Redemption - Alive In Color - New Live Album 2020

REDEMPTION – Alive In Color

Some Background:

Before I get into the album a little background for those unfamiliar with the band Redemption. They are a prog metal band founded by guitarist Nicolas van Dyk back in 2001 and he is the only original member to feature on the new album. Drummer Chris Quirarte has been with the band since the first album back in 2003. One member who is technically still in the band but does not feature here is second guitarist and original member Bernie Versailles who is on hiatus due to suffering from an aneurysm back in 2014 (we wish him a full recovery here at CGCM) who has in his place Simone Mularoni from DGM who does a sterling job. Since 2014 they have only recorded a couple of albums and done a very limited amount of shows, of which this is one ProgPower 19. This is the band’s third live album but of the 14 songs, only three have appeared on previous efforts so it is very different and new.

Hopes:

One always hopes that a live album feels special and not like a fill-in between albums and this captures what is obviously a special couple of performances by the band. The production is excellent throughout with all the instruments clear in the mix and the audience caught quite nicely. There is also the joy of some special guests popping up to make these gigs a one-off which translates into the live album.

Redemption are one of those prog metal bands that not only show off all their chops but manage to write actual songs. Their lyrics are strong with themes easy to get into. They have an excellent sense of melody amongst the riffing. I won’t analyze all the tracks but will pick out some choice moments.

A Look At Some Of The Songs/Performances:

Redemption: Tom In Action At ProgPower 19

Redemption: Tom In Action At ProgPower 19

The Echo Chamber” has a particularly great opening riff which grooves nicely. All the lead work whether it is guitar or keyboard are first class and the drum fills are, like on a number of tracks, absolutely belting here. There is even a little nod towards Thin Lizzy on one of the harmony parts. Even on longer songs, there is a bit of accessibility to those who aren’t massive prog heads. “Damaged” allows both the bass and keys to shine and musically it has quite a jaunty feel to it. “Someone Else’s Problem” shows of the lyrical prowess being a song about splitting from someone who you loved, tried to do your best for and in the end, it was all pointless. They literally are “Someone Else’s Problem” now. The opening riffs are also bloody marvellous with the keys imitating the guitar lines.

Longest song here “Long Night’s Journey Into Day” seems to fly by in much less than the 10 minutes that it is. This is possibly one of the more Dream Theater sounding songs riff wise. Both the bass and keys really get plenty of space amongst the guitars and there are some very fine drum fills, just little flourishes, adding so much extra texture to the song. This is one of the songs there is fair amount of audience participation. “Black And White World” has an eerie “Exorcist” keyboard style melody and sound, very haunting at the start with the bass of Sean Andrews coming in in advance of the whole band. They know how to texture songs, create moods and moments and live it seems even more powerful compared to the album recordings.

Redemption: Vikram multi-tasking

Redemption: Vikram multi-tasking

Encore song is part 3 of “The Fullness Of Time” from the long suite on the same-named album. Vikram Shankar precedes the section with a very tasteful piano solo of around 2 minutes building up tension before the song finishes the evening/album in more frantic style as this is quite a heavy piece.

There are a couple of guests that come out including previous vocalist Ray Adler (Fates Warning) who sings “Threads” which is a terrific song. In 5 or 6 minutes it shows all that is good about Redemption, great soloing, enticing and memorable melodies, different moods and quality lyrics to match. In fact, the song is so good it appears twice on the album as they have added the version done at the warm-up show for folks on their Patreon page. That night the song was sung by Tom Englund (Evergrey) who took over on the last album 2 years ago. He is superb throughout this live album.

The other guest is ex-Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland who has helped lend a hand to the last 2 studio albums. “Indulge In Colours” a song which is almost a reply to a previous song (“Black And White World”) where the person has found perspective and no longer is looking back wanting to rekindle a previous relationship (I did say they wrote songs!) Of course, it features a quality solo from Mr. Poland himself. The band after that do a fun run-through of the Megadeth classic “Peace Sells (Who’s Buying?)” with the crowd helping out very loudly. It seems prog fans love a bit of old school thrash. At least going by the response here. I cannot remember hearing it on the original but on the line about being president, there is definitely a touch of the “Star-Spangled Banner” from the guitar.

Final Thoughts, A Moment In Time:

Redemption: The Whole Cast Take Their Bow

Redemption: The Whole Cast Take Their Bow

I haven’t had the advance copy for very long but I am a big fan of this live recording already. It does what a good live album should do, capture a moment in time. The songs seem to have that extra energy here compared to the original studio recordings. The band sound on fire and new singer Tom Englund makes the old songs sound fresh whilst retaining the vibe of the originals. An excellent sounding album that made me 100% jealous of those who were at the gig. Let’s hope they might tour again so we can make new memories in person next time.

Alive In Color out Friday 28 August on AFM Records.

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Tom Cornell

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