Redemption - The Art of Loss

Redemption The Art of Loss cover
The Art of Loss
Metal Blade Records
It’s unfair for this band to be known basically only by those who delve into the prog metal genre. Redemption offer systematically since 2003 first class progressive metal with many power elements, yet they are a hidden diamond. For some this is the side-band of Fates Warning’s Ray Alder, for others the personal vehicle of the mastermind Nick van Dyk, for others the second nature of Agent Steel’s Bernie Versailles (who is not part of this new album due to health problems). I personally, see this as a full, complete band with exceptional musicians, a gathering of talent that offers magnificent music.
I personally follow them since their second album – that magnificent “Fullness of Time”. Other times I align myself with their musical changes (“The Origins of Ruin”), others I take my distance (“This Mortal Coil” and its very aggressive and harsh approach). Yet I perceive them as one of the best prog metal bands of the last decade. And this is manifested in this new album – possibly their magnum opus!
After Versailles’ stroke and his inability to be part of this album, Nick makes a checkmate move by getting help from three x-Megadeth guitarists, Marty Friedman (tracks 3, 6), Chris Poland (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9) and Chris Broderick (track 6), along with Simone Mularoni (DMG, Empyrios). Also the renowned vocalist John Bush (Armored Saint, ex-Anthrax) participates on “The Center of the Fire”. The result? An album flooded in magnificent guitar melodies, magical guitar leads, devastating solos and some of the best refrains heard in the heavy metal universe in the past few years. No, I’m not overreacting. Songs like “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”, “Damaged” and “That Golden Light” are exceptional instances of what Redemption are today: one of the best prog metal groups around.
In “The Art of Loss” songwriting has made one more turn, bringing back the melodies, emphasizing on solid songwriting, more to the point tracks, more balanced, without any need to expand on extremely complex compositions (most of the songs are short in duration). Bridges, refrains, the amazing guitar work and the supporting keyboard harmonies make this album a holistic experience for the listener. Nine songs of top-class progressive metal, which leans towards the more “commercial” (with the best possible meaning of the term) side of this genre. Ray Alder’s haunting interpretations add to the magnificent nature of the album. By the way I need to confess that Alder is quire afar from his past self (you know, high-pitching singing), yet he sound much more human, warm and expressive (and yes, please you don’t need to ask: Redemption carry much of Fates Warning’s testaments).
Possibly, the last thing needs to be said is to mention the 22-long opus “At Days End”, which by closing the record, makes it lift off to the stars (yes, I know, a part is heavily influenced from Dream Theater’s “This Dying Soul” – I see this as paying tribute to the influences). Nothing to add here: possible Redemption’s best record to date, and one of the best prog metal releases of the last couple of years.