I Am the Storm, the eighth full length studio album from prog-metal act REDEMPTION (once again featuring Evergrey front man, Tom Englund) will be released on March 17th. England, who replaced longtime vocalist Ray Alder (of Fate’s Warning) for the previous release, Long Night’s Journey into Day has proven to be a fitting replacement as his vocals are on par with those of his predecessor and fit perfectly within the Redemption sound.
No more surely than on ‘I Am the Storm’, an aggressive and powerful track that is the opener and lead single. The vocals are delivered with a clarity and emotiveness that is essential for Redemption, whose strongest point has always been its instrumentation, letting their albums shine in typical prog-metal form.
There are few progressive metal bands who are as consistent as Redemption in allowing their patented sound flow in many different directions and I Am the Storm continues in that fine tradition.Unquestioned band leader and guitarist, Nick Van Dyk just keeps tossing strong and emotive solos and gut punching, meaty melodic leads at us, as in ‘Seven Minutes from Sunset’.
The rhythm section holds steady with thumping bass lines and driving drum patterns, while Englund gives strong performances in hooking you in with strong choruses, as Redemption is well known for. That’s not to say there aren’t a hiccup or two along the way.
I find that in most Redemption albums, there’s always a song or two that leaves you wondering, “what were they thinking”? On this album, it’s their choice of cover song, Genesis’ ‘Turn it on Again’! While musically, it brings the song an updated, thrashy prog sound, the vocals by England just do not work at all. He sings this song as if he is singing in a bad cover band.
I would have preferred an instrumental version for sure.Yet, for every downturn on any Redemption album, there’s another 5 or 6 magical outstanding prog metal compositions. The group consists of five highly talented and extremely individual artists who together are renowned for their extraordinary performances and the unit really shines on ‘Remember the Dawn’, a powerful, catchy and captivating, prog-metal tour de force.
This is followed up by the multi-layered ‘TheEmotional Depiction of Light, a pretty atypical song for this band. NVD explains, “The track was originally written by our keyboardist Vikram Shankar, then began to take a slightly different direction when I came in with my guitar work. I wanted Vik to be able to present his song the way he’d had it in mind originally. Hence the additional remix version.” While both versions emote the passion of the lyrics, they really feel and sound like completely different compositions.
Comparisons to Dream Theater and Symphony X among others remain inevitable; and ‘Resilience’ follows in this tradition. A powerful, in your face approach makes this the tastiest metallic rocker on the album! As NVD shreds in syncopation with keyboardist Shankar, the song exudes thrash and power metal with melodic and progressive influences.
If Redemption goes on tour (fingers crossed), this one will be a MONSTER “live”! The rhythms are tightly intricate, the guitars alternate between crunchy chugs and weaving leads, and the keyboards boast spry melodies and thematic electronics.
While sometimes keeping very much the same musical blueprint as prior offerings, reliability and consistency never go out of style, and ‘Action at a Distance’ proves that Redemption can mold a song that can be traced back to any album, while still sounding fresh and new. As the longest song on the album (clocking in at over 14 minutes), the patented time signatures continually flow throughout, and NVD leads with his seemingly effortless guitar shredding.
Another prog lover’s delight is the twelve plus minute opus, ‘All This Time (And Not Enough)’. Once again, Tom supplies the powerful vocal lines that soar over the intricate guitar and bass lines that lead the song through its progressive technical flash.
Overall, Redemption isn’t at the popularity heights of the prog metal echelon, but not because of talent or tremendously crafted songs. The band could certainly gain from another stint hooking up with a Dream Theater or Haken on tour to keep them in the prog public eye because once again, “I Am the Storm” as with their past work, result in some of the most stirring prog performances to date. This may also be among the band’s most aggressive outings to date I’m not sure if this album will attract newer fans (unless they go out on the road), but longtime listeners won’t be disappointed by anything happening here.
Album Rating: 9/10
I Am The Storm 4:28
Seven Minutes From Sunset 4:28
Remember The Dawn 8:26
The Emotional Depiction Of Light 6:11
Action At A Distance 14:19
Turn It On Again 4:20
All This Time (And Not Enough) 12:36
The Emotional Depiction Of Light (Vikram’s Remix) 6:12