|Review: Redemption - Redemption|
Label: Sensory Records
Year released: 2003
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: January 17, 2008
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Possibly the heaviest thing to be produced in the 'dream factory', current Disney executive Nicolas van Dyk thought he'd try his hand at writing and producing his own Progressive Metal album, steeped in the narrative of two of his favorite books, Stephen King's "Desperation" and Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes". Sound intriguing? Probably not unless I throw names like Rick Mythiasin, Bernie Versailles, Jason Rullo, Michael Romeo and Ray Adler at you and tell you that Redemption sounds like a combination of all the respective artists' bands. Van Dyk's songwriting, at least musically, treads the border of intentionally complex and inadvertently compelling. Despite his obsession with Fate's Warning, "Redemption" has a strong resemblance to Pain of Salvation and Steel Prophet, and ironically, this is not down to their vocalist's contributions; Mythiasin gives one of the worst performances I've heard from him, sounding uncannily like James LaBrie in places, unconsciously whining the 'melody' lines like a diver lost at sea. The vocals go nowhere, which is probably down to the childish lyrics, focusing on story-telling rather than possible hook lines.
The album is dominated by two humongous epics: the four part "Desperation" and the 24+ minute "Something Wicked This Way Comes", both of which are fine compositions that cover all aspects of Redemption's sound. As the lyrics focus on a thematic nature, it all sounds a bit of a mouthful, but after a number of listens, the melodies become apparent and you'll find yourself humming them for days on end. That is the beauty of this disc; it is so addictive, and I can't quite figure out why. Nevertheless, this was a first attempt at the genre, and staying clear of the Dream Theater mould must have been a difficult obstacle to overcome. We do have a clear mix of Progressive Rock and Metal here, with even a hint of Power Metal in the use of urgent percussion from Symphony X stickman Jason Rullo.
The production has a noticeable crunch, but the vocals are mixed way too low, meaning the symphonic keys often overrule. The short but sweet "As I Lay Dying" has one of the catchier choruses, with a Marillion-esque build up and a heavy resolution. "Window to Space" is the premium package here, where the band seems to gel the most within the boundaries van Dyk has set them. His guitar, bass and synth playing is consummate - he is classically trained - and for once, it is quite nice to hear an outsider's take on the show. A decent album that led to more superlative ventures with the two follow ups; humble beginnings for a man whose day job is to stem off animated child abuse for as long as possible.
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