Redemption – “Long Night’s Journey Into Day” (Metal Blade Records)
Gotta admit, I’m not a proggie at heart although when it’s done well, it’s pretty hard to resist ha ha! Redemption are such a band who excel in their league which is hardly a surprise given the pedigree of the musicians involved. Formed by guitarist / keyboardist Nick van Dyke (Fates Warning) at the turn of the century, the band also features Bernie Versailles (Fates Warning, Agent Steel) and at one time or another, members of Symphony X and Steel Prophet. Needless to say, the talent inherent in the musicianship and composing is at stellar levels – and that’s not counting the guest appearances of guitarists Simone Mularoni (DGM/Empyrios) and legendary Chris Poland (Megadeth), both of whom bring their virtuoso skills to this already elevated platform! The follow up to 2016’s “The Art Of Loss”, the biggest change to this 7th album has to be the arrival of new vocalist Tom Englund (Evergrey), whose vocals are slightly higher than Ray Alder’s deeper tones, but no less lacking in soul and passion, so little change, at least for a non die hard like me. What has remained constant however, is this LA band’s winning formula of combining heaviness with technical melody which is etched into the 10 superior tracks here – and man, does it impress! From ‘The Echo Chamber’ with its dexterous virtuoso guitars, Englund really shows his prowess in contrasting the technical furore with heart rendering soul especially in the deep chorus on this political track covering the human impact of social media. On more quieter numbers like ‘Indulge In Color’, the lavish melodies brought to life by the guitars and new keyboardist Vikram Shankar are truly dazzling both for their virtuosity and equally, the incredibly moving tones that simply radiate through mind and body. Driving in with Chris Quirarte’s double bass drumming is ‘Little Men’ complemented by its spiralling techno melodies but equally, a heavy back end of hard crunching riffola tempered ever so slightly by Shankar’s soothing ethereal synths in the background. Yet again on this song and indeed, throughout this mesmerising release, Redemption do wonders with this hard / soft mix that works a treat time and again, even on their upbeat cover of U2’s ‘New Years Day’. With a minimum length of 5 minutes, the songs allow for the full experience of the band to be felt without becoming over indulgent and complemented by Jacob Hansen’s (Primal Fear, Epica, Volbeat, Amaranthe, Evergrey) matching production conspire to create a truly fantastic release!