Redemption
Snowfall on Judgment Day


3.5
great

Review

by Nosferatwo USER (43 Reviews)
October 9th, 2009 | 44 replies | 10,786 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Trying harder doesn't always yield better results.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Progressive metal is a genre that, maybe more than even the stale state of power metal, loves to pay homage to the past by way of new music. Ever since Dream Theater released the back-to-back landmarks Awake and Images And Words, progressive bands have been taking the blueprint laid down to them and attempting to reinvent the wheel. No shortage of bands have taken up the task, though few have ever matched those heights.

Redemption is not one of the bands content to regurgitate Dream Theater's past. Their definition of progressive metal does not begin and end with the most famous band in the genre, but incorporates a heavy influence from little known, but highly influential band Fates Warning. Combining the work of both bands gives an accurate representation of what Redemption is all about, but not an accurate picture of what Redemption is able to do with their influences.

The brainchild of guitarist/songwriter Nick van Dyk, Redemption has scored a coup for all prog fans. The band, now a well honed machine, features singer Ray Alder and guitarist Bernie Versailles, both stalwart members of Fates Warning. That they would not just appear as guests, but become members of Redemption, is a vote of tremendous confidence. That confidence was payed off with The Origins Of Ruin, the band's last album, and a stunning piece of work when compared to the flaccid nature of so much of what is labeled progressive metal.

Snowfall On Judgment Day continues Redemption's steady output, and cements the band as one of the top voices in the progressive world. As the slow drum beat of "Peel" builds up, the first guitar riff that cuts through is huge. The tone is the same as on the previous albums, a thick yet modern wall of sound that makes every riff sound larger than life. Keyboards enter early, pushed high into the mix, before Alder is able to give the song his trademark wails. The harmony vocals added to the chorus are buried in the mix, robbing the song of the power it should have. Power is on ample display on "Walls", a stripped down and simpler song featuring Alder powering his voice through a tasty melody, before Versailles lets rip with a complex but tasteful solo.

Redemption ups the ante on "Leviathan Rising", with a super heavy 7-string riff making it the most aggressive song in their catalog. "Black And White World" swings in the opposite direction, a classical piano piece opening the song in dramatic fashion before the song opens up in typical Redemption style. "Unformed" follows suit, trading clean guitars for the piano, rehashing the writing of everything the band has done to this point. Alder gives it his all, but his limitations as a vocalist are easily realized. Legendary as he may be in prog circles, his voice is thin, strained, one-dimensional. His performance is acceptable, but the shortcomings are highlighted when Dream Theater frontman James Labrie shows up for a guest spot on "Another Day Dies". Labrie's more powerful voice props the song up, giving it a new energy, supplying gorgeous harmonies as the chorus recalls the glory days of his own band.

It is here, as well as the shorter "What Will You Say" that the band finds their footing, the latter a ballad-tinged rocker with the strongest chorus on the album. These more focused works allow the band to ply their trade while not getting lost in the wandering passages that threaten all progressive music. They do a very good job of managing themselves, never falling into excess. Unfortunately, what is true of each song is not true of the album itself. At ten songs and over 70 minutes, this album is a behemoth. With so much crammed into every song, and so little variation in tone, tempo, and style, the experience is not what it could be. All of the songs here are well crafted examples of progressive metal, but there is simply too much here to digest all at once. The Origins Of Ruin, an almost identical album, felt much more satisfying because of its almost 15 minute shorter running time.

What Redemption has given prog fans is exactly what they want; another album of technical music with enough heart and emotion to overcome the somewhat robotic nature of the genre. Snowfall On Judgment Day is a good album, but it comes close to letting the listener overdose. For fans of the band, it is another welcome addition to their growing legacy. For people who may be interested in getting into the band, this is not the place to start. Snowfall of Judgment Day is a challenging listen in every way, and lacks the immediacy that makes The Origins Of Ruin the definitive Redemption album.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
jrowa001
October 9th 2009



8750 Comments


doubt ill check this out as i thought their last album was pretty boring

Willie
Moderator
October 9th 2009



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Bernie Versailles was never a member of Fates Warning. Him and Ray were both members of Engine.

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

Nosferatwo
October 9th 2009



17 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

He toured with Fates Warning and was on their live album. That's enough for me.

Willie
Moderator
October 9th 2009



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That's great for you, but that still doesn't make him a member.

