Album review: RIVERSIDE – Out Of Myself (Re-issue)

RIVERSIDE - Out Of Myself

Inside Out [Release Date: 12.02.21]

Riverside have developed, album upon album, into one of the finest progressive rock bands on the planet, with albums such as ‘Love, Fear And The Time Machine’, ‘Shrine Of New Generation Slaves’ and ‘Wasteland’ garnering top reviews from both fellow GRTR! reviewer Jason Ritchie and myself. Their latest album ‘Lost ’n’ Found – Live In Tilburg’ also hit top marks in late 2020.

And this is where it all began – ‘Out Of Myself’ was originally released in 2003 without much fanfare on an obscure label ‘The Laser’s Edge’ but started to be picked up by radio play and word of mouth.

That isn’t surprising as it is a magnificent piece of work.

For anybody who loves progressive rock, or is just a fan of blistering rock music cut with delicate acoustic passages, ‘Out Of Myself is an exempli gratia of everything that’s great about the genre.

The original line-up Mariusz Duda (bass and vocals), Piotr Kozieradzki (drums), Jacek Melnicki (keyboards – replaced on later albums by Michal Lapaj) and (the tragically late) Piotr Grudzinski (guitar) laid down a template here that, with the notable exception of the metal-in-extremis ‘Anno Domini High Definition’ album, has come to define everything that the band is about.

They announced themselves to the world with the superb twelve minutes of ‘The Same River’ – its soaring guitar and keys blended with metal riffage being a clarion call to listen-up.

The prog metal side of the band is exemplified by tracks such as ‘Out Of Myself’ (where even the dreaded ‘death growls’ show up, albeit briefly) and ‘Reality Dream’, whereas the softer, more acoustic aspect is epitomised by tracks such as ‘I Believe’, ‘In Two Minds’ and ‘Loose Heart’ which were precursors to classic Riverside tracks such as ‘Conceiving You’.

‘Loose Heart’ and ‘The Curtain Falls’, whose Camel-like intro develops into a smorgasbord of progressive rock loveliness, are particularly fine examples of Grudzinski’s stellar fretwork and just confirm what a miss he is, not just to Riverside, but to rock music in general.

For any band, this would be a fabulous album – its juxtaposition of the heaviest of riffs with pastoral acoustics is startling – but as a debut album it is simply astonishing.

Slightly disappointing though is the lack of any bonus material – it’s simply a re-issue of the original album (OK, remastered, but it would have been recorded digitally anyway), in a digipack cover with a free sticker – but if you already have the album and unless the 180g vinyl release floats your boat, move along – nothing to see here. Shame.

 ***** (for the music)   ***(for the lack of bonus material)

 Review by Alan Jones


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