Redemption is the brain child of guitarist/keyboardist Nick Van Dyk, and has contained members of many top tier progressive metal bands throughout the years. Despite this, the real draw of Redemption is how the band sets itself apart from said contemporaries, and creates records that are part raw power, part genuine emotion. After the staggeringly impressive predecessor Snowfall On Judgment Day, I have been eager to hear where this truly underrated gem of a band goes. The result is This Mortal Coil, an equally immense, awe inspiring slice of progressive metal perfection.
In a very unusual fashion, the album kicks off with “Path of the Whirlwind,” by and large the worst song on display. While calling it a bad song would do disservice to the thrashy number, I don’t feel like this particularly heavy, so-so composition fits in with the overall feel of the pieces to follow. I think this was a deliberate attempt to come out of the gates swinging, and simply doesn’t work as intended. That said, the following pair of tracks, specifically “No Tickets to the Funeral” really showcase the wide range of diverse, highly progressive melodic musical ideas on display throughout the course of the record. “Dreams From the Pit” is the first near ten minute epic, and flows from one simply magnificent riff to the next, with intricate melodies and complex, emotive vocal lines taking the listener to a whole different world.
As has been the case since his joining the band on their sophomore release, one of the shining aspects of this band is the gorgeous, crooning vocals of Fate’s Warning’s Ray Alder. This is without one of the most graceful, commanding voices in heavy metal, and despite being superb on the aforementioned band’s releases, he truly shines in each and every Redemption song. “Let It Rain” showcases a gorgeous guitar solo in it’s latter half, “Focus” display’s drummer Chris Quirarte’s delicate finesse and dynamic playing. “Begin Again” is a triumphant, fist pumping heavy ballad that never fails to quicken the pulse, and contains some of the album’s best lead guitar work.
This beast ends with the mammoth “Departure of the Pale Horse,” giving the listener an atmospheric, somber introduction to an epic bookend, with small segments that display each individual member’s considerable talents. It is also yet another shining example of Alder’s passionate delivery, with some creative tradeoffs with backing vocals I assume to be one of the other band members. Very impressive.
Production wise, this one is a bit different from its immediate predecessor. While Snowfall opted for a super clean, highly polished sound, this release, keeping in line with the overall heavier feel, sports a rawer, punchier overall sound. That isn’t to say that is dirty, as every instrument is clear and well balanced, but I’d say the percussion and bass work have been given a substantial boost in the mix. Essentially a solid, potent sound.