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4 January, 2006

Who needs a hero?

Riverside are a Polish 'progressive metal' (if a label has to be applied, though it doesn't really fit) band occasionally likened to Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd (which band in the genre isn't?), Opeth and Anathema.  Their debut album, 'Out Of Myself' was by far my favourite album acquired in 2005, though it was released in 2003.  Unfortunately, their 2005 follow-up album, 'Second Life Syndrome' was disappointing.

General opinion of Riverside is strongly divided. Many, especially those very familiar with the prog-metal genre, don't see the attraction, regarding Riverside as too similar to too many other bands. Others, perhaps including those less jaded by familiarity, fully acknowledge that Riverside's influences are extremely obvious but feel that the results are worth hearing: good music, performed well.

The point of this entry is that someone at the Porcupine Tree forum produced a criticism which I hadn't previously encountered (about any band), and which puzzled me:

No stars in the band really.
Why is that remotely relevant? Why does one member of a band have to stand out as individually remarkable? Isn't it about the collective result of the band's writing and performing? Obviously there are many bands which consist of a front man and backing band, or a guitar hero and accompanists, but that's not a requirement.



What's surprising is not that someone said it, but where they said it.

Some bands exist on the charisma of their frontman, sometimes to the extend that they don't bother with any actual music (OK, I exaggerate, but not much). But PT are not one of those bands. Steve Wilson is no Pete Docherty, thank God.

Posted by Tim Hall at January 5, 2006 08:07 PM

Actually, it's not that surprising.
At the P-Tree Forum, it's easy to get the impression SW is the 'star'. Quite apart from being the vocalist, guitarist, lyricist, composer, producer, spokesman, and general face of P-Tree, his other projects (never 'side-projects' they have equal status with P-Tree), which are more obviously solo work, get as much coverage at the forum as P-Tree itself.
Sometimes one might think it's the SW Forum....

Posted by NRT at January 5, 2006 10:38 PM
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