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Review: Redemption - Snowfall On Judgement Day
Snowfall On Judgement Day

Label: Inside Out Music
Year released: Unknown
Genre: Progressive Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: June 9, 2010
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating
Snowfall On Judgement Day

Rated 4/5 (80%) (18 Votes)

Following on from their awesome third album, the brooding Origins Of Ruin, US Prog Metal sensations Redemption have returned with one of the most talked about releases in the genre, the much lauded Snowfall On Judgement Day, and while the band have certainly taken a different route with this, their fourth opus, I feel it hasn't quite lived up the expectation set by their previous works. Still, that's just me. There are others who are calling this the best Prog Metal album since Images And Words, but hey, let us not get carried away here. This is damn fine release, no question there. But it is in no way as expansive as the aforementioned masterpiece, blending no genres without effort like that album did, lifting moods with every note and breaking all boundaries. No, this somehow doesn't even hold its own against such a milestone album of genre definition. But let's leave that for a moment and dig into what goods and services Redemption are offering us this time...

Less technical, more melodic, and with a greater reliance on keyboards and atmospherics (no doubt due to the addition of synth wizard Greg Hosharian to the team), Snowfall takes the dark, stormy Redemption sound and sucks it through a funnel of commercial leanings that lends a slick air to the album, changing its feel to a brighter, more accessible experience that is extremely beneficial, when considering how honestly brutal some of the lyrics are. From the outset, it is obvious Redemption are trying something with a little less power behind it, and despite some heavy riffing and manic drum work, the album has a calmer feel, somewhat less overstated, giving the songs and melodies (which are oh so beautiful) time to grow.

All players take a step back and let Ray Adler croon over the musical backdrop, and this time the man surpasses himself, putting on a career-defining performance, particularly on the opening three tracks, which are in fact, the best songs Redemption have ever put to disc. "Peel", with its awesome, headbanging rhythm and slick-as-fuck chorus, is a superlative album opener, and tells you all you need to know about this band at its best. "Walls" is another stomper, this one more intelligent in structure, with some excellent lyrics and another belting chorus. And then there is the thick, heavy "Leviathan Rising", a throwback to the Origins Of Ruin album that is hauntingly sincere from start to finish. And with James LaBrie cropping up for a dicing duet on the stomping "Another Day Dies", there are at least four reasons for people who have yet to hear this to pick up a copy.

And yet, despite all its innovation, its captivating piano and keys, its dark lyrics and emotional refrains, it's just not as good as The Origins Of Ruin, and I think that's because there was more variation on that album; it was something we hadn't really heard before. Snowfall, on the other hand, is a great album, but I was expecting more. Something real special. And at times it is, but those moments are few and far between. So, Images And Words Part Two? Nah. One of the best Prog Metal albums of the last five years? Ah, sure. Why not. Just stick The Origins Of Ruin in there too and I'll be a happy man*.

(* Of course, we all know Seventh Wonder's Mercy Falls and While Heaven Wept's Vast Oceans Lachrymose will appear above those two, but you know, sometimes we need to point these things out).

Other related information on the site
Review: Redemption (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: The Origins Of Ruin (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
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