Riverside is Poland’s answer to the actual European progressive rock and progressive metal scenes. With more than a decade out there, Riverside’s name have gained popularity due to their sophisticated and thoughtful sound which combines the influence of bands like Dream Theater, Opeth, Porcupine Tree and Rush. It was formed by Piotr Kozieradzki and Piotr Grudziński when they were traveling in the first’s car and The Last Straw from Marillion came out of the speakers: the conversation led to both’s interest in progressive rock music.
Later on, they joined keyboardist and producer Jacek Melnicki for the first rehearsal, also inviting bass player Mariusz Duda to complete the formation. Even when the first rehearsal did not go as good as they would have thought, during the second one there was a natural creativity flowing, and more important: Mariusz showed his vocal talents through improvisations, which later went on to became of Riverside’s creative trademark.
Recording and distributing about 500 demo CD’s during various of their first gigs in Warsaw, they caught the attention of Laser’s Edge (currently Laser CD) record label in 2003 and the band went in to record their first album, Out of Myself, a creative effort that brings Riverside’s deep connections with artists like Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd. Minimalist by nature, some great cuts from this album are The Curtain Falls, The Same River and the title track Out of Myself. In this album the musical basis for Riverside’s style are established.
Their following album, Second Life Syndrome, was released in 2005 and was even more successful than their debut. Now part of major progressive rock label InsideOut records, Riverside went to enjoy international success with a major heavy metal-oriented approach that helped to broad the band’s artistic scope. Songs like Second Life Syndrome and Artificial Smile demonstrate the evolution of the band. The album reached No. 22 in Poland’s charts, and earned a mention from Mike Portnoy himself quoting it as his “favorite album of 2005” in his website.
Their next album is the closure of the Reality Dream Trilogy formed by the Out of Myself, Second Life Syndrome albums and 2007’s Rapid Eye Movement. For this record the concept was divided as a two-part suite, naming the first five tracks as Fearless and the remaining four tracks as Fearland. This album is more introspective than its predecessor, reserving heavy riffs for the strongest lyrics, relating to complex mental issues such as paranoia and schizophrenia and sleep disorders. 02 Panic Room, Beyond the Eyelids and Ulimate Trip stand out as memorable tracks.
In 2009 the band releases Anno Domini High Definition, which is their first effort outside Poland, and their first album to reach No. 1 in that country. The album deals with the troubles of modernity and the implied irony of better life conditions at the cost of our peace of mind, in the form of stress, anxiety and a life in constant hurry according to Mariusz Duda. Remarkable songs include Egonist Hedonist, Hybrid Times and Hyperactive.
During this decade, Riverside has released three more albums: Shrine of New Generation Slaves, Love, Fear and Time Machine and the compilation album Eye of the Soundscape. These records are the creative pinnacle of Riverside, demonstrating how the composition process has evolved to a more atmospheric sound, relying on well-crafted melodies and interesting rhythmic materials to create music that transcends beyond the progressive rock standards. Riverside stands out by themselves as one of the most creative acts from European progressive rock scene.