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Those who've followed the progress of prog metal stalwarts Fates Warning through the years may have been dismayed at how they moved from a busy sound that was stuffed to bursting point with ideas to one where Jim Matheos' primary aim seems to be constructing a song with as few notes as possible. Though their minimalist sound has quite a few takers, and a certain charm about it, there are times where you kind of wish for the unrestrained enthusiasm of yore.
Enter Redemption. This band's been intertwined with FW since it's inception, with Mark Zonder contributing in their debut, Fates' touring guitarist Bernie Versailles a prominent member and Ray Alder providing vocals for the last two releases. And without the obligation of maturity that a long back catalog warrants, this setup has a more gung-ho “Hell yeah! Let's kick some ass!” approach to things.
It warms the heart to once again hear Alder's distinctive voice working with urgent rhythm sections, aggressive riffage, blistering solos and the few indulgences that vintage prog metal wears on its sleeve. The band's general formula seems to be stir things up, building to a big singalong chorus, and then ease off with some instrumental interplay. So while it's not really treading new ground, they just do it so competently and earnestly (with some pretty good lyrical ability, too) that you can't really fault them. And did I mention great choruses?
Personally, this release falls a little short of their last effort, The Fullness of Time, for some reason. That one had a few more standout moments, despite some blatant Symphony X ripoff tunes. Nonetheless, Redemption is still consistently filling an important niche that needed to be taken care of, for band members and listeners alike.
Year of release: 2007
Label: Inside Out Music
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