Despite not being the biggest progressive rock powerhouse of Europe, Poland have certainly sprouted great and interesting progressive bands since the heyday of progressive rock, being the biggest examples of that the singer and multi-instrumentalist Czeslaw Niemen and the supergroup SBB. After the fall of the communist regime, during the 90's and 2000's, more bands begun to form and release their material, strengthening the country's own progressive rock scene, such as the neo prog bands Abraxas and Collage, and Riverside is, quite possibly, the biggest and best known band to come out from that scene.
Riverside was formed almost by accident, when two of its members, the guitarist Piotr Grudziñski and the drummer Piotr Kozieradzki, listened to Marillion in Kozieradzki's car back in 2001. Both played in heavy metal bands at the time, but had the common interest for progressive rock, so they decided to join with their mutual friend, Jacek Melnicki, who owned a studio, and started to experiment with progressive rock. Mariousz Duda, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist from the band Xanadu, joined the trio later that year for rehearsals and the results and reactions from those meetings were extremely positive. After some more rehearsals, and the completion of some compositions by the band, Mariousz started to take the role as both the band's vocalist and bass player. In late 2002, about one year after the band's formation, Riverside's was already playing gigs in Warsaw with material that would later be their debut album, Out of Myself, and, after distributing 500 copies of their demos around the town, the band played in a small club in Warsaw by the end of the year.
In 2003, shortly after the recording of Out of Myself, Riverside's founding member and keyboard player Jacek Melnicki decided to leave the band to focus on his own studio, so the rest of the band continued to mix and produce the album, as well as to search for a replacement for Jacek, which would be the band's current keyboardist Michal Lapaj. Upon its release, in late 2003, Out of Myself had an unexpected success in Poland, and such success led to the album's rerelease in September 2004 by the American record label Laser's Edge, which led to even bigger media coverage and even more praises and attention towards the band. Still on 2004 the band had its first gig outside Poland in the Progpower festival in the Dutch city of Baarlo
Marillion played an important part in Riverside's history: the band was one important element in their very formation and Riverside's first three albums, their debut foremost and their second and third albums in a minor degree, are hugely influenced by Marillion, specifically the Fish-era Marillion. Finally, still in 2005, the band signed with the record label InsideOut and was able to rerelease all of its previous works to the international public and could release the upcoming album (at the time) in late 2005, which is Second Life Syndrome. The album was an even bigger success than the debut, allowing the band to play for the first time overseas at NEARfest in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on June 24, 2006. Second Life Syndrome is considered as the band's breakthrough album, since it was responsible for most of Riverside's international attention, such as the invitation to play at the NEARfest and the title of one of the best albums of 2005 by Dream Theater's drummer Mike Portnoy. By the release of their third album, entitled Rapid Eye Movement, in late 2007, Riverside was considered one of the big progressive metal band of the world. The tour they did supporting Dream Theater in the Fall of 2007 and the release of Rapid Eye Movement stretched the band's horizons even further and widened the band's fanbase.
The album was considered by Classic Rock Magazine one of the 10 essential progressive rock albums of the decade. Rapid Eye Movement has two different release packages: the standard album and the double album, containing both the original album and a bonus disk, containing material from the 02 Panic Room Single and two new and unreleased songs
In 2008, despite the lack of fresh material, Riverside released its first proper live release ever and it is entitled Reality Dreams. The album was recorded during a concert performed in Lodz. Also in late 2008, Mariousz Duda released an album by his project called Lunatic Soul. 2009 was a bright year for Riverside. Despite the bankruptcy of SPV, the owner of InsideOut, the band was able to release their newest album, Anno Domini High Definition, on schedule and have more success than ever. The album debuted as the leader of Polish charts and went gold on Poland, after selling over 10 thousand copies in Poland alone and seems like nothing will stop it from also claiming international recognition. Anno Domini High Definition also represents a major change of direction for the band: from the mellow and introverted mix of progressive rock and progressive metal they did until Rapid Eye Movement to full blast energetic, fresh and surprisingly original progressive metal. With their latest release, the band apparently found their own unique signature sound. The album, much like what happened with Rapid Eye Movement, have two different release packages: the standard album and the double album, containing the studio album and a live bonus DVD, recorded on December 2008 at Amsterdam's Paradiso club.
The year of 2010 seems to bring surprises as well, as Mariousz Duda announced the release of the second album from his project Lunatic Soul, what could be yet another fine release by one of those fine polish progheads.
( Biography written by CCVP. Replace original Biography written by Brian Adair)
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