Riverside continue to evolve on their new album “Love, Fear and the Time Machine” It’s fair to say that the band are more focused on melody and song structure than on showing off their chops as they might have done in the past. While I don’t think “Love, Fear and the Time Machine” is a complete departure for the band, what it does is allow Maruisz Duda to really sing.
The songs are incredibly melodic and yes, catchy. It’s impossible not to sing along with the opener “Lost” or its counterpart closer “Found” after a few listens. It allows for a greater appreciation of Duda’s voice. He has developed into one of the best voices in the progressive rock and metal scene. Check out his vocal on the gentle start of “Towards the Blue Horizon.” Just a beautiful performance on a beautiful song, which also goes Opeth toward the end of it!
Diversity is another key to “Love, Fear and the Time Machine.” The songs each have their own feel to them. It’s never dark though. Where the songs on “Shrine Of New Generation Slaves” were very pessimistic, these songs are the other side of the coin. The overall vibe and feel is a very bright and positive one. “Under My Pillow” does have a Steven Wilson vibe but more if it was run through an OSI filter of some kind.
If I am nitpicking as I always do, I guess I would have avoided the hashtag in the title of “#Addicted” because it does seem trendy. The song itself has a pulsating, almost bopping beat to it. Remember “Maneater” by Hall and Oates? Ok, it’s not THAT boppy but if you sped that song up, it would have that sort of feel. Duda’s bass playing is on full display. This just in: he is really good.
And let’s not forget the rest of the band because this is far from a Lunatic Soul album here. The interplay of guitar Piotr Grudziński and Duda is perfect to start off the song “Saturate Me,” a favorite of mine on the album. Michał Łapaj goes from vintage organs to a hypnotic synth which allows this mini-epic to really build nice and slowly.
“Love, Fear and the Time Machine” could be the album that brings Riverside the large audience they deserve. Fans who keep wanting Porcupine Tree to reform, need to move on and accept the fact that Riverside are doing modern prog as well as that band ever did. The lead single “Discard Your Fear” is a prime example. This has that Porcupine Tree vibe, somewhere between “Deadwing and “Fear of a Blank Planet.” Not a knock off by any means! Riverside have taken that template and owned it.
Riverside have actually raised their game on this album because the songs are so strong. The songs are perhaps more “to the point” but still have plenty of intricacies to keep the listener discovering new parts each time they listen. Riverside have progressed, which is the point. This isn’t as jammy as “Anno Domini High Definition” nor is it as cynical as “Shrine Of New Generation Slaves.” If anything this is the dawn when compared to “Shine” which is more like nightfall. The bottom line is this is a band that is more confident than ever and have crafted their best album to date because of that.
“…and let’s believe this is our time.”