Redemption – The Art of Loss (Metal Blade)

Wednesday, 10th February 2016
Rating: 8/10

The sixth studio album The Art of Loss from California’s Redemption sees the group on fresh terrain – new record deal in place, and five years beyond their last original record This Mortal Coil. The second main band for vocalist Ray Alder (iconic Fates Warning putting his voice on the progressive metal landscape), there seems to be a more organic flow to these nine tracks, where main guitarist Nick van Dyk picks spots for intricacies while maintaining better melodic cognition.

Straddling the heavier, darker tonality of say Nevermore with neo-classical nuances and energy charge that garners Symphony X top tier appeal, a track like the 10-minute plus “Hope Dies Last” allows van Dyk a lot of musical freedom to push and pull based on the layers of parts, time signature changes and verses at hand. Contrasting this will be a more straight-forward, almost classic mid-tempo arrangement on “That Golden Light” – a chance for Ray Alder to use his mid-range delivery in a stadium-rock harmonization manner.

A number of guest guitarists appear throughout from Marty Friedman and Chris Poland to Chris Broderick to serve up their schooled break skills – and the seasoned John Bush lend a duet hand on Redemption’s take of the Who classic “Love Reign o’er Me”, knowing that he has the pipes to rival Roger Daltrey on the higher screams and grittiness necessary to pull off the emotional rollercoaster for this arrangement. Closing with “At Day’s End”, the epic 22-minute piece opens with furious guitar/keyboard runs against drummer Chris Quirate’s rolling double bass/snare strokes, shape shifting between quieter, clean verses, galloping progressive segments, and an ambient mid-section that keep a consistent melodic running theme going amidst all the adventurous musicianship at hand. Possibly one of Nick’s finest writing efforts to date, a throwback to his love of Kansas and Yes just put in more of a Redemption context.

Facing the reality that Ray’s range will never reach No Exit heights ever again, The Art of Loss still serves up a sprawling 75 minutes of US progressive metal that will appease the steady audience they’ve established, and possibly gain a few newcomers.

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