RIVERSIDE – ID.Entity (2-CD Deluxe Edition) (2023)

RIVERSIDE - ID.Entity (2-CD Deluxe Edition) (2023) - full

RIVERSIDE’s long-awaited 2023 release ”ID.Entity” kicks off the band’s third decade in a remarkable way. “ID.Entity” is both a throwback to early Riverside and paradoxically a progression at the same time, plenty of balance and diversity. The band largely wrote and recorded the album together in the studio, giving it a very collaborative and live feel.
Riverside lost guitarist Piotr Grudziński in 2016 but new member Maciej Meller has been fully integrated and carries the Grudziński spirit while establishing his own presence. As such, this is one of the best releases in their history.
This 2-CD Deluxe Edition includes a terrific extra set of songs worth the investment.

Indeed, there is good reason to celebrate and look forward to this new chapter, as their eighth album delivers a good chunk of what every fan loves about this band. Riverside strayed a little more metal with “ADHD”, a little more song-oriented with “Love, Fear and the Time Machine” but by and large their sound is fairly consistent while still being adventurous. With “Wasteland” there were several new colors explored which could have signaled a new direction yet to come but now in retrospect it appears that album was not a transition album but rather an outlier, unique in the catalog for very valid reasons of the grief and healing process which it exorcised.

There’s no doubt that lead man Mariusz Duda enjoys poking at labels and pre-conceived preferences, including from the band’s fans. For years he’s eschewed categories such a prog, metal, etc… the understandable and inevitable frustration of many artists.
So it’s not so shocking that opening track “Friend or Foe?” sounds for a moment like A-Ha or some other 80s pop band with its synth bass and drum hits. Fortunately, it also ends up sounding a lot like classic Riverside in the end with its distorted rhythm guitar. A good song but probably the least impressive on the album, leading one to wonder if it was granted the opening slot simply to push some buttons of “non-pop” Riverside fans.

With followup track “Landmine Blast” – BOOM – we are in early Riverside territory as Duda’s repetitive bass lick drones forth and the trance is cast. It’s all here: the hypnotic dream-like groove, the driving angst, the intensity changes that keep the rhythm insistent even during mellower sections as instruments layer in and out. And now the album truly starts to hit its stride.

“Big Tech Brother” is even better, a 7-plus minute rollercoaster of dynamics that sees Duda nearly growling in one turn, followed softly by an almost-comical admission of, “I’ve nothing to hide, I simply hate your style” accompanied by tender piano. Meller is sounding fantastic here with both his rhythmic playing and drawn out lead lines, which interweave with Michał Łapaj’s keyboards.

“Post-Truth” continues the string of infectious prime material. Heads will bob on the concert floor, then turn to banging. Really, what more could a Riverside fan want than a song like this? Łapaj hits the mood right with a synth solo and later ends the song tenderly on piano. Meller is belting out the band’s classic lead guitar melodic approach. Piotr Kozieradzki hits the drum kit with a massive sound to support the gravity of the band. And Duda’s bewildered lyrics paint a bleak picture of our world’s inhumane status quo.

Had enough yet? Hardly. Enter the centerpiece of the album, 13-minute “The Place Where I Belong” comprised of several sections but holding the flame of the ballad alive. The opening acoustic section is filled with tenderness and beauty but the foreboding is not far away: “No one will believe you just like I believed you, my love. Do not play with fire.”
The second section is a narrative of our polarized world accompanied by searing lead guitar lines and hammond organ solos. Absolutely satisfying. An acoustic interlude slows down the energy a bit but leads up to a transcendent fourth section where Meller truly shines with his own voice on lead guitar. It’s nearly a perfect epic from the band, at times going in unexpected directions which suggest that this was a collaborative group-authored piece.

The helter-skelter fast-paced intensity and magnetism of the fantastic ”Self-Aware” is almost something new from Riverside where Meller channels 80s-era Alex Lifeson, more reminiscent of 90s hard rock than the intellectual prog-metal usually associated with the band and I absolutely love it. A sign that the band have shed any self-imposed shackles and feel free to do whatever they want with no fear of repercussions, it’s melodic, upbeat and just a little bit in your face and I’d love to hear more of it. A new direction? Why not when it’s this good!

The album’s production is as detailed and superior as one would expect. It is also very adventurous, with Duda flexing his audio skills to the maximum. Marvelous sounds, scenes and scapes are to be heard in abundance, and that is just on the standard release.
There are other versions of the album also available, including this two-CD media-book with four bonus tracks, a limited edition two-CD edition with Blu-ray, an art-book version with nine tracks, a 5.1 surround mix and a Dolby Atmos edition.

Riverside are a band who have always gone their own way and been proud to defy convention and after the dark melancholy and sadness of recent releases, the band have returned with a brightly shining beacon of light. ‘ID.Entity’ is a generally uplifting album that puts a huge smile on my face every time I hear it and one that, I’m sure, will still be lighting up people’s lives for years to come.
Yes, my friends, Riverside are back and if you’ve read this far you’re certainly going to be listening to this album. And enjoying it, without a doubt.
Highly Recommended


01. Friend or Foe? (07:28)
02. Landmine Blast (04:50)
03. Big Tech Brother (07:23)
04. Post-Truth (05:37)
05. The Place Where I Belong (13:16)
06. I’m Done with You (05:51)
07. Self-Aware (08:43)

01. Age of Anger (11:56)
02. Together Again (06:28)
03. Friend or Foe? (05:59)
04. Self-Aware (05:29)

Mariusz Duda – Bass, vocals
Michał Łapaj – Keyboards
Piotr Kozieradzki – Drums
Maciej Meller – Guitars



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