Redemption – Live From the Pit (Sensory)

Sunday, 17th August 2014
Rating: 8/10

Co-headlining the best festival in the progressive and power metal genres in the United States at ProgPower 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia, Redemption knew to step up their performance game to match the audience fervor and intensity they would deliver. Live From the Pit is a 12 song, 76 minute plus representation in an audio/DVD format (for this review, the former is only taken under analysis) and should provide ample proof of whether they deserve praise and recognition for their stellar high octane progressive metal style, or if the veteran quality musicians are only coasting off previous accolades and accomplishments.

Guitarist/ keyboardist Nick van Dyk composes Redemption’s material, and knows where to place the sextet of musicians in their comfort zones or sweet spots to extract all the right dynamic light and heavy moments. Ray Alder’s voice has this mid-range richness that reminds us again in “Stronger than Death” and the shape shifting “Black and White World” why he’s considered along with his Fates Warning back catalog one of the mentors to aim for in the upper echelon of the genre. Nick and fellow guitarist Bernie Versailles (also of Agent Steel) fire off a stellar pile of furious riff attacks in the time signature madness that is “Threads”, while keyboardist Greg Hosharian provides positive virtuoso contrast to the darker guitar shades in the 9:30 “Dreams from the Pit”. Never mind the time signature manipulation and quick hitting chord changes that bassist Sean Andrews and drummer Chris Quirarte shoulder throughout the live performance.

Touching mostly on the four Alder sung studio albums (the self-titled debut featured Steel Prophet’s Rick Mythiasin at the microphone), you will get “Nocturnal” from the 2003 initial offering, as the band chose to dedicate 7 tracks to The Origins of Ruin and their last studio album, the brilliant This Mortal Coil. Redemption play a form of thinking man’s progressive metal, often in a heavier context than your previous generation that were more 70’s influenced. Debate can spread across the message boards regarding a missing favorite or two (the 11 minute “Love Kills Us All/ Life in One Day” would be my choice to add), but it’s never easy to appease those deeply into a band’s entire discography- so I’ll say the 12 songs offer the broadest spectrum possible in a headlining situation.

If you’ve never taken a chance on Redemption, Live From the Pit should bring you up to speed. While the prime heat seems to be coming from Scandinavia for the genre these days, there are still a few American bands more than worth your time (and money), so act accordingly and expand your horizons.

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