Lunatic Soul

Lunatic Soul 2

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Whenever a member of a band starts recording solo projects, the first thing fans want to know is whether the artist will continue along a similar stylistic path or try something different. In the case of Riverside frontman Mariusz Duda, the answer is definitely "try something different." Those who are familiar with the Warsaw, Poland-based Riverside associate Duda (who records under the name Lunatic Soul as a solo artist) with a progressive metal/alternative metal blend; Dream Theater and Tool have often been cited as two of Riverside's main influences. But this 2010 recording (which is Duda's second album as Lunatic Soul) isn't metal at all. Duda is still blending prog and alternative, but in a totally different way from Riverside, and the influences on this album range from Dead Can Dance and Radiohead to Pink Floyd to Middle Eastern music. Duda never rocks out on Lunatic Soul, Vol. 2; this is the type of music that would rather float than rock, and the 50-minute CD is hypnotic, calm, and atmospheric from start to finish. In fact, it isn't hard to imagine the shoegazer crowd getting into "Limbo," "Transition," or any of the other tracks. Lunatic Soul, Vol. 2 is also melancholy; the album gets off to a melancholy start with the opener "The In-Between Kingdom" and maintains that rather gloomy outlook until the last track, "Wanderings." And the fact that Duda never becomes aggressive or forceful on this disc doesn't mean that he isn't expressive; emotionally, the Polish singer gets his points across without shouting to get the listener's attention. Anyone who expects Lunatic Soul, Vol. 2 to sound like a carbon copy of Riverside is bound to be disappointed because that isn't what Duda is going for at all, but those who are open to hearing a different side of him will find a lot to savor on the absorbing Lunatic Soul, Vol. 2.

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