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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Redemption - Snowfall On Judgment Day

Progressive Metalheads Make A Classic.

Redemption is a progressive metal band from LA. "Snowfall..." being their 4th record, this is the record that brings everything they've ever done in the past together. With their 3 previous albums, they released great albums, but this record combines all of the elements from those releases and creates a great melodic, catchy, and progressive record.
People who already know of Redemption know that singer Ray Alder was originally a member of underground prog-metal legends Fates Warning. His vocals may not have shifted all that much from his later days in that band, but he is still able to make what he's singing emotionally powerful. On the best song of this album, Walls, his vocals are all to firmilliar with what he's singing seem almost painful for him to sing.
Those who are firmilliar with Redemption's previous releases can expect what they're going to hear on this record. "Snowfall..." has the melodic prog that was perfected by the originator like Fates Warning or Dream Theater down to a t. But what makes this album stand out among all the other new prog-metal bands is the ability to write a song that sticks in your head, like the already mentioned Walls, but also the opener Peel. Adding excelling guitar solos, exceptional bass parts, and epic keyboard and piano sections is what sets this album apart from all the other prog-metal releases of 2009.
Bernie Versailles and Nick van Dyk's guitar playing suits Alder's vocals perfectly. Whether it's more melodic tracks like Peel, or heavy metal songs like Leviathan Rising, or even the ballad finale of Love Kills Us All/Life In One Day. The riffs feeling very stacatto but also very adaptable in changing to the next in a melodic fashon.
Melodic keyboard and piano parts add an almost melancholic or gothic vibe to certain songs. Though this is not entirely unexpected from utilizing the keys in a prog band that doesn't go "neo," the way they are used gives it a unique feel. Whether they're in the backround adding a smaller part of the atmosphere or up front with a leading melody is what keeps the keys from becoming annyoning. Though not as quite "technical" as a player like Jordan Rudess' playing style, they suite the way Redemption plays.
Drums and bass are also very well exicuted in the band's style. Bass is fully audiable in the sound, unlike a lot of other bands. But, usually, if a bass player plays a 6-string bass, they are usually heard in the sound. While drums include a lot of off-time playing, as well as quite a bit of fills, both heard in a song like Keep Breathing.
But this album is not without it's weapon of choice. A guest appearance on Another Day Dies features Dream Theater singer, James LaBrie perform a majority of the vocals on the track. Unlike what many might expect, this is one of the heaviest songs on the record and features LaBrie performing a style similar to that of a song off of "Awake." A more clean but very suitable and acceptable vocal performance that not many could shake a finger at.
The album's finale, and double track, is an almost perfect prog-metal song. From the opening ballad vibe that you get from Love Kills Us All suites an opening that is sorrowful and heartbreaking before you get nailed by multiple solos. After the solo sections, Alder releases, possibly, the catchiest chorus on the whole album in Life In One Day.
Overall, this album will appeal to fans of the prog genre, but should get many newer fans into the band. With songs that can stand head and shoulders above many of their piers, Redemption make it known that they can write a song that has elements of progressive rock, heavy metal, and even pop-like choruses. Check this album out for fans of melodic or progressive music.
Overall Score: 9
Highlights: Peel, Walls, Uninformed, Another Day Dies, Love Kills Us All/Life In One Day

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