by Kyle Graves
The music of Redemption has the very rare gift of being at once melancholic and yet somehow life-affirmingly beautiful & hopeful. Largely due to main-man/songwriter Nick van Dyk’s unique way with words & melodies, this is a band that has released world-class material for more than 20 years. They truly deserve to be mentioned alongside the giants of the prog-metal genre as they continue to create quality music. And continuing to do this even after replacing an A-List singer (Ray Alder-Fates Warning) with an equally A-List singer (Tom Englund-Evergrey). “I Am The Storm”, out March 17th, once again affirms that “the new guy” was the right man for the job.
It is likely that Tom Englund needs no introduction, but for those unaware he has deftly lead his own band Evergrey for 25 years. An amazing writer/guitarist in his own rite, Tom is highly regarded for his exceptionally passionate & emotional vocals in that band. When Alder exited Redemption in 2017, many cried foul without ever giving Englund a chance. His voice clearly *is* different, but no less engaging, powerful & dripping with emotion.
The album kicks off w/ the title track “I Am The Storm” which starts with a thunderclap followed by a pummeling double bass beat that sets the pace. Unsurprisingly its bombast wouldn’t be out of place on an Evergrey release, and yet this is gloriously ALL Redemption. This song is HEAVY, to be sure, but contains all those things we’ve come to expect from this band. Out of the gate you realize the rhythm section of Sean Andrews & Chris Quirarte is as rock solid as any duo in the genre. They are both masters of their instruments (bass & drums, respectively) & really help lay the foundation for each song.
The songs “Remember the Dawn” & “Seven Minutes From Sunset” epitomize the sweeping cinematic landscape this band has carefully crafted on each album. Here you’ll find the best elements of Redemption with hints and nods to ‘Black & White World’ and even ‘Transcendence’. Peppered throughout are ferocious riffs from van Dyk and luscious, masterful keyboard wizardry from Vikram Shankar.
Speaking of Shankar, as the newest member of Redemption, he is responsible for writing the lion share of “The Emotional Depiction of Light.” This track is dynamic, emotional & quite sublime and it is certainly one of the highlights of the album. Tom’s voice here wrings every drop of emotion from the lyrics and truly creates a visual – think of it as “music you can SEE”.
“I Am Resilience” is an absolute burner of a song that Force chokes you like Darth Vader on his worst day. It’s an inspiring tale of overcoming adversity, eliminating obstacles & rising above. It’s delivered w/ a spitting tone that would make Dave Mustaine proud & fit nicely on a Megadeth release. Speaking of, former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland makes another blazing guest appearance here, as do Henrik from Evergrey and Simone from DMG.
There are 2 amazing epics on the album: “All This Time (And Not Enough)” & “Action At a Distance”, and they are loaded with Prog metal goodness. The latter (at 14+ minutes) is my personal favorite and truly the centerpiece of the album. While musical prowess is a hallmark of the genre, not every band has the ability to show restraint for the betterment of the song. On this epic journey, each band member gets a moment to shine, but it never detracts from the piece as a whole. Action also contains some of the finest & fiercest guitar soloing on a Redemption release to date. As this song comes in for a landing you’ll feel you’ve just experienced an emotional and well balanced piece of musical cinema, not unlike the classic ‘Saphhire’.
Over the years Redemption has chosen some very left-of-center songs to cover. From the likes of Faith No More to Tori Amos to Toto, they’ve put their stamp on all of them. This album features a deliciously heavy cover of “Turn It On Again” by Genesis to great affect. The guitar solos at the end are transcendent and when Englund screams “turn it on, turn it on again!” you buy it! Also wrapping up the album as a bonus track is a terrific rendition of the Peter Gabriel classic “Red Rain”.
To my ears, this is a classic sounding Redemption record. Perhaps you’re one who doesn’t do well with change, particularly that of an iconic singer. If you shied away from their last release ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’ (their 1st w/ Englund), I’d highly encourage you to give this album a spin. Englund’s vocals help this album to soar above their peers. Nick van Dyk and Co. once more have created a collection of songs that will help you explore deep emotions previously untapped all within the context of melody & crunch, sadness & beauty.
Released on March 17th, 2023
1. I Am The Storm (4:27)
2. Seven Minutes From Sunset (4:28)
3. Remember the Dawn (8:26)
4. The Emotional Depiction of Light (6:10)
5. Resilience (4:36)
6. Action at a Distance (14:19)
7. Turn It On Again (4:19)
8. All This Time (And Not Enough) (12:36)
The Emotional Depiction of Light (Alt. Mix) (6:10)
Red Rain (5:37)
The Pearl Clutchers (feat. Chris Poland – vinyl exclusive) (6:43)
The Far Side of the Clouds (feat. Henrik Danhage – vinyl exclusive) (7:18)
Co-produced by Nick van Dyk and Vikram Shankar
Mixed and mastered by Simone Mularoni
Guest guitars by Simone Mularoni
Vocals: Tom Englund
Guitars: Nick van Dyk
Keyboards: Vikram Shankar
Bass Guitars: Sean Andrews
Drums: Chris Quirarte
Artwork by Travis Smith