[Metal Blade Records, 2016]
Intro: Meletis Doulgkeroglou
04 / 04 / 2016
The unfortunate fact is that those who have not followed the work of Redemption, think that it is a band where Ray Alder of Fates Warning sings. The truth is that it is much more than this, and that the golden podium, excluding the homonymous debut, added a little more quality to the genre.
In 2016 Redemption come back with the main composer Nick Van Dyk healthy, in order to add quality once again to the genre. The will is there, but is there the power to do so?
Well composed conformism
In their previous release of This Mortal Coil five years ago, and less interesting on the whole, Redemption had followed a darker and perhaps to a certain point, a harder sound. The successor, The Art of Loss is flirting with their past, calls forth roughness where necessary, but the most introspective dark character has been sidelined. In its place we hear impressive guitar themes with an even more spectacular way of playing. An important contribution to this, besides the perfect guitar duo, have the honorary guests, erstwhile guitarists of Megadeth, Chris Poland, Marty Friedman and Chris Broderick, who have played in almost all compositions and have done their bit.
Of course we don’t need to stand only on the guitars that have always been one of the key strengths of Redemption, but also in the compositions themselves. We are dealing with technocratic progressive old style metal without any atmosphere or much experimentation but of good temperament. After all, for the past 10 years the “trunk” of Redemption is almost solid, a well-oiled machine that its purpose is to produce progressive metal.
The total duration of Art of Loss is 75 satisfying minutes with some compositions standing out and being amongst the well-worked of the band. If I had to recall some of them, I would instantly think of in your face and the impressive homonymous composition with the guitars to build up and embellish the entire musical landscape, the toughest and aggressive Thirty Silver and the longest in duration Hope Dies Last (10:33) and At Day’s End (22:33) with their changes and of course as you understand with the guitar pluralism. Nice surprise is also the adaptation to The Who’s Love Reign O’er Me, where John Bush (Armored Saint) lifts the piece. Alder does not hesitate to participate in two voices as we have seen in the past with James LaBrie in Another Day Dies. Then we had a very good cooperation, but Alder is now exposed in front of John Bush’s vigor.
Concerning the singer of Redemption and Fates Warning, no one can question the quality and range of his voice and the overall contribution to progressive waters, but he appears to be tired and reserved regarding his credentials. Of course, time is relentless, but in his recent lives in our country too, Alder has proved his evergreen voice, something which is not present here. Additionally, the production decided to highlight the guitars which certainly emerge anyway, but resulting in undermining the rhythm section and especially the bass which sounds full in the parts it is playing alone. Finally, although the virtue is overflowing, nobody dared something new and different.
Summing up, the sound of The Art Of Loss is close to their most acceptable creation Snowfall on Judgment Day, with some stronger elements and enviable guitar orchestration. An enjoyable album for the nostalgic and enthusiasts of pure progressive metal, but which of course does not re-invents the wheel while it flagellates itself due to the production and does not take off due to Alder’s modesty. It is true however that I enjoyed it more than Fates Warning’s Darkness in a Different Light.
7.5 / 10
As much as we love the voice of Ray Alder (and his largely successful effort to sound interesting in the new material), we cannot but accept that the music of Redemption has reached their ceiling. The 90s progressive metal of Art of Loss is mature, with several flashes at the tighter compositions of the album, but the wild guitar parts by guest musicians have lost the shape of their ideas. They maintain a minimum quality in this album too, but they could have produced something much better with a self-collected management of the orchestration.
6.5 / 10