Inside Out – [Release date: 11 December 2020]
Where to start with the sadness of this release?
Live in Tilburg was recorded in October 2015 – just four days before I saw them live in Manchester – one of my outstanding gigs of that year, or any other year for that matter.
Who could have foreseen that within four months the band’s exceptional guitarist and founding member, Piotr Grudzinski, would be dead at 41 with a pulmonary embolism?
This tour was to promote the band’s latest release ‘Love, Fear And The Time Machine’, an album that garnered five stars in my review (link below) and which I said at the time was so good it would surely give them their time in the sun.
And it was showing signs of doing so too – with Top 40 positions in charts all over Europe and a Number 2, plus Gold Disc status, in their native Poland.
Released originally as a ‘fan-club only’ limited edition, ‘Live In Tilburg’ captures the band, as when I saw them – at the absolute peak of their powers, delivering their own brand of atmospheric progressive rock sliced through with a hard metallic edge.
Strangely, despite the tour being ostensibly to promote ‘Love, Fear and The Time Machine’, only four of the thirteen tracks on this double album are actually from said release, with another four from previous album ‘Shrine Of New Generation Slaves’ and the balance from the band’s previous four albums.
The show opens with ‘Lost’ from LF&TTM – a gentle start to ease us all in – with great keys from Michal Lapaj and an early demonstration of Grudzinski’s stellar fretwork.
This proves to be a red herring however, as the pounding riffs of ‘Feel Like Falling’ and, in particular, ‘Hyperactive’ (from the Anno Domini High Definition album) give the senses a right pummelling before order is restored with the sublime ‘Conceiving You’ (from their second album ‘Second Life Syndrome’) – its piano-led arpeggios and peerless solo from Grudzinski marking it out as a highlight.
The insistent riff and anthemic chorus of O2 Panic Room move things on and ‘Under The Pillow’, another track from LF&TTM is a demonstration of how the song-writing and playing have moved up a notch.
This is also flagged up on the mesmerising ‘The Depth Of Self-Delusion’ from ‘Shrine’ – a great song structure with all four members simply outstanding, and ‘Saturate Me’ from LF&TTM – its pounding riff segueing into more anthemic progressive tropes.
The swelling keys and metronomic drumbeat of ‘Egoist Hedonist’ are swallowed up by metal in-extremis with, again, great guitar, and, once again, the anger is salved by ‘We Got Used To Us’ with its piano intro and exceptional vocal from main-man Mariusz Duda.
If there were any doubts about Riverside’s progressive rock credentials they are surely dispelled on the twenty minute closer ‘Escalator Shrine’ – its smorgasbord of cacophonic noise, atmospheric space rock and jazzy vocals being a real tour de force.
The thirteen minutes of encore ‘The Same River’, from the band’s first album ‘Out Of Myself’, reinforce this with more key and tempo changes than you could shake a stick at yet working on every level as a cohesive whole.
The set closes, appropriately enough, with the closing track from ‘Love, Fear and the Time Machine’, ‘Found’, bookending the show perfectly with opener ‘Lost’.
In many ways, a perfect gig – with all band members playing like men possessed in front of an enthusiastic crowd and superbly recorded. The ‘mediabook’ release also includes a never before released DVD of the concert.
Although tinged with sadness at Piotr’s passing, ‘Lost ’n’ Found’ serves not only as a fitting tribute and overt witness to his special talent, but also as testament to the resilience of Riverside to come back from such a monumental loss three years later with the genre- defining ‘Wasteland’ album.
Just brilliant. *****
Review by Alan Jones
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