Album Review – Riverside – Love, Fear and the Time Machine (2015)

Availability: Spotify, Amazon, YouTube (full album stream), Inside Out Music

This review comes in light of the death of Piotr Grudzinski, the band’s founding guitarist, who passed away suddenly on 21st Feburary 2016 due to a cardiac arrest. Grudzinski was one of the most talented and respected guitarists to grace modern rock music, and specifically in progressive rock and metal genres. His approach to his craft with smooth and ethereal, and he produced a sound that was unique to him. People underestimate the art of music, but like with someone’s voice or someone’s style of painting or illustration, playing an instrument needs that extra something, it needs a part of the musician to make the right tune. It’s like a fingerprint. Not one musician or singer is the same, and there will be no one like Grudzinski. May he rest in peace.


The album, Love, Fear and the Time Machine is the last conceptual album of the current trilogy which has spanned six years, beginning with Anno Domini High Definition (2009), and followed from the previous album Shrine of the New Generation Slaves (2013). Two singles were released from this album, in the format of lyric music videos, Discard Your Fears (9th July 2015) and Time Travelers was premiered on 11th Feburary 2016, five months post the album’s release.

Lost (Why Should I Be Frightened by a Hat?) Instrumentally is inspired by the sound of Peter Gabriel’s Us (1992), with the drawn out keyboard, dynamically replicating the slow buildup of ‘Secret World’, with Piotr Grudzinski paying tribute to Tony Levin, a long-time contributor and collaborator to Gabriel’s solo projects since 1977 with Peter Gabriel I (Cars). Since the foundation of Riverside, Grudzinski had always managed to compliment Mariusz Duda’s voice, being the contributory backing vocals, with Michal Lapaj incidentally flattering Piotr in turn.

Under the Pillow has an interesting 90s’ alternative feel, concentrating influence from bands Oasis and The Verve, with a dash of Genesis psychedelic, and comparable lyrical configuration similar to dark cabaret project of Chris Corner (formerly of trip-hop group Sneaker Pimps), IAMX. #Addicted continues on from the dark cabaret, into the mournful undercurrents of Tool (Schism) and alternative rock band The Keane from their first album Hopes and Fears (2004), notably their song Bedshaped, before they venture into acoustic interludes with ambient prose.

Caterpillar and the Barbed Wire, merges djent, that being the emphasis of the bass, neo-progressive rock and folk into this track, utilizing their unique inflection from the album (Second Life Syndrome, (2005) and Rapid Eye Movement, 2007), being a spiritual sequel or continuation from tracks Conceiving You, Second Life Syndrome, Schizophrenic Prayer and Cybernetic Pillow; in terms of Duda’s harmonizing, and echoing surround sound (echoing effect).

Saturate Me has an incredible strong Yes feel, from their early works (Yes, 1969 – Drama, 1980), with parts of Genesis being thrown in (Lapaj paying homage once more to Tony Banks), before Emerson, Lake and Palmer concepts are introduced. Afloat is the companion piece of #Addicted, with the dark progressive roots of Tool, but additionally experiments alternative metal with acoustic accent, sharing elements from their peers Katatonia, and Linkin Park (Minutes to Midnight, 2006 – comparable tracks Leave Out all the Rest, In Pieces and The Little Things Give You Away).

Discard Your Fear transfers back to the sounds of the 90s, where progressive rock and grunge fused, with djent and progressive metal instrumentations present. Towards the Blue Horizon is at first a pure acoustic track on the album (soft rock), transferring ambience and dream pop character, the drums in the formation of percussion and the electric guitar restrained to further compliment the new direction, but then, with Mariusz Duda’s voice used as an interlude, like Greg Lake on Tarkus of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (Tarkus, 1971), they return to their progressive rock origins, and tell a story just through the journey of their music.

*Towards the Blue Horizon, though incidental, has been used frequently by Riverside fans to pay tribute to Piotr Grudzinski as a consequence of the lyrics being relevant to his career choices and passing.

Time Travelers, is another acoustic track, this time with folk/country (Americana) muse, with strong influences from Greg Lake’s acoustic works in his solo career and with Emerson, Lake and Palmer (C’est la Vie, Footprints in the Snow, and Watching Over You) in lyrical delivery and the strength in the guitar strings, Duda pouring his heart and soul.

Found (The Unexpected Flaw of Searching) carries through with the Americana score, this time introducing Gabriel era Genesis notes, inspired by Steve Hackett’s introduction of The Musical Box (1971), with the tempo of Lake’s famous track What a Lucky Man (1970), and then throws in Marillion styled guitar solos as forms of intervals, enthused from Steve Rothery.  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s