Anyway, this album is really good. Easily their best. Anyone that liked the latest Dream Theater (or wanted to like it) would
probably like this. Also, nice review - now I don't have to do it.

masterofpuppets8
October 27th 2009



72 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

really pointless. kind of annoying. blatant copying off of Dream Theater.

Willie
Moderator
October 28th 2009



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Somebody's knowledge of prog and this band is limited, it seems.

bungy
November 30th 2009



8843 Comments


Prog Metal done goooood

masterofpuppets8
December 1st 2009



72 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

knowledge of this band, yes (and i have no desire to learn more of them). knowledge of prog, no

JizzInMyPants
January 16th 2010



2368 Comments


holy shit Peel is such an awesome song...gotta check this band out

Willie
Moderator
January 16th 2010



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You won't regret it.

wakeem
February 18th 2010



100 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Its a pity this album really falls away about half way through. If they couldve continued the momentum they started it wouldve been one heck of an album.

Willie
Moderator
February 18th 2010



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, but it's to be expected. None of their albums are as good by the end as the first few songs are.

pizzamachine
May 18th 2010



12571 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I guess song 8 and 10 slowed the momentum a bit, but otherwise the album was pretty sick.

jybt
June 24th 2010



342 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I ordered this album recently and it should be approaching...hoping that it will be better than The Fullness of Time. I see the potential for Redemption, and apparently they'll be fulfilling it here.

jybt
June 29th 2010



342 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is hard to get into and listen to all the way through because of its long duration, extreme heaviness for prog-metal that doesn't include extreme genres, and very deep and EXTREMELY personal lyrics...but let Snowfall on Judgment Day take you where it wants to, and you'll visit places you have to visit. Stunning.

I have to answer the ignorance of masterofpuppets: Redemption's music couldn't be further away from DT plagiarism. Not every prog band is a DT copy simply because they were among the first...even though yes, most bands will take influence from them. Even Mike Portnoy insists that Fates Warning, whose vocalist you hear in this band, were doing the style first...so when Redemption's music shares influences with Fates Warning, how can it be a DT copy? Here's some of the unique Redemption characteristics...

The lyrics are much more personal, highly pictorial and interpretational, and reflect a man struggling through life in Los Angeles (definitely a hard place to live). Dream Theater live in New York and draw on much different subjects.

Ray Alder's voice is more mid-ranged, at least in this stage of his life, while James LaBrie still sounds like a tenor even in his newest material. Ray's voice is rougher when both are singing cleanly, and even though he may not have the range of LaBrie anymore, he sounds probably more human overall - like Mike Baker (Shadow Gallery) always did.

Alder has better speed and diction at high speed, as he can sing a lot of words quickly, whereas LaBrie doesn't. (The rapid-fire speaking in This Dying Soul doesn't count - it's not "singing" in the traditional sense.)

The keyboards are FAR less prominent in Redemption music - I barely noticed them during a large portion of the running time, but I still knew they were there simply because the music didn't feel like it was lacking anything.

(I)

jybt
June 29th 2010



342 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

(II)

Los Angeles is, for many, the Thrash Capital of the World (Metallica, Tourniquet and Megadeth are all from L.A.), and their origin is reflected through the style: Dream Theater have never written music so much around the guitar, even on Train of Thought. Redemption riffs cut and slice like old-school thrash, which DT has scarcely attempted to do. This is a very heavy album!

Tell me when you've ever heard a Dream Theater riff that sounds like the opening of Another Day Dies. That's as much of a vintage thrash riff as I've ever heard in prog-metal. I rarely get headbanging anymore, but this one does it...


Speaking of that song, I doubt James LaBrie would guest for a band who was plagiarizing them. You should know this, considering how well you claim to know Redemption. I could have destroyed your argument just with that...now go back and listen to this again.

masterofpuppets8
July 26th 2010



72 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The main point that i dislike is the (to me) unnecessary guitar soloing followed by keyboard soloing. I by no means think they are a bad band, so sorry if it came across that way. It feels like the whole album is a bit noisy though. Like they have the metal element down but the progressive side doesnt make sense sometimes. I repeat that it's not bad by any means, but i was somewhat disappointed when I listened to it.

Willie
Moderator
July 26th 2010



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That's a much better explanation than trying to compare them to Dream Theater ;)

I think these guys' appeal is in the fact that they've maintained their metal edge despite the progressive tendencies (a little like old Fates Warning).

JizzInMyPants
August 4th 2010



2368 Comments


listened to the first four tracks while working out and its some good shi-

Willie
Moderator
August 4th 2010



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

better late than never ;)



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