This, the eagerly anticipated third album from American progressive metal quintet, Redemption, has finally been released after their sophomore album `The fullness of Time' back in 2005. `The fullness of Time' was an amazing album that was a baptism of fire for me, as it was the first time that I had the pleasure of embracing the musical genius of Redemption. I was left with a lasting impression of this band, along with being bewildered due to their strong song writing ability and fluidity regarding the way they play their instruments. I still haven't obtained a copy of their debut release, as this will be the yardstick to see how the band has progressed. Redemption comprises of a number of rather interesting members from other remarkable groups that have had a major influence for what is know today as progressive and power metal.
The founding member of Redemption is Nicolas Van Dyk, whom I regard as a musical genius as he has written all the music and has a very strong ability to create some exceptionally good lyrics from relationship issues to social problems with the world in general. Ray Alder needs no introduction, as he is the vocalist from Fates Warning and has one of the best and most recognisable voices within the progressive metal genre. Bernie Versailles is the longstanding guitarist with Agent Steel and is a force to be reckoned with as this guy is a total guitar shred master. Drummer, Chris Quararte plays with the criminally underrated progressive metal band Prymary (read my Amazon review for this band), and new bassist Sean Andrews is a name unfamiliar to me, however listening to his input with this recording this guy plays to the highest order. Furthermore, Andrews is the only line-up change since the `Fullness of Time' recording, replacing the departed James Sherwood.
The music is a natural continuation from where `Fullness of Time' ended, however the song writing has taken on a darker and more meaningful role. The music is far heaver than before, but for those dedicated fans that have not yet acquired a copy, the trademark sound is still there. The guitar work of Van Dyk and Versailles is simply stunning as they both have such a strong feeling for the music by playing such immense riffs and well crafted solos that are breathtaking. Just check out the opening track `The suffocating Silence' as this has one the best riffs I have ever heard in a long time with both guitarists duelling together in unison. This just epitomises Van Dyk's musical prowess, coupled with his strong song writing ability that incorporates various degrees of melody and power within each song.
Another, noticeable change is the greater use of keyboards and piano, which in the past has been used to a lesser degree. Again, Van Dyk plays all the keyboard pieces and he uses this instrument more as a fill to the beginning and in between sections of songs by creating a great atmosphere to the music. On saying this, the emotive title track `The origins of Ruin' is a semi ballad and has a striking piano segment that lasts the entire duration of the song with Alder singing alongside, showcasing what an exemplarily talented vocalist he is. On the subject of Alder, I am in awe of this man and his vocal ability, as I have followed his career path from the onset with bands like Fates Warning, Engine and some of the side projects he has been involved in over the years. His vocals are what we can expect from him, full of emotion, passion and conviction, however I do feel that with this offering he is holding back and is slightly more reserved, by not hitting some of the higher notes in his vocal register that he is renowned for.
Drummer, Quirarte is a very talented, technical and innovative stickman and is an absolute blessing to Redemption as he has bucket loads of untapped talent. Just listen to his awe-inspiring drum rolls on most of the tracks and you will know exactly what I mean. I get the impression with Van Dyk that he likes writing an `epic' track for each album. For instance, Iced Earth wrote the incredible `Dante's Inferno' from the Burnt offerings album. On the `Fullness of Time' the epic 15 minute track `Sapphire' was such a well crafted and put together piece of music with many different soundscapes, signature time changes and hooks running through the song. With the latest offering the, 9:24 minute `Fall on You' can be classed as an epic, due to the many different atmospheres, tempo changes that could even be comparable to anything that Dream Theater has written. Despite the complexity of this album, I did for some strange reason find it was easy to absorb, however with bands that display the same technical ability as Redemption, it is always advisable to listen a number of times, as there are many diverse and unusual passages within the music.
Like on one of the tracks on my forth listen, there was a subtle keyboard piece that was playing along in the background and after a more in depth listen, using headphones, the song became more evocative. I am not going to track list each song as they have their own unique personality and have to be taken on their own merits. I will leave this up to perspective listeners, who hopefully will make the purchase and then to make their own minds up. In conclusion, if you relish in the beauty of well-written, well-executed progressive metal from a band that deserves so much more recognition, then what are you waiting for, purchase a copy right now! Year 2007, has been a very fruitful year thus far for a number of noteworthy releases from some top outfits like Kamelot, Dream Theater and Pain of Salvation to name just a few, however Redemption has to be a strong contender in my book for album of the year. Now if you would excuse me, the new Dream Theater, `Systematic Chaos' is awaiting me!