REVIEW: REDEMPTION – “The Art of Loss”
Redemption are a Los Angeles-based progressive metal outfit that are quite famous for their long songs and intricate songwriting patterns. The mastermind of this project is Nick Van Dyk on guitar & keyboards, vocalist Ray Alder from acts like Fates Warning and Engine, Chris Quirarte on drums, and Sean Andrews on bass guitar.
This band essentially completes the Holy Trinity of American Progressive Metal in my opinion (unless you count Fates Warning), with Dream Theater and Symphony X being the other two. Their latest offering is 70 minutes of pure unrestrained instrumental ingenuity topped off by mesmerizing vocal melodies. ‘The Art of Loss’ features contributions by the likes of Marty Friedman , Chris Poland and Chris Broderick, all of whom were a part of Megadeth , Simone Mularoni and many others.
The cover art for this record was created by Travis Smith, who has also worked with Opeth and Amorphis. Getting right into the music, this record features nine tracks laced with mood shifts and tonal changes. “Hope Dies Last” is a 10-minute epic that stood out to me on the first listen, featuring Nick’s keyboard wizardry in its fullest form. There are quite a few tempo shifts on some of the tracks, and among this sonic landscape, “That Golden Light” is a straightforward, mid-tempo affair.
“Thirty Silver” is your standard mosh-friendly number with handy shred work by Van Dyk, while “Damaged” features the guitar virtuosity of Marty Friedman as a healthy contributor. Another track that is worthy of a special mention is the 22-minute juggernaut, “At Days End” , that has so much going on that it’s almost as if you’ve taken a trip back to the 80s. It’s got some pop influences, heavily layered keyboard work, and some nifty orchestration.
‘The Art of Loss’album is a busy affair, and a fine example of how Progressive Rock influences from bands like Kansas and Yes can permeate into the writing fabric of Redemption to give birth to a solid album. I like the production, though it sounds a tad too polished for me. There are no glaring inconsistencies with this effort, but the vocal delivery becomes a bit one dimensional. Furthermore, if you give this album a run all the way through in one sitting, it may be tedious and predictable.
Having said that, ‘The Art of Loss’ is a good musical affair and a healthy dose of progressive metal for your soul. There is nothing too complicated nor trivial about the songs here, and I believe Redemption have matured as songwriters and found the balance between the two. Let’s just hope this does not end up being their comfort zone, though some might think that is a good thing.