Redemption is a progressive metal band that was formed in Los Angeles in 2000 around the talents of guitarist Nick van Dyk. Despite lineup changes, the group has released three albums to great critical and audience acclaim. Some significant fans are the members of Dream Theater, who invited Redemption to support them during their 2007 U.S. tour. The tour culminated in an appearance at the 8th annual Prog Power show in Atlanta, Georgia, in October 2007. The short set of just over an hour is captured on Frozen In the Moment, an outstanding DVD released by the band’s current label Inside Out/SPV, which includes a CD with the same performance, a video for the song “Bleed Me Dry,” a tour diary set to a previously unreleased instrumental track, and a slew of outtakes showing that these very serious musicians also have a goofy side.
The set begins with “Threads,” the lead track from Redemption’s 2005 release The Fullness Of Time. The song is a showcase for the entire band, especially the twin-harmony guitar attack of van Dyk and Bernie Versailles. Vocalist Ray Alder (also of Fates Warning and Engine) is in fine form yet never becomes the center of attention during the group’s blitzkrieg of virtuosity. Drummer and master of other kit-mounted percussion Chris Quirarte, is spectacular from the starting gun and never looks back throughout the performance. Quirarte also handles harmony vocals as does van Dyk and keyboardist Greg Hosharian, giving another dimension to the band’s sound.
The bulk of the set features songs from Redemption’s latest CD, The Origins Of Ruin. Especially tight are the tunes “Bleed Me Dry” and “The Suffocating Silence.” The bottom end on “Bleed,” courtesy of bassist Sean Andrews, is as complicated as the guitar parts and is demonstrative of the fact that each group member can hold his own when called upon. Alder’s voice is more impassioned on the live version of “Bleed” than on the studio recording, while Hosharian’s solo gives a break to the guitarists and shows that this is a “metal” band seeking to pull in many sonic sources. Watching van Dyk and Versailles hold the crazy melody of “Silence” together during Hosharian’s solo impresses me not so much in that they can play it so well, but more because they make it look so damn easy. The ridiculously fast drumming at the song’s end only adds to my awe.
“Fall On You,” another cut from Ruin, tops out over nine minutes and begins with a quieter, more melodic moment before the menace of Andrews’ bass foretells of the heaviness to come. The song’s lyrics are some of their best, telling of a separated pair that retains a bond throughout the darkness offered up by the world. There are subtle tempo changes that pull the listener along through blinding solos from the guitarists and Hosharian. The band dips back into Fullness to present the nearly 15 minute “Sapphire” as well. This song is where the band adds the prog elements that led to their invitation to Atlanta that day. Alder and the other vocalists are especially good during a rather lengthy piece without a second of drag.
Redemption was very energized during their 2007 tour, and they’ve rolled right into the recording of a new record due later in 2009. Frozen In The Moment serves to whet the appetite for the band’s rapidly growing fan base and also demonstrates that their recordings are not at all the result of studio trickery. This is a band that can perform extremely complicated music in a live setting such that their studio performances can sound somehow less perfect in comparison. I’m anticipating that we’re in for a treat when Snowfall On Judgment Day hits the racks later this summer. It’s likely that Redemption will be brandishing the magic displayed on tour while playing together better than on anything they’ve yet recorded.
– Mark Polzin