REDEMPTION – The Fullness Of Time

REDEMPTION - The Fullness Of Time


Release date: June 21, 2005

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Holy mother of all cows in India! Los Angeles-based Redemption follows up this year’s string of great Prog Metal releases and comes close to knocking them all out in one swing. Pagan’s Mind, Circus Maximus, Dream Theater, Shadow Gallery, Symphony X, and Threshold; it’s about time to welcome a new addition to the family, and he is by no means a little brother.

Redemption was onto something with their self-titled debut, where current singer, Ray Alder (you’ll read that name a few times in this review), partly handled production duties, and sang on just one full song –- in the end, the biggest misfit was indeed apparent with the vocals, handled by Rick Mythiasin, also known from Steel Prophet. This being their second release, the band has made a few lineup changes and now includes the enormously talented Alder full time. As most of you out there know, he is also Fates Warning’s singer, as well as having his own little baby called Engine.

Engine’s guitarist is a guy named Bernie Versailles (also with Agent Steel), and he is another cornerstone in Redemption, along with main man Nick Van Dyk, who also handles guitar and keyboards (and whatever else it takes to make a CD). As you see, there’s a lot of “sleeping around” in the business today –- you no longer can keep track on who’s in bed with whom –- but as long as the outcome has the quality that The Fullness Of Time has, why bother? This time, the production is, by the way, handled by Tommy Newton, who has an impressing CV out there (Helloween, ARK, Conception, and lots of others).

The Fullness Of Time starts off with a heavy riff that easily can be mistaken for so-called German Speed Metal, adding double bass drums, but then takes a Symphonic approach, where a few Savatage inspirations can be heard, before the song goes more Progressive. When Ray Alder joins in, there can be no mistake who is singing. Alder has not only a trademark voice, but also his own unique melody lines, and here that is more obvious than ever. Overall, his haunting and beautiful lines dominate the whole record, and is the best single performance throughout the disc. Ray’s vocals make you press the repeat button again and again.

But back to the record … next up is “Parker’s Eyes,” and if you’re not familiar with Alder’s vocal and lyrical approach, check out when he sings “Once long ago I was young / And I saw the world through innocent eyes / Like a child…” -– gosh, these lines will make your hair stand erect like Michael Jackson’s male member when he enters a kindergarten! It is easy to go on and on about Alder’s work within this album, as all songs have parts with his undescribably beautiful singing and melody lines, but that can cause one to forget about the rest of the band here. The rhythm section is James Sherwood on bass and Chris Quirarte on drums, a solid duo that also can be heard with Prymary, and sounds as tight as (no, no further Michael Jackson jokes needed)…

“Scarred” is more up-tempo again, and it shows that Redemption separates themselves from the much too common and boring Prog Metal bands out there who only focus on complexity and have no attitude. It has a very progressive middle part, but is still full of massive guitar riffs –- here’s something for every Dream Theater fan.

If you’re not convinced that this CD is a milestone in Prog Metal by now, the fourth track, “Sapphire,” will do it for you. This is a 16-minutes masterpiece -– not a masterpiece because it’s a long, grandiose track, like most Prog lovers like them -– but again, Alder holds the song up, and just when you think you’re about to have enough of instrumental show-offs, he comes back in there with all his unique vocal beauty and just makes you stare at the wall and enjoy it even more (now please head back into the studio and re-record the debut with Ray, will you?).

The rest of the record is a four-pieced thing called The Fullness Of Time, not to be confused with the album title, or maybe it should be? Anyway, this seems to be more of a thematic thing, starting out with a narrated intro where someone states that he believes in all the wrong but fascinating things about mankind. The song, “Rage,” kicks off with another killer riff before Alder comes in and takes it all over the top. You’ll find Dream Theater-ish complexity as well, but the melody and up-tempo beat makes it far more interesting.

Second out of the four is “Despair,” with a slow, piano-based opening where Alder lives up to the title with his expression. This is a ballad, if anything, but not a typical power ballad –- more like a prog ballad, which kind of goes into the third piece, “Release.”

The ending, “Transcendence,” has a beautiful intro, with piano and an acoustic guitar, and, of course –- you know by now -– beautiful melodic singing. With a recording history with Fates Warning for almost two decades, making Prog Metal with a so-called reference band, Ray Alder has possibly peaked with this CD. Not only that, he has found a damn good collaborator and songwriter in Nicolas Van Dyk, and certainly hope that The Fullness Of Time is just the tip of the iceberg. Not only is this among the best Prog Metal discs you will hear this year, it’s possibly the best vocal effort you’ll hear in 2005. Hell, not even Jorn Lande could have done the job any better …


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