Redemption
Snowfall On Judgment Day

People tagging Redemption as another Dream Theater copycat seem to be out of touch with reality when it comes to maligning this inexcusably underrated and yet outstanding Progressive Metal outfit from LA. When talents such as Ray Alder (Fates Warning), Nick van Dyk (Fools Game) and Bernie Versailles (Fates Warning, Agent Steel) are joined together you just can’t go wrong, even if they don’t necessarily bring forth any new tricks to gain their audience. In fact, with so much heart and thought put into the songwriting and arrangements, the only rule these guys should abide by is to be themselves, and avoid going to any other extremes.

Being the band’s fourth studio offering, Snowfall On Judgment Day is rife with the same hypnotizing elements as its predecessor The Origins Of Ruin. Its python like musical stranglehold will never let you off until your last breath, but the paradox is that you’ll want to repeat this same deadly experience over and over. The six and a half minute opener “Peel” will rip apart the most skeptical of listeners as it transcends thrashy territories, offering riffs as massive and crushing as a millstone, while the exquisite yet hushed piano and keyboards serve as a smoothing vector. Arguably, at times it sounds a lot like guitarist Bernie Versailles’ other band, Agent Steel. Actually, there are quite a few tracks of such an inexorable character, with “Leviathan Rising”, “Fistful Of Sand” and “Another Day Dies” being the heaviest and most devastating. Interestingly enough, this last named track features quite an impressive vocal duet between Ray Alder and James la Brie and is a dead-ringer for “Constant Motion” from Dream Theater’s album, Systematic Chaos. Nevertheless, it easily fits in with the rest of the band’s material.

The other half of the album is more in the realm of melodic traditionalism, typified by the beautiful and contagious motifs such as those heard on “Walls”, “Black And White” and “Keep Breathing”. I think this is where the guys pursue their favourite facets of the music they write, while never forgetting to frame it in a mass of inventive arrangements and instrumental grandeur. “Black And White”, enchanting with a fabulous interplay between the piano and the bass at the beginning of the song, soon evolves into what I consider one of the most beautiful tunes ever brought by the genre as a whole. Going over the eight-minute mark, it reminds me of “Memory” from their previous album and has everything I would ask for in this model of Progressive Metal. From unexpected curves to never recurring musical solutions, to the countless new revelations being made with each new listen, this song is still airy in its feel and easy to grasp despite the complexities. The eleven-minute epic, “Love Kills Us All – Life In One Day” crowns the album in a very solemn way, offering a lengthy introduction in a very much Tangerine Dream style of space rock, with a gradual addition of abruptly played riffs as well as soaring vocals from Ray.

In fact, Redemption’s new album is the quintessential easy-to-follow tutorial for all those just cutting their teeth on the genre, since it offers everything Progressive Metal is renowned for. There’s no deficit of complex, yet truly absorbing structures, irreproachable musicianship and the distinct contributions of each member involved, as well as the masterful songwriting, luxurious melodies and inventive arrangements. To me, it’s unconditionally one of 2009 best gifts from the genre that I recommend with no apprehension to be condemned for this recommendation afterwards.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Igor Stakh
October 13th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: faust666

    Another great album by one of the best progressive bands around.. Great review Ceno.


  2. Commented by: stiffy

    I’m not the biggest prog fan but these guys rock. Loved their stuff from the beginning.


  3. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    Nice review my friend. This is a fantastic album for sure! A tour de force, and easily one of the years best albums from any genre! The melodies really stick in your head, and I love the vocals.


  4. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    Update: ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2009!!!!


  5. Commented by: ceno

    And yet these guys are criminally underrated within the metal circles. More people should hear it.


  6. Commented by: Morton

    I agree the album is great, way to go


  7. Commented by: Nick van Dyk

    Thanks for taking the time to post such a comprehensive and thoughtful review. Obviously it’s also awesome that you like the CD! :)

    We really appreciate the interest and support of our fans, and I’m delighted that you enjoy Snowfall. Hopefully we’ll have the chance to play live for some of you soon!

    Best,

    Nick
    Redemption


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