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Redemption
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2003
Format: Audio CD
While the name Redemption is pretty new in the prog metal genre, the people who perform on the project are not. On the contrary, they remind me of an all-star line-up like Arjen Lucassen's Ayreon. Redemption is guitarist Nick van Dyk's offering. After co-writing songs on Fates Warning vocalist Ray Alder's Engine album, he finally started work on putting this band together. He seems to have benefitted a lot from having worked with Alder, as we see other Fates Warning members on the CD as well. Prog metal drum god Mark Zonder plays on one song ("As I Lay Dying") and Joey Vera appears as the sound engineer of the album. Alder sings lead vocals on the second track and does back-up on a few others. He also co-produced the album with Nick. The notable line-up also features Symphony X drummer Jason Rullo, and as usual he does a great job. Bernie Versailles from Agent Steel, Fates Warning, and Engine plays lead guitars on the record. He must be another acquintance of Nick's from the Engine project. Behind the mic we have the amazing vocalist Rick Mythiasin formerly of Steel Prophet; now in New Eden and Taraxacum.
As for Nick van Dyk, he co-produces the album, he plays bass, rhythm guitars, keyboards, and he is the main songwriter. A very multi-dimensional musician to say the least.
Michael Romeo from Symphony X appears in the liner notes as a guest musician who helped Nick with the orchestration and keyboard programming, and it shows. The dark cover art has the Travis Smith trademark all over it, and it's a very fitting art as far as I am concerned.
Sensory Records describes Redemption's music as dark prog metal with a sound that reflects a combination of Evergrey, Savatage, Kansas, Iron Maiden, and of course Fates Warning. While I do not necessarily think the album sounds like any of those band in particular save Fates Warning, I do relate to the dark feel of Evergrey, to Sava's amazing piano and keyboard textures, to Maiden's beautiful lead guitar work, to Kansas' proggy roots and of course Fates' sublime song structures. It is hard to liken the music on this disc to any of these bands, but I guess it would be safe to say that Redemption offers quality American prog metal with a unique touch. They seamlessly blend complexity and melody with two independent semi-concepts, one based on the Stephen King novel titled Desperation. The first four songs focus on it. Needles to say the songs all have 'redemption' as the underlying theme. "Nocturnal" fills the gap between the two concepts also giving us a few minutes to enjoy the band's work in free form. It is a given that most prog projects evolve around conceptually based stories, but sometimes, as in "Nocturnal" and "As I Lay Dying", it is great to experience the band's other aspects musically and lyrically. These songs are also very interesting in the way that they explore the nature of human relationships, faith, regret and similar themes. The last song "Something Wicked This Way Comes" clocks in at over 25 minutes with its epic feel. The writing is amazing, as are Rick's vocals, save for the somewhat disappointing mix.
Rick Mythiasin is an amazing singer. Those of you who have heard his work with Steel Prophet (Messiah is a great starting point if you're unfamiliar with them) should know what I'm talking about, and I feel had it not been for the unfortunate mix, this would have been his best vocal performance to date. It's a shame that his voice is drowned by the sometimes too heavy rhythm guitars and bass by Nick. Also his vocals seem to be mixed a bit too far back for my liking. It could also be the drastic change in his singing, since Rick isn't originally a prog metal vocalist. He is a high pitched wailer going from soaring screams to fiery vocal deliveries. On this CD he has toned it down to a more melodic, mid-range tone that makes him sound quite different. He prefers to stay within this range during most of the album, although we do get to hear a few of his godly screams where he totolly rules the songs. He has a great combination of melody and power in his voice and I absolutely love it. [Rick left the band shortly after recording his parts on it and was replaced by Magnitude 9 singer Corey Brown, who is perhaps a more fitting figure to the band.] Except the vocals, the production is really crip and clear with a very precise feel. The bass work, drums and rhythm guitars are thick and very full. The keys are placed a bit in the back, and that's how it should have been to my ears.
To sum it up, the debut Redemption is an album that has numerous textures. It's a hybrid of many of the elements that I love to hear in prog metal. It is certainly quality songwriting and well crafted musicianship and like many other prog discs it may take some time to 'hit' you in the face. After all, don't most prog metal classics require repeated listens to open up to you? And Redemption is definitely no exception.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Sometimes super-groups result in something bland; a collection of musicians from other bands that get together to make something weaker than what their individual members can concoct.

Thankfully, this prog-metal ensemble does not fail. Composed of Jason Rullo (Symphony X), Rick Mythiasin (ex-Steel Prophet), Bernie Versailles (Fates Warning) and headed by mastermind Nick Van Dyk, the album is a dark and rapid progressive effort. Most of the artwork was done by Travis Smith, whose portfolio includes some of the darkest and most lush landscapes in the metal scene. It is very fitting with the dark music that Van Dyk and company have arranged.

