Album: The Art of Loss
Release Date: 26.02.2016
Label: Metal Blade
Redemption is not a new name if you are into progressive metal. Founded in LA, the band has the distinction of featuring Ray Alder, the voice of Fates Warning but fear not, I’ll not let Fates Warning news occupy the space in this review, don’t you worry. They are active again and it’s all good. So, The Art of Loss…
The instrument performance of The Art of Loss is top notch and the keyboard, bass and guitar passages will give you eargasms, starting with the fast paced, neo-classical flavored title track, The Art of Loss which is an instrumental showcase. No, the track is not instrumental, but is rather fast paced for Alder’s voice, or Ray Alder simply did not perform with full passion. I cannot tell. Well, actually, I can; Ray Alder’s voice is very special and quite distinct in tone and style. I always liked his voice but it requires special attention in composition as well as in production. The track Damaged, for example is also a fast paced piece but the instrumentation has more room for Alder’s performance and it shows. It is definitely a favorite. I also have an issue with the album’s mixing, keeping vocals and drums too much in front in some tracks. At times, I definitely had a hard time trying to hear the rhythm guitars. It does not disturb the ears in any way, but it hurts the blending. Hope Dies Last with its slow, acoustic passages (although hysteric in tone, not a soothing one but a track that keeps you on edge) gives the perfect support for Ray Alder’s voice and he shines. The song is definitely one of the highlights although at points it loses focus a bit.
The album features Marty Friedman, Chris Broderick, Chris Poland, Simone Mularoni and John Bush as guests. Lots of technical add-ons there. Not that the band needs anything extra in means of technique. In fact, at times, the “showcasing” of talent becomes too much. It ends up being both tiresome and boring because the ears start looking for something to hold on to. The band’s strong suit is also a weakness.
Lyrics are generally generic, digging hope and such. It is understandable as Redemption is a band cursed with medical problems. Bernie’s hiatus from band due to his illness is truly a setback while Nick van Dyk’s Multiple Myeloma is another blow both on band’s morale as well as the topics of their music.
All in all, if this is your first time getting into Redemption’s music then it’s fair to say that The Art of Loss is a mixture of Symphony X and Dream Theater with occasional Fates Warning (no surprise there) and some progressive rock elements to enrich the sound. At times, it is a bit too much Symphony X even.
Damaged and Hope Dies Last were my favorites but you can also check the twenty-two minute long At Day’s End as it covers pretty much everything about the album. Good stuff over all. I definitely enjoyed it more than the new Dream Theater but there is still room for improvement. If you are a Redemption fan, you will like this one as well, that is for sure. Maybe the lyrics will make you feel a little bit “meh”. Who knows.
Ray Alder − vocals
Bernie Versailles − lead guitar
Nick van Dyk − rhythm guitar, keyboards
Sean Andrews − bass
Greg Hosharian − keyboards
Chris Quirarte − drums