Lunatic Soul: Lunatic Soul II

Super Mariusz.

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Recognise the name Mariusz Duda? Nope, he doesn’t play left back for Middlesbrough – he is in fact the frontman of Riverside, Poland’s hottest prog band. Riverside have often been described as Warsaw’s answer to Porcupine Tree so, unsurprisingly, Duda’s second solo album has more than a whiff of Steven Wilson about it.

Lunatic Soul I was released in 2008 and II is more than a simple follow-up, with Duda stressing that the listener should regard the project as: “a double album divided into two single ones… a continuation but certainly not a repetition”.

Lunatic Soul is a much less mangled and aggressive beast than Riverside, Duda reining in his patented ‘prog death grunts’ and adopting a more sedate, not to say mysterious, approach. Beginning with The In-Between Kingdom, which with its ethnic vibe sounds like a Jade Warrior outtake, we embark on a journey that sounds like something Peter Gabriel could’ve created while being simultaneously tortured and under heavy sedation. The undoubted highlight is the 11-minute Transition, full swirling, windswept sounds and a half-spoken singing style that veers frequently between reflective and despairing.

With Lunatic Soul II Duda’s stated aim was aim to create the soundtrack to an imaginary road movie about a lost soul. He’s not only succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, he’s recorded them as well.

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.