The first four songs encompass the "Desperation" suite, based on Stephen King's novel by the same name. It begins with Michael Romeo's (Symphony X) orchestral rendition of Aaron Copland's "Billy the Kid", which leads right into the song's main guitar riff. From there, the four songs are unstoppable, effortlessly churning out amazing progressive melodies and extremely memorable choruses, each individual piece standing alone while contributing to the suite's success. The Desperation suite alone is worth the price of the album.

This shouldn't take away from the remaining songs. "Nocturnal" is a hard-rocker - aggressive and simple, with crunchy guitars and eerily-harmonized vocals. "Window to Space" is a 13-minute progressive beast, covering various melodies, all of which culminate in a keyboard/piano melody. "As I Lay Dying" is another short(er) progressive piece in Dream Theater's vein, but it mostly a prelude to "Something Wicked This Way Comes", a 24-minute disappointment. The song is not as musically diverse as Symphony X's "The Odyssey" or Dream Theater's "A Change of Seasons" to sustain such a tremendous musical narrative. It is, however, the only disappointment in a truly amazing album.

See also: Dream Theater - "Scenes From a Memory", Kamelot - "Epica"
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2003
Format: Audio CD
My message goes to all progressive lovers and in general to all great music lovers : Redemption is a first class progressive metal band !
But it's not so estonishing, because the line up is excellent : a real dream for all progressive metal fans : Jason Rullo (Symphony X, what a drummer, my God !!), Ray Alder (Fates Warning) and Steel Prophet's singer on vocals, Nick Van Dirk and Bernie Versailles on guitars... !!!
And as expected, the album is a masterpiece !!!
Very rich compositions and lyrics !!! Each song is excellent, very epic, heavy and sensitive... a real combination of what makes a good song an EXCELLENT one !!!
So to you : buy the Redemption album, and if you are not convinced, listen to it and you'll see I'm right !!
Redemption has a BIG potential, as big as the one of bands like Symphony X or Fates Warning !!!!
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2005
Format: Audio CD
After buying and repeatedly listening to Redemption's second disc, "The Fullness of Time," which I consider to be a true masterpiece and the best progressive rock disc of 2005 thus far, I simply had to purchase Redemption's debut disc. I figured that based on the online reviews that I was making a sound investment, but what I got was a disappointment.

First of all, the lineup of musicians seemed to lack chemistry, outside of Nick van Dyk and Bernie Versailles' symbiotic musical relationship; beyond the guitars nothing seemed to meld together well.

Secondly, the vocals were lacking. Rick Mythiasin seemed to be giving a half-hearted performance. To me his voice is somewhat reminiscent of early Geoff Tate, but Geoff Tate holding back and not giving it his all. It seemed to me that Rick Mythiasin didn't really want to be there recording this album and he kinda showed it by cutting away immediately after finishing his parts in the studio.

Third, outside of "Nocturnal," the songwriting doesn't hold up well when compared to other progressive albums that are considered to be great, including Redemption's own second album.

Finally, the disc is POORLY mixed; the vocals, in particular, are set too far back in the mix, making it harder to enjoy the disc.

All in all this is a mediocre release that could have been so much better. Regretably it falls short of the mark.
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on September 5, 2009
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
This first album by Redemption is quite good, my only complaint is the songs are a little too long and the sound mix makes sometimes the music sound garbled, messy in some parts. If you liked this one jump and get their next two albums, that by the way are far better in all levels.
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on August 4, 2009
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
A gift for my oldest son's birthday coming up August 13. He's had this on his WISH list for some time now . . . he will be surprised!
Received in good condition and great service!
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2003
Format: Audio CD
For those who are looking for rich and complex progressive music : don't search anymore, Redemption is here for you !!
A reunion of excellent musicians (Symphony X, Fates Warning, Steel Prophet, Engine ) !! You can expect the best of them !! And you get it !!!
Symphony X and Fates Warning lovers will love it !!
Redemption makes sensitive music with many instrumental passages and a great lyric leading voice !!!
Very technical, but not without feelings !! A classic, a must for heavy metal and symphonic metal fans !!!
Moreover the lyrics of Nick Van Dyk are very rich and emotional !!
So the question is : how can they do a better second album , i don't know , but I'm sure they will !!
So follow Redemption, a band with a great future to come, believe me!!
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2003
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Quite a few prog metal bands now have started their careers with rather rough sounding debut CDs, only to release follow-up sophmore CDs that knock the socks off everybody... Dream Theater and Symphony X to name a few. When this was released I was one of the first on the bandwagon, only to find it sounded like a dated metal Fates Warning clone band. It was a disappointment considering the talent involved (members of Fates Warning, Symphony X). Looking back now on two strong follow-up albums from this debut release, it's easier to see what Nick Van Dyk was trying to accomplish. "Desperation, Part II" with Ray Alder on vocals is my favorite track and offers a glimpse into the future greatness of the band. "Window to Space" and "Desperation, Part 3" are also two of the stronger tracks on the CD. If you've heard the newer CDs, don't expect this one to sound like them. This one is far less progressive sounding. This CD is for you if you're a completist, or would like to hear what a rougher version of the great "Fullness Of Time" sounds like.
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