Not exactly a new kid on the block, as I think the roots of Saracen date to the seventies, with original writer and guitarist Rob Bendelow still firmly in place. But it is the last decade or so, that has seen them release CD’s on a more regular base, which is a good thing, as I like this band. Their sound is part NWOBHM and part prog. So names like Iron Maiden, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep are references.
This CD has a lot to offer, not only in quantity, the 13 tracks make good use of all the room on a standard CD, but also in quality. And yes, there is nothing new or modern on offer here, but who cares if it is done well, right? This band is not about mixing styles and creating a new sound. This is all about writing good songs, telling tales and delivering them with class and panache. We get melody, we get solos, we get intricate arrangements and songs that develop and paint pictures.
So if you are into this type of music, or like the bands I mentioned earlier, then this is surely something you will want to check out.
A CD I was very looking out for to listen to. But failed to connect with the first couple of spins. Must be my frame of mind, because after leaving it alone for a couple of days, now I am finally getting into it.
Everyone familiar with the band will know their brand of progressive metal. The mighty Ray Alder (Fates Warning) on vocals, and Bernie Versailles on guitar, Redemption is in essence still the brainchild of Nick van Dyk. The music is often complex, with fierce riffs, many fills and breaks. But the good thing is that the vocal melodies really soothe the muscular musical attack and let the songs shine. And to be honest, when one has been listening to more mellow stuff a lot lately, you really need great melodies to be able to listen to the blur of notes. But like I said, that is just the state I am in at the moment.
I am sure this will grow on me with every listen, as so far this band has never failed me before (see my previous post). And I am also sure that will apply to every reader that has a knack for progressive metal or the players involved. This band is just too good to let things slip out of their hands!
To my astonishment, or maybe shame, I recently discovered I lost track of Redemption after their first record. So I decided it was time to catch up and the first one I could lay my hands on is this 2005 disk The Fullness Of Time. Redemption is the brainchild of guitar and keyboard player Nick van Dyke, who managed to get singer Ray Alder (Fates Warning), guitarist Bernie Versailles (Agents Of Steel) involved, together with James Sherwood on bass and Chris Quirarte on drums.
In some ways this music resembles that of the mighty Fates Warning, though probably mainly because of Ray. Stylistically this is a somewhat different beast. More metal, more ferocious, more muscle. So it is fair to say that this CD challenges the listener. A lot of riffs and ideas, intricate arrangements in all departments, there is a lot going on. Yet that impressive voice holds it all together. But over time, when you get more acquainted with the songs, you get a firmer grasp of the depth of it all and the music opens up. And then the beauty presents itself to you. And a beauty it is! Very rich, a lot of dynamics, and also the melodies become more evident. An impressive album that that is fuel to the fire. Can’t wait for the next one to listen to!
A little confession here; I think there are to little convincing singing woman in rock music. And by convincing I mean the ability to express more emotion than just singing in a lovely angelic voice. With a little bite so to speak.
But if you are with me on this matter, I am sure I will lighten up your day! This Agnes Pihlava is a real find. Not only the songs on this album are fired up with heavy rocking guitars, the lady also sings on top of her longs. And does that with a lot of bite when she needs to. And the good part is, she has some sweet moments too ;-). Despite her range not being as impressive as Whitney Houston´s (before she got lost in unhealthy habits), I think Agnes has a very warm sounding voice with that little extra that makes me a happy listener. And an original sound to it too!
So I am glad to report this is a damn fine album. Little keyboards, but still a varied offering. A lot of guitars, and even the odd solo. Still all very melodic with catchy choruses without it becoming a drag. Check this out!
Personal play tips: Own Two Feet, For Your Redemption, Maybe I Was Wrong.