REDEMPTION – “I Am the Storm”

By Colonel Angus

I can’t believe that it has been 20 years since the first REDEMPTION record came out.  This is band that I first caught on a DREAM THEATER tour back in 2007 and I have been a fan since.  They have had their share of line-up changes but the one that I felt made the biggest impact was when they switched Ray Alder for Tom Englund.  With that change in vocalists, I feel that the material has gotten a bit heavier but still retained their classic sound of prog metal.  Although I miss Alder’s singing, I do really enjoy Englund’s voice and his performance on “I Am the Storm” and their previous record.  Englund continues to align himself with quality material whether through his own band EVERGREY or with this latest record form REDEMPTION.

The previous album “Long Night's Journey into Day” was our first taste into what Englund fronted REDEMPTION would sound like and “I am the Storm” is a continuation of that same sound.  When I first listened to this new material, I thought it wasn’t quite as heavy as the previous record but then upon further spins, I feel that “I Am the Storm” has its share of heavier moments.  The title track opens the disk with a heavy prog metal sound and because of the vocals, it would fit nicely on any of the latter day EVERGREY records.  “Resilience” is the other heavy standout as it plows along with some great melodic guitar riffs and solos without much prog thrown in.  

What makes REDEMPTION so enjoyable is their use of light and shade not only throughout the record but sometimes within just one track giving it dimension and interest.  Songs like “All This Time (And Not Enough)”, “The Emotional Depiction of Light”, and “Action at a Distance” are all a great example of mixing softer moments with some heavier prog sounds.  The latter is a great cross between DREAM THEATER and Evergrey f I was going to describe this record to someone not familiar with the band.  Even the addition of GENESIS cover song “Turn It on Again” makes sense within the context of the record.  Sure, it is metal-ized with some crunchy guitar riffs but you can definitely hear the original bubbling through and even though it came from the start of the pop era of GENESIS it still contained a certain level of prog making it worthy of inclusion here.  Speaking of prog, there is plenty of prog metal on “I Am the Storm” with “Seven Minutes From Sunset” and “Remember The Dawn” placed early in the disk to satisfy those heavier prog metal cravings.  Having had the luxury of listening to this disk well over two dozen times, I can safely say that there is not one bad tune on the album.  It is great from start to finish and at this point, I couldn’t even pick a favorite track as everything flows together so seamlessly that I would recommend listening to the as a whole.

Although the band had some line-up changes, the band has been fairly consistent with Nick van Dyk being the main constant throughout.  His performance throughout is what you would expect from a prog metal muso; crunchy, melodic riffs and soaring, emotional solos.  Vikram Shankar is the newest member but even he has been with REDEMPTION for half a decade.  As mentioned earlier, Tom Englund made the biggest change in the sound, to be expected, and he really put his stamp on “I Am the Storm”.  I have always loved his voice and vocal delivery and REDEMPTION is just another perfect vehicle for his talents.  Longtime members Chris Quirarte, Sean Andrews, and Simone Mularoni finish off the current line-up.  In closing, I have been patiently waiting for a follow up to “Long Night's Journey into Day” and it was worth the wait.  “I Am the Storm” is a worthy successor and although I hope the next release won’t be five years from now, this latest disk from REDEMPTION will keep me satisfied form quite some time.