Album Reviews

Redemption – Snowfall On Judgement Day

Released by InsideOut Music – 2009

Review Added September 22, 2009

· Producer: Tommy Hansen
· Running Time: 68:74
· Release Date: September 25, 2009
· Musical Style: Power Progressive Metal
· Links: http://www.redemptionweb.com

Tracklisting
1. Peel**
2. Walls**
3. Leviathan Rising
4. Black and White World**
5. Unformed
6. Keep Breathing**
7. Another Day Die” feat. James LaBrie**
8. What Will You Say**
9. Fistful of Sand
10. Love Kills Us All / Life in One Day**
**Hot Tracks

* Ray Alder – Vocals
* Bernie Versailles – Lead Guitar
* Nick van Dyk – Lead and Rhythm Guitars, Keyboards
* Sean Andrews – Bass
* Chris Quirarte – Drums

When closely inspecting the American Progressive Metal scene, one does realize that there is just simply not enough bands out there that fit into the genre, apart from the veterans and pioneers that are Dream Theater and stouts like Symphony X. The genre needless to say often suffers from lack of creativity and has been accused seldom of sounding repetitive without any substance. Well don’t ask that question to American prog metal band Redemption, because they have been amongst the leaders in this particular genre since they released they’re classical masterpiece “The Fullness of Time” more on that later. Now we have the band’s 4th full length studio album “Snowfall on Judgement Day” and the line up still pretty much intact and again looking to improve on and continue the potent style they have injected into the passionate vocals of Ray Alder (former Fates Warning) and boosting from the great and determined musical mind of Nick van Dyk.

Redemption has become one of my favorite bands to watch and listen to, after “The Fullness of Time” got released I found myself so enamored of the powerful music I was beholding at the time that it was unruly. The amazing and passionate vocals of Ray Alder mixed with the pure raw power from the guitar and drums, just added a new layer of musical emotions that left you pretty captivated and begging for more. To simply say that they’re brand of music was very personal and close to my dear heart, would be a huge understatement. They haven’t really dissapointed much after that since then shortly thereafter “The Origins Of Ruins” got released and the musicianship continued. So now SOJD comes out and I was just intrigued as to what more amazing music they still had to deliver.

The opening track “Peel” cracks your listening ear with a nice keyboard and eery dark passage, then the prowess of the rhythm guitars sledges your senses once again, meanwhile the drums here are reminiscent of some of Dream Theater’s later catalogue musical style. Soon Alder greets you with a powerful and melodic chorus and Ray still sounds better then ever while the double bass pounding menaces to pull the listener in as to what’s in stock next. Continuing the assault is “Walls” which has an awesome lyrical concept all around about inner per severance, and Alder breaks the mold with same strengh and passion as any of their earlier work, both van Dyk and Versailles must be commended on this one as the dual guitars are excellent here as they wail back and forth. Perhaps the guys wanted to sound heavier which they sucessfully do here on the track “Leviathan Rising” which is a constant improvement and is easy to note that this track is perhaps they’re darkest and heaviest song to date. Packing so much emotion and feeling from anything else I’ve heard all year is the epic “Black and White World”, opening with a nice piano intro then a pulse of energy breaks way for the keyboards and the guitar to take center stage. This amazing track reminds me of another epic “Sapphire” from the Fullness of Time record, with again powerful lyrics, and astounding vocal superiority from Alder.

Midway through this musical journey I find myself still in tuned and witnessing the track “Keep Breathing” with it’s opening reminding me of some classic Queensryche acoustic passages ala “The Mission” or “Lady Wore Black“, but it quickly breaks any similarities into another potent dose of heavy bottom double kick drums and killer guitar annihilation. As some of you know the band went on tour with Dream Theater for the Systematic Chaos tour and opened for them so “Another Day Dies” is a collaboration with DT frontman James Labrie. You won’t find anything revolutionary here, only James sounding great and the music composition sounds like something borrowed from early DT catalogue, is just good change of pace and nice to see James Labrie contributing something positive here. Endearing in the power of love gives way to “What Will You Say” with a different and more laid back guitar riff, this awesome track really sounds like a more grown up and mature Redemption and the musicianship is top notch here, this track works well all around.

The progressive metal genre takes a beating sometimes from the naysayers always stating the music sounds the same, is all about wankery and there is never anything groundbreaking. I don’t see any of this critisism here as this album proves once again why Redemption is one of today’s biggest Progressive metal acts. I think to truly appreciate great music you have to give it time and carefully listen to each composition to fully grasp the grandeour of the immense work of art that goes into making progressive music. Any fan of prog metal will surely dig this up but if you haven’t heard of them before, this wouldn’t be a bad album to start off with. Go out and support the band and get this album now.

Written by Denys

Ratings Denys  9/10

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