Melody, emotion, and heaviness. These are the three words that most come to mind when listening to Redemption’s seventh studio album, Long Night’s Journey Into Day.
The new album has all three of these elements in spades. And they work together to provide a listening experience that keeps me wanting to come back for more.
Long Night’s Journey Into Day sounds like classic Redemption. And at the same time, it manages to sound like something completely new. I was nervous about whether I would like this album. I will just go ahead and be direct: I LOVE IT.
Perhaps the most jarring bit of “newness” is the addition of vocalist Tom Englund (Evergrey) in place of Ray Alder. I admit feeling a great deal of trepidation when I heard that Ray had been replaced. For as long as I had been a fan up to this point, he had been the voice of Redemption. When I heard the first promo single, Little Men, I was not sure what to think. There was certainly nothing wrong with Tom’s singing. But it was jarring hearing music that was so obviously Redemption and hearing someone other than Ray Alder singing.
After letting that song sink in, and now hearing the album in its entirety, I can confirm that Tom was the right man for the job. His voice suits the material perfectly. He not only sings the lyrics—he sells them and gives them a deep sincerity and emotional impact. And he strikes a very nice balance between familiar and new, which is a theme I cannot help repeating. His voice suits the music perfectly, and he sings the songs as someone who has been in the band for years. He also knows how to emote without over singing. And it is obvious from the level of emotion he conveys that he truly connects with the lyrics.
It is also worth noting that other changes in the band include contributions from Simone Mularoni and Chris Poland on guitar and Vikram Shankar on keyboards. All three make their presence felt and take the music to new levels.
The songs range in length from more traditional “radio friendly” track lengths (And Yet at 3:47 is the shortest) to long, progressive epics (Long Night’s Journey Into Day at 10:30 being the longest). It speaks to how well these songs are written that the short songs do not feel too short, and the long songs do not feel like they overstay their welcome. As is typical of Redemption’s music, each of the songs tells a story. Those stories are deep and often very introspective. They frequently present a bit of a story arc that involves a conflict and resolution of sorts. For that to work and not come across as too trite or pithy, songs often need time to breathe and let the lyrics fully play out. To put it another way, these songs take you on a lyrical journey that takes time to unfold. Unlike some modern progressive metal acts, the solos and instrumental passages enhance and add texture to the atmosphere created by the lyrics, rather than distracting or detracting from it.
The album starts with an eerie 15-second intro at the beginning of Eyes You Dare Not Meet in Dreams before launching into a blistering up-tempo guitar riff reminiscent of the opening tracks of Redemption’s past two albums, This Mortal Coil and The Art of Loss. From there, the song alternates between heavy and melodic. But the focus is on heavy, and this song sets the tone that this is beyond any doubt a metal album.
But the album is not all thick-as-a-brick riffs, blistering solos, and breakneck speed. And Yet is an example of the haunting and melancholy moods Redemption is known for. The song showcases some gut-wrenching piano and keyboard parts that are nothing short of beautiful. Tom’s softer vocals compliment the somber mood of this track perfectly.
Indulge In Color is a great example of the band at their most melodic and upbeat. The song feels very much like a successor to Snowfall On Judgment Day’s Black and White World, and Nick Van Dyke has acknowledged that the songs share much in common.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the cover of U2’s New Year’s Day. When I first saw the title in the track list, it did not immediately register, and I did not realize it was a cover. But once the song started, I recognized it immediately. The band does a phenomenal job of both being true to the original and bringing something new to the table. There is some very creative heavy riffing and double bass drumming that bring a heaviness that the original version of the song obviously did not have. And yet, it also has the signature keyboard parts and melodies from the original that make it instantly recognizable. I felt that the covers CD included with This Mortal Coil really showcased Redemption’s ability to take familiar songs in different genres and present them in fresh and exciting ways. They do that here and absolutely nail this U2 song. I might just prefer this version to the original.
The closing epic and title song spans a wide range of emotions. The clean guitars and soft, subdued vocals the beginning start the song on a mournful tone. But as a lot of Redemption’s songs tend to do, the track builds, and as it does, it constantly transforms and evolves, and takes the listener on a journey. It is fitting that it ends the album on an uplifting and hopeful note. It is reminiscent in many ways of Snowfall On Judgment Day’s Love Kills Us All / Life in One Day.
I hate to go this far after having the album for such a short period of time, but I will go out on a limb and say that Long Night’s Journey Into Day is going to be a contender for 2018’s album of the year. The album is just that good.
Release Date: July 27, 2018 – Metal Blade Recortds
01. Eyes You Dare Not Meet in Dreams
Review by: Bosk1 of www.dreamtheaterforums.org
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