is extremely consistent, but where it shines the most is in the epics. That honor goes to the title track, which is the best song Riverside will ever do, and a song that deserves to be called of one of the best prog epics of all time, even though it will probably never get anywhere near that level of recognition.
Although the biggest appeal to most prog fans will be that trio of epics, the Second Life Syndrome - Riverside - Second Life Syndrome (CD tracks are just as impressive. Elsewhere the band demonstrates great use of dynamics with the melancholic I Turned You Down and the post-rock inspired closer Before.
After and Artificial Smile are both solid tracks but are easily the weak points of Second Life Syndrome. The former is a pleasant-sounding intro piece that is much less interesting than everything that follows, and the latter is simply a great but straightforward hard rock song that pales in comparison to the atmosphere of the rest of the album. Although their next two releases were still very good, they would unfortunately not live up to the standard that they set on Second Life Syndrome.
Here the band displays great technical ability but never to the point of indulgence in pointless soloing or meandering riff sections. The focus is on memorable musical passages and this is achieved throughout the album. This is a piece of music that has ascended to that rarefied paradise reserved for those very special, very Second Life Syndrome - Riverside - Second Life Syndrome (CD, shut-the-hell-up-while-this-is-playing songs.
The band has produced some magnificent epics since, and at least one has edged close to the pure transcendent glory that is "Second Life Syndrome" Taken together the songs are somewhat variable in quality, which gives the album a slightly inconsistent feel. However, even if they are all not of equivalent quality the differences are slight: there are no really weak tracks on this album.
This manages to put Second Life Syndrome -- for me, anyway -- close to the top of the Album) album heap. It surely was a hell of an album to hear first; and it has been Album) by only one other. This is the second album in the threesome that make up the Reality Dream Trilogy; the Rule of Three as it were continues in the album name and the number of tracks see my review for Out of Myself for more on this. After a few rehearsals, the members realized that Album) were involved in something special and deeply satisfying.
Once a few compositions were completed, Mariusz attempted to sing in his own language, singing that was probably similar to the vocalizations in their future track "The Curtain Falls", although all future vocals and lyrics were to be written in English.
Thus Mariusz began to take on the role of vocalist, as well as that of the bass player. In Octoberabout a year after their formation, the band performed a pair of shows in Warsaw. After the distribution of about copies of their demo, the band performed at a small club in Warsaw once again in early As the band continued to write more material for a full-length release, there grew a dissonance between keyboardist Jacek and the other members of Riverside.
Jacek wished to continue with his studio pursuits, so during the latter part ofhe split from the group. The rest of the band was left to mix their first album, which was to be entitled Out of Myself. It was released in Poland in late The success of the album in Poland and the live shows that the band performed led to a release of the album on American record label Laser's Edge in Septemberthis time with cover art from Travis Smithpainter for bands such as OpethKatatoniaAnathemaand Devin Townsend.
Following their debut Out of Myself and the success that followed inthe band began working on an EP entitled Voices in My Head which was at first a release exclusive to Poland through the label Mystic Production. The quartet from Poland performed their first foreign gig at the Progpower festival in the Dutch city of Baarlo. The album was a massive success, expanding the scope of the band's reach even further than Out of Myself.
The album holds a formidable spot as number 62 on Prog Archives top prog albums as well as the number one rated album of And he succeeds. He changes. He gets rid of the aforementioned mental pictures from the past. He erases all the worries from his mind. He becomes mentally stronger. He knows that he won't be easily hurt anymore. But does stronger mean less lonely? And hasn't he lost something important on the way, his sensitivity?
Is this what he really wanted? After starts of with a whisper that preludes a very rhythm oriented track with an atmospheric vocal harmony. Volte-Face is more up tempo, an intro with straight forward drums and some guitar riffs floating around. In between the lyrics that follow after that, Piotr G starts spreading his famous guitar sounds.
The vocals have a rough edge. An excellent track. Conceiving You is a very emotional song, it is a sad, sad song. It is this song that shows what an excellent singer Mariusz is, with his own sound. Clocking in at almost 16 minutes, this track with an excellent build-up consists of three parts. It's hard to bring across what makes this track so superb but the refrain of the first part, the keyboards of the second part and the guitars of the third part should give some idea.
Sometimes when the last note has faded, I just play it a second time. The only track that I had to get used to Album) liking it was Artificial Smile. It seems very unlike Riverside. I Turned You Down has that excellent bass line and of course the long weeping guitar again. It has a recognizable sound. About gems from six decades in alphabetical order.
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