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Redemption - Snowfall On Judgment Day CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.92 | 194 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars A good album, yes, though nothing that really sets it apart from the majority of other progressive metal albums.

As someone only somewhat familiar with Redemption (listened to The Fullness of Time, saw them live once), I must say that before I listened to my promo copy I forgot that they are exactly a progressive metal band. I mean, I knew it, but somehow in my mind they were a lot less focused on crunching guitars and replacing complex song structures with simple noodle excess. For the target style, they are absolutely on mark. They have enough Dream Theater and Symphony X in their sound to appeal to those fans, while adding their own touch to whatever they play. This is no prog metal clone band, believe me, but neither are they that different from many other giants of the scene. They put a solo or four in every song just like their peers. And what with the simultaneous arrival of the stunning new Shadow Gallery release Digital Ghosts, I find myself dramatically underwhelmed with an album that in all likelihood, in another context, might just blow my mind. Hard to say, but how I hear it is how I hear it.

The opener Peel is a fast-paced track with not too shabby of a chorus. Aside from that, it's pretty much a familiar song. Walls opens much stronger, with some nice percussion riding over a solid bass line. The clean guitar parts sound quite nice over the traditional rhythm crunch, and the vocals once more find themselves the best part of the song. Though not as strong as Shadow Gallery, Redemption are no slackers at crafting quality melodies. Unfortunately, the noodling that many fans love but this reviewer has gotten a bit weary of makes another wild appearance. Leviathan Rising takes plenty of quotes from V for Vendetta, and also features a structure very similar to something recent from Symphony X. The drums are quite well performed, but the melodies and the obsessive chugging guitar take away from its potential impact. Black and White World starts much more promisingly, with a clever piano piece. Soon, however, the standard prog metal is back in power, and the vocals for a second song in a row do not deliver enough melody to the song to take it much above the median. The trend on Snowfall on Judgment Day is that none of the songs are below average, but little is above average.

Unformed also starts quietly but quickly returns to the same prog metal sound of the first five songs. I have no problem with prog metal, but the exact same guitar, bass, and drum sound for that many songs in a row can get a bit wearying. The chorus on this track is pretty pleasing, but it is at this song that metal fatigue starts to set in (maybe not for everybody, but by this point I figure my review is already not objective, so why not?). The same intro/verse/chorus/verse/solos/chorus/outro feel exists in basically every song here. Keep Breathing starts out quite melancholic and emotional, definitely an improvement, but only a few minutes go on before the heavy distortion comes in and overpowers the beautiful piano work. An unfortunate series of increasingly heavy twists turn what could be the highlight thus far into just another one of the similar tracks, albeit with a very nice extended intro. Another Day Dies starts with a nice surprise: James LaBrie on guest vocals! I might have my problems with Dream Theater, too, but these two men make for a terrific vocal duet. And, truthfully, this song has James on a much stronger melody than anything on Black Clouds and Silver Linings did for him this same year. It's another heavy and fast metal track with much noodling, but here finally the vocals push a middling track beyond its simplistic construction and execution.

What Will You Say is much softer than the previous, though of course the metal sound is still quite overpowering throughout. The vocals are chilling and the chorus is brilliant, however, pushing this song to the second above average piece on the album. The noodly instrumental section in the center even fits the song very well! A strange thought, considering the melancholy feel of the lyrics and the high speed intensity of the soloing. Fistful of Sand, however, drops the strength of the past few tracks and jumps straight into shallow prog metal staleness. At least the album's conclusion, the long form Love Kills Us All/ Life in One Day, carries a bit more weight and purpose to its sound. This track ends the album on a high note, perhaps its highest. It begins slowly, gently, which is a very nice changeup at this point. Some beautiful piano enters in at around three minutes in, and begins turning this track into something like what the album has been hyped to be. Though the thickly distorted guitars once more overpower all the rest of the instrumentation, it at least remains interesting during this instrumental buildup. The second half, while still mostly drowned in heavy guitars, has some lovely vocals and well-conceived composition.

I might sound like I'm coming down pretty hard on this album despite a fairly average rating. The album is pretty average, but that does mean it's better than half of those out there. If you are a big fan of prog metal, I bet you'll love this release. If you like a bit more dynamic music less noodle-centric, then this album might be a bit more hit and miss. A good release, but absolutely nothing here that we haven't run into a number of times before, and since I'm such a pain about pushing at least a couple of boundaries with music, a safe release like this one completely fails to blow my mind.

LiquidEternity | 3/5 |


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