"Lunatic Soul" (K-Scope; 2008)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Riverside frontman Mariusz Duda has set forth with a solo project called Lunatic Soul. This self-titled debut features lush orchestration and haunting soundscapes.

The biggest surprise that “Lunatic Soul” presents is that there are no electric guitars. Duda uses an electric bass to give weight to the songs while keyboards, piano, organ, synthesized effects, and acoustic guitar provide the texture and atmosphere. As such Lunatic Soul is somewhat of a departure from the typical Riverside sound. As it is with Riverside, Duda’s voice is unique and impressive – albeit in this environment much more subdued and nuanced.

Each song on “Lunatic Soul” has shades of light and shadow – testaments to Duda’s songwriting skill and mood-evoking abilities. Instrumentals like “Where the Darkness is Deepest” evokes the bass heroics of Tony Levin whereby the pulse of the bass is like a heart beating. “The Final Truth” blends subtle modern electronics with an organic keyboard sound that is a unique combination. “Out on a Limb” is the most Riverside-like song yet the track has momentum that is filled with exhausting excitement. The twilight-like gloom of “Summerland” belies the optimistic title and song’s ending.

The sounds, and tone found on “Lunatic Soul” are fairly removed from Riverside for it lacks the overt drama and heaviness that is typical for any prog-rock band especially one as good as Riverside. However, I hazard to guess that what Duda has learned from the Lunatic Soul project may inform his songwriting on the next Riverside album.

“Lunatic Soul” is a high quality album in which the three chainsaw rating reflects the rather mellow nature of the disc.

“Lunatic Soul” was produced by Robert Srzednicki and Mariusz Duda.

Lunatic Soul is Mariusz Duda joined by Maciej Szelenbaum, Wawrzyniec Dramowicz, Michal Lapaj, Maceij Meller, and Anna Maria Buczek.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2009 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Nov 2021 13:23:28 -0500.